Category: Social Work in Health Care

Survey “Hospital Discharge for Patients Experiencing Homelessness.”

From the  Community Workspace on Homelessness – “an interactive space for communities and by communities!”

Profile image for Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.

If you are a professional whose work relates to homelessness, please consider completing this anonymous 3-minute survey titled, “Hospital Discharge for Patients Experiencing Homelessness.” This research is being conducted by Dr. Kristy Buccieri, Assistant Professor at Trent University, to better understand professional opinions on discharge planning for patients experiencing homelessness. For further information, please contact



Shifting health care focus to include, “care givers”

From the Change Foundation

“Our health care system is dependent on unpaid caregivers. And the reality is that these caregivers are often not recognized or respected for the role they play. At best, there is an inconsistent approach to family caregivers. In many cases, they are not even considered as key members of the care team.”
The Change Foundation
Out of the Shadows and Into the Circle

The Change Foundation’s new strategic plan, Out of the Shadows and Into the Circle, builds on past work focused on improving experiences for patients and family caregivers as they move across Ontario’s healthcare system. Although many ideas and trends were evident during our previous work, there was one consistent theme: the vital, yet often unrecognized, role of informal or family caregivers in the system. We are committing to shining a light on this area. Based on what we know already, we believe that valuing and recognizing family caregivers as integral members of the health care team should be an urgent focus for our health system.

Download Out of the Shadows and Into the Circle.

Our strategic goal: to improve the experience of family caregivers as they help their family members transition through and interact with Ontario’s health and community care systems.

Research tells us that most Ontarians have been or will be a family caregiver at some point. Twenty-nine percent of the provincial population – or 3.3 million people – provide some form of support, assistance, care or enrichment to a family member or friend. Both women (53%) and men (47%) in Ontario take on caregiving roles.

We believe, that by recognizing, facilitating and supporting the role of the family caregivers, we can improve patient experience, coordinate care more effectively and create an environment in which the highest quality health care can be delivered. This plan was developed with input, insight, and ideas from over 100 people, including our Strategic Plan Renewal Working Group, our Sounding Board and TCF’s citizen’s panel, PANORAMA.

Our agenda will evolve and flesh out in the first year, The Change Foundation will focus on listening and learning to better understand the family caregiver experience as part of the patient experience and to identify promising models or initiatives for effective and collaborative engagement between family caregivers and providers. This exploratory work will help us scope out and identify our specific projects and policy work that will be the focus in the remaining years of the strategic plan.

15 % of the population is elderly
29 % of Ontarians provide some form of caregiving support
48 % of family caregivers are looking after parents or in-laws
30 % of caregivers are part of the “sandwich generation” of Ontarians provide some form of caregiving support

Key work:


We will use the framework to illustrate how the focus of the Foundation fits within the big picture and the important work of other organizations. This will help us identify where our focused contribution will have the biggest impact.


We will ask: who they are, what they need, who is helping them and how they are helped, what are common challenges for all family caregivers, what are unique challenges for sub-groups of family caregivers.


We want to learn more about the challenges that family caregivers encounter when they interact with providers and the health and community care systems and in particular, we want to learn more about the issues facing diverse and multicultural families. We will also engage with providers to understand their frustrations with the status quo.


We will develop an engagement plan to best listen and learn family caregivers, patients, providers and system representatives as we further define and implement our strategic plan.


We will undertake a systematic review of the literature and informally published reports and documents to learn more about innovative initiatives within Ontario and in other jurisdictions where providers and organizations are collaborating with family caregivers and patients for mutual benefits. We will use this reconnaissance to shape and identify our priority initiatives.


We will also monitor efforts in other jurisdictions to join-up and better integrate health and community care given how this integration can help to improve the experience of family caregivers and patients.

Read our new strategic plan.

Resource to consider evidence informed approaches to “the work” of health care

This … dare I say pithy focus through articles on our health system attempts to bridge academic writing to the worlds of both patients and the front line.  The search for better practices continues!

Why We Need More Canadian Health Policy in the Media is our fourth in a series of eBooks, bringing together opinion-based commentaries on pressing Canadian health policy issues from Evidence Network’s more than 80 Canadian and international academic experts. Why do we do this? To make sure the evidence matters.Why We Need More Canadian Health Policy in the Media


(BTW, you have to dig a bit to find the pdf rather than links to the other sites where you can download)

Paper explores service users views of the Social Model of Disability in Mental Health

British paper “exploring the views of mental services users/survivors and disabled people about how they felt mental health issues were understood in society and how they themselves understood them” 

From Mental Illness to a Social Model of Madness and Distress.

covercover 2

… While divided about the social model of disability, most service users who took part in the project feel that social approaches to mental health, which take account of the whole person and wider societal issues affecting them, are the most helpful. Some feel that such social approaches need to be incorporated more widely in medical practice. Service users value an holistic or combined approach which takes account of both the individual and their social circumstances. Findings highlighted the complexity of service users’ views, their reluctance to impose monolithic interpretations on their feelings and experience and desire to take account of both personal and social issues. While some service users value some medical interventions, they draw a distinction between that and a narrow medical model and overreliance on medication.

While seeing benefits to be gained from social approaches to mental health, particularly for members of black and minority ethnic communities, they also see practical obstacles in their way. Most service users involved in the project strongly support the idea of developing discussion about social approaches to mental health issues, particularly among service users/survivors. Some feel that progress is already beginning to be made and that there is more preparedness to think in such ways among some mental health professionals. …

See the paper here:

Building vibrant communities, examples of a work in progress

The Ottawa Social Planning Council’s  The Ottawa Neighbourhoods Social Capital Forum (ONSCF) demonstrates various examples of their efforts.  It would be useful in talking about community development for social workers to hear more directly how we work to link our individual practice to community action and “advocacy,” policy and dare I say Macro approaches to practice with the people we serve.

In the videos found on the site, you can hear participants/clients link their own individual challenges to social action.

This post helps to describe some of the process’ involved bridging individual support to “macro” actions.


Health workers role to support women experiencing partner violence

“Unless we ask about it, we are not going to find out about it. The first step is recognition.”
Dr. Ameneh Mirzaei, psychiatrist, Mood and Anxiety program, The Royal outlines the relevance health professionals have in helping women to address potential partner violence.  Local Ottawa Resources and literature are shared.
Because healthcare practitioners are often the first and sometimes only professional point of contact for victims of violence, they are in a unique position to identify and address the issue head on. According to studies, however, only 12-20% of women report ever being asked by their doctors about intimate partner violence, and when they do disclose that violence exists, support from healthcare providers has been lacking.

BRIDGING THE GAP: Ottawa Community Wellbeing Report

Our local community health centres efforts to bridge health and well being to individual care and government policy and the social determinants of health is impressive.  Their report Bridging the Gap is outlined here.  It would be useful to hear more about the small steps we are all taking in our practice to advance these aspirations.

On October 7, 2014 the Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC) and the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa (CHRC) released Bridging the Gap a report card on the wellbeing of Ottawa using the framework of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW), one of the world’s leading instruments to measure societal progress. The presentation included a panel discussion with community members moderated by Louisa Taylor, an award-winning journalist formerly with the Ottawa Citizen and the Toronto Star; a keynote presentation by Charles Pascal, former special advisor on early learning for Ontario and the Making Votes Count Where We Live choir.

The report was launched during Community Health & Wellbeing week as part of the Shift the Conversation initiative, with 111 community health centres and partner organizations across Ontario participating.


Here is link to Ottawa report

For further background on Ottawa role on this province wide initiative by Community Health Centres go here

Model of Health and Wellbeing | Association of Ontario Health Centres