North York General Hospital (NYGH) is one of 13 hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area to receive support for advanced home-based health care for seniors suffering from life-limiting diseases. The Slaight Family Foundation’s $500,000 gift is part of its $30 million Seniors Initiative, which benefits the group of Toronto area hospitals, four national health care organizations and the United Way Greater Toronto.
Through the generosity of The Slaight Family Foundation, the hospital will establish an interprofessional care team (Supportive Geriatric Outreach Team) which will provide palliative care earlier in the disease progression in a home or community setting. The health care model is aimed at filling a large gap in the North York community to better meet the needs of those suffering from dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, Parkinson’s disease and other non-cancerous life-limiting illnesses.
“We’re inspired by the compassion, generosity and community focus of the Slaight family,” says Terry Pursell, President & CEO, North York General Foundation. “The Seniors Initiative represents a landmark step towards improved care for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Our hospital is profoundly grateful for this generous gift and active partnership.”
The Supportive Geriatric Outreach Team will be led in partnership with Better Living Health and Community Services, Alzheimer Society of Toronto, and LOFT Community Services, and will include a specialized nurse practitioner who will act as health care navigator. The nurse practitioner will work closely with patients, families and care providers to expand palliative care from primary care, to hospital, to home. The new model, which is aligned with the Ontario Health Team approach to community-based care, aims to reduce the number of hospital admissions and emergency room visits.
“The chronic conditions so often associated with aging can have a huge impact on a patient’s emotional wellbeing and family dynamic,” says Susan Woollard, Vice President, Clinical Programs, North York General Hospital. “This new model of care, made possible by The Slaight Family Foundation, will reinvent how we support our aging population – with comfort, convenience and compassion.”
The Slaight Family Foundation’s Seniors Initiative has three components: The community component, which will support new programs and services at the community level for frail and low-income seniors; the hospital component, which focuses on new models of care between hospitals and community partners for increased support to seniors; and, the national component, which is aimed at creating new and expanded services.
"The greatest challenges facing our growing senior population are the barriers to care, whether physical, economic, institutional or mobility-related," says Gary Slaight of The Slaight Family Foundation. "That's why we're so proud to work with North York General to bring much needed palliative care into people's homes. The hospital's strong focus on seniors and history of breaking down barriers makes them a natural ally in our nationwide campaign to revolutionize senior care."