Bringing Health Care Home
Champlain LHIN Program for People with Complex Respiratory Needs
Nov 6, 2018 - Jim Lamure, 65, has lived in the small community of Chalk River for the past 25 years. He and his wife, Lorraine Lamure, have been married for 47 years, have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.
In the past decade, Jim has struggled with a number of serious health conditions, including heart disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and lung cancer. Earlier this year, Jim underwent a tracheotomy procedure and now relies on a ventilator because he can no longer breathe independently.
Jim receives services from a new Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) program called the Complex Respiratory Care Program, which was launched in 2017. It is delivered region-wide by Somerset West Community Health Centre. The program helps clients with complex breathing issues integrate back into the community after they have been discharged from hospital. Without it, Jim would have no choice but to live in a large hospital far from home.
The program aligns with the Champlain LHIN’s goal of improving the patient and family experience across the continuum of care. It also reduces pressures on hospitals by expanding community-based services.
“This is how we’re providing the right care at the right time and place,” explains Champlain LHIN CEO Chantale LeClerc. “More specifically, through programs like these, we are recognizing and responding to the needs of rural communities.”
In this new program, a registered respiratory therapist conducts assessments, in-home tracheotomy tube changes, and training and education to medically-stable clients. The respiratory therapist also works with the discharging hospital to promote a safe and successful transfer back to the community. Ongoing support and follow-up care are also provided to clients and families, including phone calls, routine visits, and urgent visits.
“The program provides so much quality care for the patients,” says Emily McMullen, Jim’s respiratory therapist. “It allows for better care and just a safer environment for patients. We have brought patient care back to patients.”
Jim’s daughter Mary O’Gorman agrees. “If Dad couldn’t come home to be with his family and see his wife every day and his kids and grandkids, I think he would give up. Mom and I would not be able to do it without the respiratory therapist and the home care nurses that come in,” she said.
In addition to services from the respiratory program, Jim receives other Champlain LHIN services, including care from health professionals on weekdays and weekends.
Jim’s wife, Lorraine, says she is grateful for the support. “They give me the break that I need. For example, one will come in and bathe my husband. The other one would come and do therapy with him. Last night, I had to call a nurse and she came all the way from Eganville just to help me understand what to do, because I didn’t know what to do.”
As an increasing number of people are aging with multiple, complex health conditions, the LHIN and its partners are developing a number of innovative programs. As well, the LHIN has expanded care in the home. The approach is making a significant and positive difference to individuals and their families, as evidenced by the Lamure family’s experience.
“My parents are two amazing people and they have been together since my mother was 16 and Dad was 19,” concludes Jim’s daughter Mary. “Here they are, together. This program allows us to be with Dad. There are good days and bad days. Mom and Dad are here and we are allowed to have days when he is laughing, smiling. And let me tell you - those are the best moments. So if it wasn’t for this program - I know my dad - he would give up and not try anymore.”