Sonia Bélanger says CIUSSS is well-positioned to share its expertise on Hospital@Home program
Quebec’s Minister for Health and for Seniors has praised CIUSSS West-Central Montreal’s pioneering Hospital@Home program, calling it a vision of the future as home-based health care begins to expand across the province.
Sonia Bélanger met with CIUSSS leadership at the Jewish General Hospital on March 1 as part of her mandate to increase home care in Quebec. After a visit to the Command Centre and a first-hand glimpse of how our CIUSSS’s virtual care team works with patients, her conclusions were emphatic.
“I felt like I was watching a presentation on the hospital of the future,” she said in an interview with the 360° Employee Newsletter. “I’m very, very impressed with what I saw. It was like being propelled into the future of what our organization of care should be.”
Ms. Bélanger says our CIUSSS’s Hospital@Home program, which gives patients the option of receiving care at home while being monitored remotely by hospital teams, is demonstrably the most advanced project of its kind in Quebec. Five to seven other healthcare centres want to set up similar programs in the coming year, she said.
“We will need to work with you in light of your experience,” she said.
“This is something that’s going to have to be developed everywhere in Quebec. I think you’re pioneers in this experiment.”Sonia Bélanger, Minister for Health and for Seniors
Ms. Bélanger is the third member of the Health and Social Services ministerial team to visit our CIUSSS over the past two years and to praise its avant-garde approaches to healthcare delivery. Health and Social Services Minister Christian Dubé and Social Services Minister Lionel Carmant both touted our CIUSSS’s innovations.
Ms. Bélanger commended Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, the CIUSSS’s President and CEO, for introducing the ground-breaking virtual care project during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then allowing CIUSSS teams to progressively adjust and refine it. “What I like is that they didn’t wait until the project was all written. They experimented and improved it as time went on,” she said.
The benefits today are clear, she added. The program allows patients to recover in the familiar surroundings of their home while also relieving pressure from the healthcare system. What’s more, the arrangement reduces the risks that patients will pick up an infectious disease in hospital, she said.
“It allows patients to continue their hospitalization while having the assurance of getting services in the comfort of their home.”Sonia Bélanger, Minister for Health and for Seniors
The Minister also heard a convincing testimonial about the benefits of Hospital@Home directly from a patient. As Ms. Bélanger stood in the Command Centre, a woman who had benefited from the Virtual Ward appeared on a monitor via video conferencing to share her story.
The woman had been a cardiac patient of Dr. Lawrence Rudski, Director of the Azrieli Heart Centre and Medical Director of Virtual Care, and she was given permission to be discharged to her home while she awaited a medical procedure; she wore a device to monitor her vital signs and continued to be followed remotely by the CIUSSS virtual care team.
The patient was clearly pleased.
“I’m a walking ad for your program,” she said, beaming. “It’s the greatest thing since sliced cheese.”
She noted how the CIUSSS’s virtual care team checked in on her regularly. “They kept on calling. They were really, really on the ball,” she said, as the Minister listened. Afterwards, Ms. Bélanger said the patient was obviously “very satisfied.”
Ms. Bélanger says she was also impressed by the collaboration between the teams from virtual care and SAPA home care. One third of patients in the Hospital@Home program receive visits from SAPA nurses if the need arises for hands-on procedures such as administering intravenous medication. “We work hand in hand with the Virtual Ward to ensure a safe transfer of patients returning home and to coordinate the provision of home care services,” says Gary Stoopler, Director of the SAPA Program.
Ms. Bélanger called the tandem of services “complementary” and “really important.”
Dr. Rosenberg said it was gratifying to see our CIUSSS’s achievements recognized by the Minister.
“Our CIUSSS is proud of the progress it has made in a relatively short time to bring care to where the patient is—in this case, at home, where recuperation can take place in a comfortable and familiar environment,” he said. “This is fundamental to our over-arching approach, known as Care Everywhere, in which the right care is provided at the right time in the location that is safest, most appropriate and most convenient for the patient.
“We would be pleased to provide any advice and guidance the Minister might require of us, in order to help improve the quality of care throughout Quebec.”