Marking One Year of Partnership in Palliative Care

June 9, 2023

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) is marking one year of partnership in palliative care with Hospice Muskoka.

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) is marking one year of partnership in palliative care with Hospice Muskoka.

Through a unique agreement and with funding provided through the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team, five transitional care beds at Andy’s House in Port Carling have been dedicated to MAHC patients seeking end-of-life care in a homelike environment.

On May 21, 2022, the first MAHC patient arrived at Andy’s House through a streamlined admission process. One year later, just over 100 patients have received excellent palliative care in the most suitable environment for the patients’ end-of-life care needs, supported by experienced providers at Andy’s House from the Hospice Muskoka clinical care team, including PSWs, nurses, social work, volunteers and two Nurse Practitioners who provide 24/7 coverage.

President and CEO Cheryl Harrison is proud of the collaborative effort, which through efficient use of local healthcare system funding has increased the availability of acute care beds at MAHC, created opportunities for unfunded rooms at Andy’s House, and provided quality end-of-life experiences for patients and families.

“MAHC’s partnership with Hospice Muskoka has provided greater streamlined access to palliative care at Andy’s House for our community,” says Harrison. “Through dedicated pathways we have developed with the hospice team, there are immediate referrals to the transitional palliative bed, giving people quicker access to the end-of-life care that best fits their needs and desires.”

Hospice Muskoka Executive Director Donna Kearney agrees that the partnership over the past year has been a win from every perspective.

“We have come a long way since those first patients crossed the threshold into hospice,” says Kearney. “Freeing up acute care beds, increasing access to hospice beds, cost savings for taxpayers, and most importantly specialized end-of-life care in a home-like setting are all being achieved.”

The collaboration is also an example of the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team (MAOHT) bringing system leaders together to find solutions that work for Muskoka.

“The Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team is committed to integrating services and developing collaborative partnerships that improve health care in our communities,” add Dr. Keith Cross and Brenda Gefucia, Co-Chairs of the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team Alliance Council. “Advocating for and securing approximately $500,000 for these transitional beds is an excellent example of what we can accomplish for patients when we work together to bring resources to our community.”