Roger's story: Help at home

Roger* is a 78-year old man with arthritis, heart problems, and emphysema. When Roger's wife died four years ago, his children thought that Roger would need to move to a nursing home. But thanks to the home care he receives from a visiting nurse, Roger has been able to stay in his own home.

Roger's visiting nurse, Lydia, works for the health region's home care services. Home care provides health-related services to people at home, helping them stay in their own homes longer. These services include nursing care, health promotion and teaching, support for caregivers, and rehabilitation. Lydia is also participating in the National Home Care and Primary Health Care Partnership Project (or the National Partnership Project, for short). This project aims to improve home care management of chronic medical conditions through use of the latest health care evidence and technology.

One example of how this new technology works is through the use of handheld devices such as Palm Pilots. When Lydia visits Roger in his home, she brings her Palm Pilot with her. Lydia's Palm Pilot has e-Therapeutics, a database of drug and medical information developed by the Canadian Pharmacists Association. With e-Therapeutics, Lydia has access to medical references at her fingertips, so that if questions or problems arise during a visit with Roger, she can deal with them on the spot. This may help save time, give Roger quicker access to the care and information he needs, and even save on the health care costs of extra visits.

The National Partnership Project and e-Therapeutics are excellent examples of how using new technology can help improve health care in the community in a cost-effective manner.

* Note: The stories of Sarah, Jamal, and Roger are hypothetical stories based on the goals and vision of primary health care.

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