South West LHIN Exchange Newsletter - January 2018 

  • Message from our Acting Board Chair, Andrew Chunilall
  • Patients First Update: Shaping care delivery with patients and families
  • Addressing Personal Support Worker Capacity Challenges
  • Specialized support for people in long-term care
  • Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors

  • Message from our Acting Board Chair, Andrew Chunilall

    Photo of Andrew ChunilallOn behalf of the South West LHIN, we hope that the holiday season was a safe and happy one. We look forward to an exciting new year as we continue on our health system transformation journey.

    Last year, we worked hard to implement a number of key initiatives focused on achieving our vision, including:

    • The expansion of residential hospice resources, bringing unified solutions to each of the five LHIN sub-regions, meaning more support to palliative patients and their families.

    • The integration of peer support programs across the South West LHIN where partners are working closely together to strengthen the delivery of peer support to improve care and access.

    • Strategizing how to bring Primary Care Capacity Report recommendations to life to address barriers people are facing in accessing health care across our region.

    • Improving outcomes for people with stroke as a result of our stroke realignment work, allowing more people to access care through specialized units delivered by stroke experts.

    • The realignment of adult day programs across our LHIN to improve access to programs where they are needed the most.

    • The continued implementation of Connecting Care to Home, a local collaborative focused on integrating patient care between hospital and home using technology and education as key enablers.

    • Piloting our first behavioural support transitional unit at McGarrell Place Long-Term Care Home, a 29 bed unit offering a safe and specialized living environment for those who have responsive behaviors.

    Last year was also a year of transition as the former South West CCAC was integrated into the South West LHIN on May 24, 2017. To date, we have established our new organizational structure and continue to work on aligning key processes, creating the strategic vision for the new organization, and establishing the culture needed to advance Patients First goals and broader health system transformation. In transferring the functions and employees of the CCAC to the LHIN, a key priority continues to be maintaining quality care for individuals and families across the LHIN.

    This is a time of significant change across the system, and we believe the right time to also find new leadership. The South West LHIN Board of Directors has formed a Search Committee and have selected Odgers Berndtson to assist us in our CEO recruitment. In the meantime, Kelly Gillis, Vice President of Strategy, System Design and Integration, as well as Donna Ladouceur, Vice President of Home and Community Care will be acting as Interim Co-CEOs for the organization.

    We would like to take this opportunity to thank our system partners for their support and patience as we work towards strengthening our organization to be part of an integrated system of care. This is an exciting time, and we look forward to a new year focused on building a system with a stronger patient voice that better understands and meets the needs of individuals and families in the LHIN.


    Patients First Update: Shaping care delivery with patients and families

    In moving forward with our health system renewal plans, the Patient and Family Advisory Committee has now been formed, and had its inaugural meeting on October 18, 2017. In December, two Patient, Family and Caregiver members were elected as Co-Chairs of the group, Nadia Tahir from London Middlesex and Barb West-Bartley from Grey Bruce.

    To provide coordinated and comprehensive care for patients, the South West LHIN has an enhanced role in creating more effective service integration, greater equity, and is establishing new committees with a stronger patient/family/caregiver voice that can advise on system-wide priorities and drive change locally.

    “To see such a strong commitment to improve the system and the experience for patients and families by both the consumers and the leaders in the sector is amazing,” says Co-Chair, Nadia Tahir. “Though these committees are still very new, I am optimistic that this collaboration will result in changes that will assist patients and families to navigate the system with greater ease.”

    The 16-member Patient and Family Advisory Committee reflects our commitment to partnering and listening to patients and families so that changes in the health care system reflect the needs and opinions of those it serves. "Patients, families and caregivers need a system that is user-friendly, easily accessible, and approaches care holistically,” says Co-Chair Barb West-Bartley. “We know there are challenges across the system and by including the patient perspective, we can make health system improvements possible.”

    There are 10 Patient, Family and Caregiver members participating in the Sub-region Integration Tables. These tables focus on identifying, planning and making recommendations for local priorities while driving change through innovation and collaboration. Five other members will be part of the Health System Renewal Advisory Committee, a committee focused on advising the LHIN on the implementation of Patients First and our strategic priorities.

