Healthcare Excellence Canada supports teams in delaying patients' needs for long-term care, encouraging aging at home

February 22, 2024

Healthcare Excellence Canada supports teams in delaying patients' needs for long-term care, encouraging aging at home

Healthcare Excellence Canada (HEC) has invited 26 organizations across Canada to participate in its Enabling Aging in Place collaborative from January 2024 to September 2025.

The collaborative seeks to foster collaboration among local health and social service organizations and support the implementation of promising practices that not only delay entry to long-term care but also deliver positive outcomes for safety, health and overall quality of life. Simultaneously, it aims to minimize emergency department visits, alleviate the burdens on care partners and enhance the efficient use of healthcare resources.

Applications to participate in the collaborative came from across Canada and included a wide range of organization types and sizes ranging from large healthcare organizations to smaller community-based organizations. Acute care, primary care, paramedicine, home care, hospice, long-term care, social housing and community organizations all expressed a keen interest in participating.Group photo including 33 participants and HEC staff at the first in-person Enabling Aging in Place Workshop held at the University of Toronto, Chestnut Residence on February 6, 2024.

“It was inspiring to see so many applications that shared the goal to make health care more equitable for older adults in the community," said Dr. Kate Mulligan, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto and Senior Director, Canadian Institute for Social Prescribing, who served as one of the merit review panel members for the collaborative.

The support Enabling Aging in Place provides is aimed at facilitating the adaptation, adoption or expansion of promising practices that leverage the unique strengths of each community to address the specific needs of older adults and their care partners.

“The diversity of project teams shows that this goal can be achieved in many ways, as each team works with their own community's unique culture, location, language, needs and strengths,” said Dr. Mulligan.“ The Collaborative will help innovators from across the country to stay accountable for equity, to keep learning and improving and to share and learn from each other as they work to provide the best possible support for older adults and care partners to thrive at home as they age.”

Invited teams will receive guidance in designing implementation and evaluation plans specific for their aging in place program. HEC is committed to providing ongoing support to these teams, ensuring they are well-equipped for a successful and impactful program implementation.

Teams participating in this initial phase of the collaborative will receive the following:

  • Up to $15,000 in seed funding per team.
  • Virtual and in-person networking, coaching sessions and opportunities to attend learning events to facilitate nationwide collaboration.
  • Access to evidence, resources and other capacity-building supports.
  • Measurement and evaluation support.
  • Opportunities to contribute to the development of new resources tailored for aging in place programs and community-specific needs.

“Used to working within our small island communities, it is a rare treat to connect with teams from across the country and to access the expertise of our coach and the many resources from the HEC team. This is the kind of meaningful support we need to create real change with, and for, older adults in our communities,” said Lori Nawrot, Executive Director, Hornby Denman Health, whose community is one of the 26 invited into the collaborative. Their organization and programs support Denman Island and Hornby Island, each home to about 1,250 year-round residents. These islands are in the Northern Gulf Islands and part of the Comox Valley Regional District off the coast of Vancouver Island, BC.

The Enabling Aging in Place initiative aligns with HEC's broader mission to find and promote innovations that align with the care of older adults with health and social needs. It also aligns with the federal, provincial and territorial governments’ efforts to help Canadians access healthcare that allows them to age with dignity.

HEC remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that safe, equitable and high-quality healthcare is accessible to every individual in Canada, regardless of age or specific needs.

“Every senior deserves to age in health, in safety, and in dignity. Everyone should have the choice to age at home, in their communities and close to their loved ones,” said the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health. “The Government of Canada will continue to work with provinces and territories, and support organizations like Healthcare Excellence Canada, to help all Canadians get the care they need when and where they need it.”

For more information:

Launched in 2021, HEC brings together the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement. We are an independent, not-for-profit charity funded primarily by Health Canada.