Province invests in Prince Albert Home First project

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Jodi Schellenberg
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A new pilot project will help reduce the Victoria Hospital from being over capacity.

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The Government of Saskatchewan will be investing $500,000 into a new Home First/Quick Response Home Care pilot project in Prince Albert.

It is part of the government’s $4.5-million investment that includes programs in Saskatoon and Regina.

“The purpose of the project is really to focus on keeping people in their own homes and particularly those who are over 65 years old and are trying to maintain their independence at home,” said Carol Gregoryk, Prince Albert Parkland Health Region VP of Integrated Health Services. “The program is about finding what supports are required and then having them in place as quickly as possible to avoid hospital admissions that are not really necessary.”

The program helps improve quality of life for all Saskatchewan people, Health Minister Duncan Dustin said in a press release.

The pilot project will enhance and improve home care’s response to crisis and short-term service needs, encourage early discharge from acute care to community options, prevent unnecessary admissions to the emergency room and engage additional service providers in the system to give supports at home.

PAPHR is excited the government in investing in the program.

“As you know, we are over capacity frequently in our hospital,” Gregoryk said. “We do have folks who are waiting for long-term care placement in our hospital but we also have those that just need more help at home that haven’t been able to get it in the past.”

She said the program will be useful to many of the people currently being admitted to the hospital.

“Long-term care is great for those who really need it but we feel with the home first program we will be able to prevent some of those admissions to long-term care in keeping those people at home with more supports,” Gregoryk said.

The $500,000 is being used to start the program in the health region, she said.

“We will basically have nurse case managers that will manage those who are identified as at risk either of being admitted or are in the emergency room and don’t need to be in the hospital but need more help,” Gregoryk said. “Those nurse case managers would then access those folks and have a quick response team that would then be able to take them home again or keep them home.”

It will be implemented over a period of two years.

“We actually just started in the last week,” Gregoryk said. “It is very new, so I can’t say how well it has gone other than we have been able to prevent a couple of admissions.”

She said it is important to provide these types of supports in the community for the elderly.

“I think it is really important for folks to think about home care, think about the help we can provide,” Gregoryk said. “We really want you to stay at home and be as independent as possible in your own home as long as you can and the best place to decide what is going to happen to you is not in a hospital, it is about being at home first and doing it at home.”

Organizations: Integrated Health Services

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Regina

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