    "The patient voice is the foundation of Patients First, and is imperative to all the work we are doing,” says Kelly Gillis, Interim Co-CEO and Vice President of Strategy, System Design and Integration. “We are so grateful to the community members who have taken on these roles and we look forward to working together as we transform the health care system."

    Both the Sub-region Integration Tables and the Patient and Family Advisory Committee are now working on establishing local priorities and work plans. The Health System Renewal Advisory Committee has now formed and will have its inaugural meeting on February 8, 2018.

    For additional information on Patients First work, please contact us at

    Addressing Personal Support Worker Capacity Challenges

    We continue to experience capacity challenges across the South West LHIN with a shortage of personal support workers. This issue is not specifically related to funding and is more focused on a shortage of health human resources, and spans across Ontario. We understand the frustration these challenges have for our health system partners who are concerned about their patients.

    As a LHIN we are actively working with local providers and our provincial colleagues to develop strategies to address these challenges. We are also working with our internal teams on both immediate short-term, as well as long-term action plans to ensure care is meeting the needs of patients and is being provided in the most safe, efficient and effective way.

    Provincially, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has established a workgroup with representation from all LHINs to look at improving the supply of personal support workers across Ontario. Many LHINs are also developing initiatives to recruit and retain personal support workers.
    "Locally, we are developing a number of strategies including scheduling ‘windows of time’ for personal support workers to visit clients rather than specific times, unless time specific care is clinically necessary,” says Donna Ladouceur, Interim Co-CEO, and VP of Home and Community Care. “This increases flexibility to see patients and manage their appointments more effectively. We are also working to prioritize patients by level of need and are reassessing care plans to ensure we are making the best use of existing resources.”  

    We know this is a challenging situation, and are committed to working collaboratively to best meet the needs of our patients and their families across the South West LHIN. For more information on how we are addressing this challenge, please contact:

    Specialized support for people in long-term care 

    The South West LHIN in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is working to improve specialized support for adults eligible for long-term care with unmanaged responsive behaviours (e.g. wandering, verbally abusive, socially disruptive, and/or resistant of care), and individuals with acquired brain injuries.

    The South West LHIN’s work associated with Access to Care and Behavioural Supports Ontario has influenced the direction to create specialized units in long-term care homes, a valuable resource for individuals requiring specialized supports in our LHIN.

    McGarrell Place Long-Term Care Home’s 29-bed behavioural support transitional unit has been operational since December 2017. This unit is dedicated to providing a safe and specialized living environment for those who have responsive behaviours that have not been successfully managed. Specialized providers will work to improve quality of life, and coping skills so that residents can move on to other living arrangements when they are ready and it is safe to do so.

    McGarrell’s behavioural support unit is for people who:
    • Are eligible for long-term care
    • Are exhibiting or are at risk of heightened unmanageable responsive behaviours in their current living environment
    • Are medically stable for admission and/or do not have medical issues beyond the scope of the services provided within the unit
    • Do not have an unmanaged serious mental illness
    • Are not actively abusing substances
    The South West LHIN’s home and community care team is responsible for assessment and determining long-term care home eligibility for individuals.

    The plan to create a specialized unit for individuals with acquired brain injuries at Kensington Village in London, will not be moving forward. Funding will be reallocated in the community to support people with acquired brain injuries, and other specialized needs.
    A proposal for another behavioural support transitional unit is in progress for Lee Manor in Owen Sound. The LHIN team continues to work with this long-term care home to finalize its proposal for submission to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

    For general information on specialized units being planned in our LHIN, please contact

    To find out more about eligibility for the McGarrell Place specialized unit, please contact: 1-800-811-5146, extension 5668. 

    Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors

    On November 7, 2017, the Government of Ontario announced Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors. The plan empowers seniors to make personalized choices for their care, independence and how they access government services. The plan also highlights the important role that Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) have in harnessing their local expertise and in engaging with patients and local partners to plan, coordinate and deliver health care in communities across Ontario.

    LHINs continue to work in partnership with patients and caregivers, health service providers, clinicians, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and other stakeholders on the timely implementation of the initiatives in Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors so that older people can live healthier at home.