Tag: plans

Why your plans to age in place need to start now


Aging in place means staying in your home for as long as you are able.

Most people aspire to it, but few people know how to position themselves for it—or that they need to start this decades in advance.

Dr. Karen Humphreys aims to change that with her new book, The Mission of Maya and Methuselah. The clinical instructor from UBC’s faculty of medicine and internal medicine specialist pulls together advice on fitness, functionality and financial health for the wave of Canadian baby boomers who may soon find themselves in a social safety net that is fraying under their weight.

Who did you write this book for?

Dr. Karen Humphreys

The book is geared for adults 40-plus who are either dealing with aging parents or aging grandparents. It’s a guide for families to help individuals in those age brackets take steps to remain in their own home for as long as they can.

Everyone wants to age in place, but the reality is if you’re not functionally fit—mentally and physically—that isn’t an option. This is much like preventative medicine for heart disease, in that we need to start early in our 40s and 50s to change that trajectory. By the time people get to the medical ward and they’re already frail, it’s too late.

What does the book’s title mean?

Maya is a persona I named after the poet Maya Angelou. There are scenarios in the book where Maya is in her 50s, with a mother in her 70s. For every decade of life—50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s—there’s a clinical scenario, and then there’s nutrition and lifestyle advice.

Methuselah is another persona, based on an acquaintance of mine who was 93 and danced with people who were 20

Edmonton fire department plans to respond to ‘urgent’ medical calls

Edmonton Fire Chief Joe Zatylny said 70 per cent of the 95,496 calls to Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) in 2023 were medically related

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Edmonton’s fire department says it’s reducing its call burden by only responding to urgent medical needs as part of a plan to cut down the number of firefighters going to medical-related calls.

Edmonton Fire Chief Joe Zatylny provided a report to the community and public services committee on Monday. He said 70 per cent of the 95,496 calls to Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) in 2023 were medically related. The service is projecting up to 80,000 medical calls per year by the end of 2024 — assuming the trend continues.

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Saskatchewan Health Authority outlines $4.8B budget, plans for future of health care

The Saskatchewan government and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) have outlined their budget for 2023-24 and it includes nearly $5 billion in funding.

On Thursday, the SHA board of directors approved a $4.82-billion operating budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year, as well as a capital expenditure plan of more than $314.7 million.

“Our Board recognizes the critical role our services play in supporting a high quality of life for all Saskatchewan residents,” Arlene Wiks, the SHA board chair, said. “The budget approved today strengthens those services by prioritizing investments that will enhance care for the patients and residents we serve across the province.”

A few key areas outlined in the budget include:

  • $42.5 million will be dedicated to the surgical program, providing an additional 6,000 procedures, for a total of 103,000 surgeries this fiscal year.
  • $39 million to support seniors’ care and facilitate seniors living in their own homes and the community.
  • $19.8-million increase to support 64 permanent acute and complex care beds located at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon (36 beds) and Pasqua Hospital in Regina.

Mental health

Moving forward, the SHA also outlined an emphasis on mental health and addictions resources.

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The budget includes $12.4 million to address new and ongoing mental health and addictions initiatives. There will also be an additional 150 addiction treatment spaces introduced in the province.

At the St. John’s Hospital in Estevan, 26 post-treatment beds have also been expanded. Rapid access to counselling services is also being expanded from 23 to 31 communities.

Overdose Outreach Teams in Regina and Saskatoon will connect people who have recently experienced an overdose with programs and services.

As part of looking forward, the SHA is also looking back at the success of the new tactics put in place for recruiting health-care workers to

N.S. announces plans for new and expanded health-care clinics

The Nova Scotia government announced plans on Wednesday to expand existing health-care clinics and build new ones between now and 2025. 

Health Minister Michelle Thompson told a news conference that the government would spend $17 million on the 60 sites, which are spread around the province. The money would be for operational costs, recruiting and work required to build or expand sites.

Additional costs would come as new staff begin working at the clinics. Thompson said the government is committed to making “an ongoing investment in primary health care.”

“We know we need to spend the money,” she told reporters.

“We know that primary care is a priority and we know that it’s going to prevent hospitalization, it’s going to prevent, you know, illnesses from progressing.”

Care no matter where you live

The clinics take a variety of forms, all with the intention of improving attachment to primary-care practices and increasing access for patients who have yet to get a provider.

The announcement includes eight new collaborative family practice teams and new after-hours clinics, primary care clinics and urgent treatment centres. Thompson said the expanded offerings would divert more people from emergency departments as their de facto care option and have a “significant impact” on the size of the need-a-family-practice registry, which hit 145,000 people this month.

“We are working to ensure that no matter where you live, you can get the care you need,” she said.

“We said we would fix health care and that is exactly what we are doing.”

Achieving that goal, however, is going to require more people working in the health-care system.

