MEDIA RELEASE  

The Hills of Headwaters Collaborative Ontario Health Team Celebrates First Year Anniversary

 ORANGEVILLE, ON – December 7, 2020 – A year ago, on December 6, 2019, the province formally announced the Hills of Headwaters Collaborative as one of the first 24 Ontario Health Teams (OHT).

“From the first announcement about the Hills of Headwaters Collaborative one year ago, I have been impressed with the commitment and co-operation between the different community partners,” said Sylvia Jones, MPP Dufferin-Caledon. “We began with an excellent foundation of teamwork between all the services who provide patient care, and the work that is demanded of all our health services during the pandemic is proof that the Collaborative in Dufferin-Caledon is an effective team.”

Ontario Health Teams are a new model of organizing and delivering health care. The Province now has 42 teams that will cover 86 per cent of the population of Ontario, when they are at maturity. In the past year, many Ontario Health Teams have pivoted to support an integrated community response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bob Borden, Patient Advisor and Chair of the Community Wellness Council said, “In these partnerships, we know we are valued and not just passive, token participants. We have been and will remain key co-designers of our OHT and the continued work to integrate and connect the health and care systems.”

When announced, many of the Hills of Headwaters Collaborative partners were already working with one another to create a local system designed with patients, families, caregivers and providers to meet the needs of our community.  Working together under the auspices of an OHT further strengthened their culture of collaboration.

“The future is bright and full as we work on building on our successes, including hiring a Transformation Lead for our OHT,” remarked Lianne Barbour, Executive Director, Dufferin Area Family Health Team and Co-Lead, Hills of Headwaters Collaborative. “With the development of a leadership team, we know we can achieve great things for Dufferin-Caledon.”

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic created a unified response by the OHT partners. They coordinated actions with local primary care providers and others including long-term care, congregate settings, bereavement supports, mental health and community services. Improved communication led to earlier identification and mitigation of risks at a local level, which ensured faster solutions and decision-making.

“It’s been an incredible year in so many ways, and we are proud of how our community has pulled together,” said Kim Delahunt, President & CEO, Headwaters Health Care Centre & Co-Lead, Hills of Headwaters Collaborative.

Connecting the health and care that very every person receives will lead to improved health status of the population, more importantly it will ensure positive changes at each step of everyone’s health and care journey. This the shared purpose of all partners that will improve the entire health, community, home and social and human services experience for the people in Dufferin-Caledon year, over year.

A few first-year achievements:

  • Improving and expanding access to Mental Health and Addictions Services including the creation of an Integrated Mental Health team to support providers during COVID, this also included a mobile Bereavement Team as well as information for vulnerable and marginalized people highlighting services available in the community. An online portal was developed for staff to support online bookings. They also offered a virtual remembrance event to support clients dealing with loss.
  • Establishing a foundation for the integration of care for patients with complex care needs and improve their home and community care experience. COVID-19 led to the creation of a Remote Monitoring Program led by the Dufferin County Paramedic Service and the creation of a Congregate Settings Work Group.
  • Improving the connections between primary health care, specialized care to health, community, home, social and human services so that patients do not have to re-tell their story. This work included the creation of a Congregate Settings Physicians Advisory Work Group, virtual care for family physicians and the creation of the Dufferin-Caledon Physicians Association.
  • Aligning to and adopting a health equity perspective to ensure everyone in Dufferin-Caledon has a fair opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This work included the creation of a Vulnerable Population Work Group.
  • The Collaborative also launched a Community Wellness Council that is made up of community members who work together with providers to identify areas of focus for the Collaborative. The Community Wellness Council’s first project is the development of the Caregivers in the Hills’ Caregivers I.D. Program, developed to provide recognition and validation of the caregiver role within health care. Launched in December with the Alzheimer Society of Dufferin and Dufferin Child and Family Services who are part of Phase 1. More can be found about the Caregivers in the Hills at yourvoicehillsofheadwaters.ca
  • Additional partnerships include the ongoing support for the Headwaters Health Care Centre’s COVID-19 Drive-Through Assessment Centre, a Collaborative Emergency Operations Centre, a Dufferin-Caledon Personal Protective Equipment partnership, and a Swabbing Action Team (SWAT).

Photo Caption: On December 6, 2019 partners gathered at the Dufferin County Paramedic Headquarters in Orangeville for the announcement of the Hills of Headwaters Collaborative.

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Media Contact on behalf of the Hills of Headwaters Collaborative

Jennifer Hamilton, MA, MBA Director, Communications & Stakeholder Relations, Headwaters Health Care Centre | Cell/Text: 519-278-5085| Email: jhamilton@headwatershealth.ca

Additional Information about the Community Wellness Council – Bob Borden, Chair

The Hills of Headwaters Collaborative OHT is purposely built on a foundation that focusses on the “Community Wellness Council” (CWC), that is comprised of patients, caregivers and advisors from across our region. If you consider yourself to be in one of these roles in Dufferin Caledon, then you are a part of the CWC!

From the beginning the CWC was a key part of the successful development of the Collaborative and we have had accelerated involvement in response to and support of COVID. We have patient members that have supported the Hills of Headwaters Collaborative OHT’s active COVID planning groups – from palliative care, vulnerable populations and mental health and addictions; we have been a part of all the planning. The OHTs planning actions are vetted by the CWC prior to being implementation to ensure patients are co-designers. The Community Wellness Council were even involved in the making of washable gowns – in this way patients and caregivers were supporting the frontline workers and generated even more community connection.

“In these partnerships, we know we are valued and not just passive, token participants. We have been and will remain key co-designers of our OHT and the continued work to integrate and connect the health and care systems,” said Bob Borden, patient family advisor and Chair, Community Wellness Council.