I work with the Home and Community Care team on multiple projects that align with the annual business plan. While I’ve never worked in direct patient care, the projects I work on have either a direct impact or indirect in that they improve efficiencies in the system.
I have heard hundreds of stories from the projects we tackle. A few really stick out for me. Right now, I’m working on the TeleHomeCare project. With this program, our nurses stay connected to medically complex individuals after they are discharged from the hospital. They use a remote monitoring system to record information about the patient and provide ongoing coaching and education to help patients manage chronic conditions.
When we piloted the program in 2017, I heard the story of a 73-year-old patient with congestive heart failure. He was living independently in a retirement home when he was hospitalized for his condition. When he was released, his doctor discussed palliative care options with him, but he just wasn’t ready. Instead, he became part of the TeleHomeCare project, knowing he would eventually need palliative care.
The program was important for the patient and his family, because it let them know they had exhausted all avenues before deciding on palliative care. The data that was collected through the program showed the patient and his family when it was time to be placed in hospice. The information helped them gain acceptance of his condition, and it helped to quickly secure a hospice bed because the nurse was able to use the data to communicate with the hospice team. She also coached and helped the family navigate their options.
Seeing a program I’ve worked on, like TeleHomeCare, expand from the pilot stage to be introduced across the WWLHIN is incredibly satisfying. When we hear that patients benefit from these programs, it means we can offer it across the board to make sure individuals are getting the right amount and right type of treatment and care for chronic disease management. There is no cure for these chronic conditions. It’s only about management. The earlier we get the diagnosis, the sooner we can provide education and teach them about self-management, the longer we can manage their chronic condition in the community, so they can avoid frequent visits to the emergency department and hospital stays.
Our role is to make sure patients get the quality of life they want to achieve. It helps me feel like I am giving back to the community. It feels great knowing that I made a difference in someone’s life because of the work I do. I’m also very lucky to work with amazing individuals.
I’m not new to health care. When I lived in India, I worked in medical transcription. When I first moved to Canada, I worked for BlackBerry, and while I enjoyed it, I wanted to get back to working in health care. I’ve always been drawn to the sector. It means a lot to be able to care for people. When my sister got sick, we went through some traumatic experiences. It taught me that I wanted to be in a field where I can help care for my loved ones and the loved ones of others, even if I’m not working on the front lines.
Now that I’m back working in health care, I feel like I’m home again. I understand the need and can related to it. It feels good knowing that I am contributing to the community.