Niagara Health System: you role in improving health services

Photo Credit: Joao Cruz on Unsplash

Photo Credit: Joao Cruz on Unsplash

Madelyn Law, Associate Vice-Provost of Teaching and Learning and Assistant Professor of Health Sciences, will be giving a presentation on the Niagara Health System and the ways in which individuals’ voices can have more of an impact.

“Health is really important and it costs more not to do it properly,” said Gracia Janes, President of the Niagara District Council of Women.  “Seniors feel really vulnerable and just trying to get to the doctors [poses a problem], so, that’s why [the Niagara District Council of Women] decided to do hold this event.”

The presentation will take place on Wednesday, February 12 from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the St. Catharines Central Library on 54 Church Street.

In the summer, the provincial government announced that 416 people in back office positions in health agencies including communication, planning and financial services and another 409 vacant positions were being eliminated. The government has merged community cancer care and e-health, and the province’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and six health agencies will be consolidated into a new super agency called Ontario Health.

“The head of the regional health group that is in control of monitoring and keeping track of the Coronavirus is quite worried about the centralization going on,” said Janes. “With this virus it’s really important to have people at the local level who, like when there was SARS, cooperates with someone at the provincial level. It’s a good system. It’s essential to be at the local level and keep track.”

Law’s approach to the presentation will be to look at the issues that may be present in the health system, and to look at the existing strengths that we have and how to leverage those to make the system better. Rather than focusing on the bad, it will be an attempt to look at where to go next.

Law believes that there are many good things our health organizations are doing and that it is important to highlight those things for people. There’s a lot that happens that is positive and includes the community. An example of this is how Niagara Health has a great network where patients are helping them inform health services. Additionally, a lot of organizations have patients on their boards that help to inform decision making.

“The focus of my talk is going to be on the role we as the community can play in this process and looking at it from an individual level,” said Law. “If I am the patient, what can I do, or if I am the parent or family member. What kind of questions should you ask in order to get the right information or to make sure that your health professional is being held accountable. How can you ask good questions that allow you as a patient to make a good decision?”

The presentation will highlight the ways in which patients can be involved in what the organizations are doing and the decisions that they make.  It is an opportunity to learn the importance of the patient voice, and how to look at the system in a positive lens, which can change the way people interact with it.

The people in the health system are working very hard, and this presentation can help interested individuals learn how to support them as a community. The presentation will conclude with an opportunity for attendees to ask questions.

For more information, contact Gracia Janes at 905-468-2841 or gracia.janes@bellnet.ca

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