No matter how long you’ve been out of school (and for me it’s 25 years since my law school graduation) September feels like the real New Year and where did September go? As we start October there is a dizzying array of things happening both within the walls of Holland Bloorview and outside.
As I talk to colleagues across Canada, understanding how to deliver care in a more seamless, coordinated way is always top of mind. Every region has been reviewing the way it organizes healthcare and associated services and that trend shows no sign of slowing down. Closest to home this is reflected in Ontario’s Patient’s First policy.
And it’s not just across Canada: these are the same questions being asked globally and align to the questions and strategies of the World Health Organization (WHO) in its WHO Global Strategy on Integrated People-Centred Health Services 2016-2026.
I hear versions of exactly the same thing in the hallways of Holland Bloorview. The #1 thing I hear from families is that we need to make it easier to manage the multiple services, providers and institutions their children interact with from specialists to schools, to emergency departments, primary care physicians and community paediatricians. Families understand that Holland Bloorview can’t possibly offer every service but can’t we partner more effectively to make meeting the child’s needs more seamless?
And as a team totally committed to client- and family-centered care, we are asking ourselves similar questions:
- How can barriers to providing the best care be removed?
- How can we make admissions and discharges safer, more efficient and easier?
- Is there a way we can access the resources our clients need most when they need them (mental health is an example)?
- Why is the transition to adult services so difficult for clients and families? How can we improve it?
These are the right questions to be asking and over the next six months I hope we will be asking ourselves lots of hard (even scary!) questions as we chart out our next strategic plan. As we close out the final year of Leadership in Childhood Disability 2012-2017 we have the opportunity to carve out our priorities for the next stage of our future. Now is the right time to pause and reflect on the impact we have already had in creating better care and a more inclusive world for our clients and families, and to create a bold and aspirational strategy for our future.
How will we do this? By asking big questions. Led by the board of trustees, everyone who works at Holland Bloorview, along with clients, former clients, families, volunteers, donors, partners along continuum of care in healthcare, children’s rehabilitation, adult services and other sectors of impact to our work with children and families, will have a chance to contribute their insights and experience to help inform the questions. We will then be diving deeper into the themes that emerge. By spring we will be finalizing our goals and objectives.
As we do so, we will continue to ask very pointed questions about coordinated and thoughtful care and take action to resolve them. As an example: building on discussions that have been taking place over the past two years about building better networks of paediatric care, I’ve joined with the CEOs of Sick Kids and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario/Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (CHEO) to talk about how our three organizations might work together to achieve a vision of a more coordinated, consistent, high-quality system of care for children and their families especially those children with complex medical needs and disability (while maintaining our independence and local accountability to our boards of trustees).
And, thinking beyond these three institutions, how might other hospitals and service providers including rehabilitation, community paediatrics and mental health be involved? How can we all build on our own unique identities and strengths to contribute to the bigger picture of coordinated best quality care for kids?
Big, scary questions indeed.
Over the next six months we will be pushing hard to ask these types of questions to help us develop our plan for the future ahead. My hope is that the questions we ask will turn heads, drop jaws and challenge the status quo. If not, we probably aren’t pushing ourselves hard enough.