By Maryanne Matthews - July 8, 2017
Chronic diseases are the most common and costly health problems facing Canadians. As part of our commitment to delivering comprehensive clinical care, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has made chronic disease prevention and management a priority.
“Chronic diseases are long-term ailments that develop slowly over time that can often be prevented or controlled, but rarely cured. Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and cancer, along with mood and anxiety disorders, account for about one third of direct health care expenditures in Canada,” explains Aaron Skillen, Program Director, Chronic Disease Prevention and Management. “We’re committed to improving the way we prevent and manage chronic diseases in order to improve quality of life for our patients. To help guide us, we’ve adopted elements of Ontario’s Chronic Disease Prevention and Management Framework.”
Ontario’s Framework has eight elements that our Hospital will adopt:
Health Care Organizations
Personal Skills & Self Management Supports
Deliver System Design
Provider Decision Support
Healthy Public Policy
To ensure that chronic disease prevention and management remains a focused priority, the Hospital has created a Steering Committee to oversee the development, implementation, and success of the framework. It also serves to bring together experts from all areas of the hospital to contribute to the development and implementation of new initiatives.
“Our Chronic Disease Prevention and Management Steering Committee engaged with internal and external partners in care and used the gathered feedback to develop one or two initiatives for each element of the framework,” said Skillen. “For example, we plan to develop a chronic disease self management portal which will allow staff to provide more information to their patients on discharge as it relates to self management, helping patients to be more independent and self-sufficient in their care.”
Effective chronic disease management includes the implementation of prevention measures to halt the disease’s progress and to prevent complications. Initiatives at the Hospital include the Healthy Workplace, Smoke Free Together and Eating Healthy Together models.
“While still in the early planning stages, these initiatives combined should improve our Hospital’s chronic care delivery system and help us to provide more effective care and better health outcomes,” said Skillen. “And, as always, our Patient and Family Centred Care philosophy will ensure that our patients and families remain equal partners in their own health and full collaborators in managing their chronic conditions.”
Moving forward, the Chronic Disease Prevention and Management Steering Committee will meet quarterly to review the action plan and discuss any barriers, solutions and successes. Once finalized, the plan will be in place for the next three years, helping to ensure we remain HealthyTogether.