Quebec to deploy hospital-at-home in 8 regions
May 3, 2023
QUEBEC CITY – The province of Quebec announced that it will soon launch “hospital-at-home” services as a way of improving the quality of care and reducing pressure on hospital beds. The first phase will target eight health networks – known in Quebec as CISSS and CIUSSS – in the greater Montreal and Quebec City areas.
The services will be available to patients by 2024, according to the Minister for Health and Seniors, Sonia Bélanger (pictured). If their condition permits, patients can choose to continue their treatment at home while remaining under the supervision of a medical team.
Thanks to technology, medical staff will be able to follow the patient’s progress remotely. Shorter hospital stays are beneficial for patients and help prevent further deterioration, a common negative consequence of long hospital stays, particularly for seniors.
Regular communication between the care team and the patient hospitalized at home has also been promised. They’ll be offered face-to-face and virtual visits. It will also be possible to speak with a nurse by phone at any time.
Thanks to connected devices, medical staff are able to monitor the progress of the patient remotely. Generally, an iPad is given to the patient and this tablet is connected by wireless technology to sensors to measure blood pressure, heartbeat, blood sugar or other indicators.
The first phase of the project involves CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, CISSS des Laurentides, CISSS de Laval, CISSS de Lanaudière, CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre and CHU de Québec-Université Laval. However, the goal is to eventually implement the system in all 34 institutions and service centers in Quebec.
Bélanger made the announcement alongside the health minister’s parliamentary assistant, Youri Chassin, and the head of Quebec’s medical specialists (FMSQ), Dr. Vincent Oliva.
Dr. Oliva pointed out that a “hospital-at-home” project has already been going on at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal for almost a year and a half and that the satisfaction rate of patients and medical staff is very high.
Thus, if there may be inconveniences for the doctor not to physically rub shoulders with his patient in the hospital, they are largely compensated by the benefits of patient comfort. Moreover, according to the Dr Oliva, communication by videoconference is often enough to get a good idea of the patient’s general condition.
The initiative will be partly funded by the Institute for the Relevance of Medical Acts (IPAM), whose funds come from the remuneration envelope for specialist doctors and from savings generated by its work. About $40 million is to be invested in the hospital-at-home project by 2026.