Introduction to Health and Wellness

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Health can be defined as the physical, social, psychological and spiritual well-being of individuals. Overall health of the population is determined by people’s income, education, employment and housing, as well as a combination of preventive and rehabilitative approaches and services. Making a positive impact on the health of individuals is the common goal among partners in the continuum of wellness promotion, illness prevention and health care.

Things We Are Doing Well

  • The Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter is the collective expression of 65 organizations across Niagara. It aims to improve planning through an inclusive, holistic, preventive, individual and family-centred approach across the lifespan, so that each community member can achieve their optimal level of wellbeing.
  • The Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day, a collaborative program of Niagara Region Public Health and the Niagara Regional Police Service, is now a national initiative.
  • The Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Well-being focuses on cardiac rehabilitation, physical activity with seniors and spinal cord rehabilitation through physical activity.
  • The South Niagara Health and Wellness Centre at Niagara College is a teaching facility and one-stop clinic in collaboration with Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre, Niagara Region, March of Dimes Canada, Niagara Health System and the HNHB Community Care Access Centre. Services support adults at risk for hospitalization by providing rehabilitation, wellness programs and community resource connections.
  • The Caring for my COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) initiative is supported through the HNHB LHIN, to: provide self-management training for individuals with COPD to improve their ability to remain healthy at home and in the community; and strengthen coordination of care between hospitals, primary care providers and respiratory specialists.

Emerging Activities

  • Preventing and combating obesity by supporting children and youth to be more active and healthy is the focus of the 3-year Healthy Kids Community Challenge. In 2014, Niagara was selected by the province to participate in this initiative.
  • The Niagara Health System now offers cardiac and cancer care in Niagara. The Niagara South hospital site is in the planning stages, with a site determined and capital planning underway.
  • A number of organizations, including Community Health Centres, are exploring how they may help to positively impact the health of seasonal immigrant workers in Niagara.
  • C’est Mon Choix!, a program delivered by the Centre de Sante Communautaire in Welland, increases knowledge in school-aged children and teens about drug use, to help reduce risky behaviors associated with abuse of illicit and prescription drugs.
  • The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care has initiated the Health Links program to create effective health services for individuals defined as high users of the health system. The goal is to impact these people’s care and improve quality of life through system level collaboration across health care services.
  • ‘Getting There’ is an initiative of over 30 Niagara agencies working together to explore a model for centrally-dispatched access to health and human services for Niagara’s most vulnerable people.

Suggested Action Steps

  • Support implementation of the Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter.
  • Utilize the Niagara Knowledge Exchange tool to engage partners in upstream health planning, support shared learning about best practice, and gather relevant, reliable Niagara-focused evidence, information and knowledge.
  • Leverage the Health Quality Ontario focus on the importance of health system integration, to enhance quality of services across the continuum.
  • Focus on addressing root causes of poverty and health-related issues of marginalized and vulnerable populations, by supporting a systems approach to investing in the people of Niagara.

Indicators

Chronic Disease and Injury

  • Perceived Ratings of Mental Well-Being and Stress
  • Obesity Rates in Niagara and Adolescent Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Niagara
  • Prevalence Rates of Chronic Conditions in Niagara
  • Injury Rates
  • Cancer Rates in Niagara

Health Services in Niagara

  • Number of Specific Health Facilities in Niagara
  • Hospital Standardized Mortality Ratio and Hospital Readmissions
  • Number of Physicians and Specialists
  • Wait Times for Emergency Room Visits, Diagnostic Imaging and Surgeries in Niagara
  • Emergency Response Times in Niagara

Lifestyle Indicators in Niagara

  • Substance Use Rates
  • Physical Activity Rates
  • Nutrition Rates
  • Dental Health Rates

Population Level Outcomes

  • Life Expectancy in Niagara
  • Low Birth Weight and Mortality of Babies in Niagara
  • Teen Pregnancies
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