Officials said Thursday that 53 per cent of the positions across all zones have been filled and most of the remaining positions have been posted and are in different stages of the hiring

N.L. has no plans to pay for care by private nurse practitioners: Osborne

A man wearing a blue, collared shirt and blazer, standing beside a woman with a black shirt. Both have stethoscopes hanging around their neck.
Travis Sheppard and Lacey Sparkes have operated a private nurse practitioner clinic in Corner Brook since February 2022. (Submitted by Lacey Sparkes)

Nurse practitioners who have their own private clinics won’t be able to bill the government for patient visits any time soon, and the association that represents them says that hurts people who need care at a time when there’s a shortage of health-care providers. 

Right now, private-practice nurse practitioners have to charge patients out of pocket, and some of them have said what’s needed is a way to have the cost covered by the Newfoundland and Labrador government. 

But the province’s health minister, Tom Osborne, says the provincial government is not considering direct billing to the public health-care system for nurse practitioner visits. 

“We aren’t looking at that at this particular time,” said Osborne. “The nurse practitioners in this province will be part of the public system.”

That’s bad news for nurse practitioners such as Lacey Sparkes and Travis Sheppard. The two nurse practitioners have been in private practice together since February 2022 at the Nurse Practitioner Health and Wellness Clinic in Corner Brook. 

“What we’ve been asking for is, we just want a way to practise autonomously where we can provide our services without a fee to the patient. We want to provide a publicly funded service,” said Sparkes.

Sheppard said their clinic had a huge influx of patients when it opened, as so many people without family physicians were glad to be able to get care and to avoid emergency room visits. With the presence of the private nurse practitioner clinic obviously alleviating pressure on the local emergency room, he said, it’s hard to understand why the government doesn’t see value in covering the cost of patient visits.

“I’m surprised that we’re not further ahead than

NYC plans $100 million public-health call center

The city Health Department says it has just the Rx for the public and medical professionals looking for guidance on health issues — a hot line that would cost $100 million over six years. 

Mayor Eric Adams’ administration is preparing to launch the sweeping, central, around-the-clock “Public Health Call Center,” which will make doctors available to field questions from New Yorkers and health-care providers about a range of medical issues, including during emergencies such as coronavirus outbreak, the Post has learned.

The call center, overseen by the Health and Mental Hygiene Department, will be staffed with clinicians — including nurses and doctors — as well as phone operators.

The plan is to award a six-year, $100 million contract to a firm next year to run the call center, which will receive calls as well as make out-bound calls to residents.

The call center would open Jan. 1, 2025.

“Such a call center is critical to reducing health disparities by providing equitable access to health information, providing a single resource for both the public and healthcare providers to speak with experienced clinicians for guidance on public health topics, and allowing DOHMH to scale up and down operations as needed based upon outbreaks and public health emergencies,” the department said in a “concept paper” explaining its proposal.

 “The COVID-19 public health emergency reinforced the need to provide comprehensive call center services to New Yorkers.”

The city's Health Department announced a new “Public Health Call Center" will open in 2025.
The New York City Health Department announced a new “Public Health Call Center” will open in 2025. The center could be used to connect the city’s migrants to medical care, according to Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan.
William Farrington

During the pandemic, the health agency fielded thousands of calls monthly on topics including COVID testing locations, quarantine and isolation orders, vaccination eligibility and paid sick leave. 

The Health

Ottawa plans to increase health-care wait times

Provinces penalized for allowing patients to pay for their own medical scans at private clinics

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By Colin Craig

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The Trudeau government recently announced it will be taking action to increase health-care wait times in Canada. That wasn’t exactly how it worded

Ontario announces plans to cover tuition and more to train health care workers

Premier Doug Ford announced the change in a news conference in London, Ont., on Friday.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Ontario wants to entice 2,500 health care workers a year to practise in communities hit with the greatest staffing challenges by covering their tuition at select postsecondary schools.

Premier Doug Ford, in London on Friday, revealed details of the province’s $142-million “learn and stay grant” that will cover tuition, books and other direct educational costs for students in return for a commitment to work in the region where they studied for up to two years.

Initially intended for only nursing students, Mr. Ford said the grant will also apply to medical laboratory technologist and paramedic programs in regions of the province facing a staffing crunch in these sectors.

“We’re bolstering our work force, building a pipeline of health care talent for growing and underserved communities,” Mr. Ford said. “This is a real win-win. We’re providing students with opportunity for great education and a rewarding career and we’re increasing the number of health care workers in underserved communities so that Ontarians in every corner of the province get the quality of care they need closer to home.”

The grant, with applications opening in the spring, is geared toward students enrolled in undergraduate or diploma nursing programs in northern, eastern or southwestern Ontario, laboratory sciences studies in the northern and southwestern regions and paramedicine in the north.

Paramedics have been in demand in Northern Ontario, where last fall, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) called for better staffing with 911 call volumes on the rise. In the northwestern community of Kenora alone, demand for paramedicine services increased by almost 17 per cent in 2021.

A list of eligible postsecondary institutions across more than a dozen communities has been posted on the province’s

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