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Healthcare Change Makers

Dec 3, 2019

Today, your host Ellen Gardner, Communications and Marketing at HIROC, speaks with Carol Annett, CEO, VHA Home HealthCare.


In the 20 years since Carol joined VHA, home healthcare has gone from being an afterthought – with virtually no status or investment – to becoming an essential, influential and highly-valued healthcare service. Whether people are in recovery, living with chronic illness or want to die at home, the goal of VHA is to support them in living independently and with dignity. But leading a home healthcare organization in these times also means dealing with funding pressures, an inequitable compensation system, and a remote workforce. Still, Carol draws positive energy from the organization’s mission, the dedicated volunteer board, and the special skills and commitment of her professional staff, working solo in the community and delivering care to patients with higher acuity and complex needs.


Key Takeaways:

[2:15] What intrigued Carol about the mission of VHA

[3:21] The roots of VHA

[4:57] The special nature of VHA’s culture

[6:22] How VHA’s mission of supporting and helping people achieve independence and live to their potential has served clients well

[8:08] Carol’s personal experience as a caregiver

[8:28] Home care is about families…they are the backbone of home care

[9:10] How the care needs of the client groups served by VHA have changed

[9:47] The pressure and responsibility put on professional staff working solo and travelling through the day

[10:49] How the necessity of working faster – and pressure on funding – has changed the nature of the working environment

[12:12] The lack of equitable compensation in our healthcare system creates challenges and needs to be addressed, especially with a shrinking pool of resources

[17:10] The positive outcomes of a community partnership with Michael Garron Hospital

[19:10] Why Carol embraces a philosophy built around “try many things, make mistakes and move on”…and looks for that attitude in trusted partners

[20:14] Finding a way to engage more voices in VHA’s new strategic plan

[21:16] Why Carol loves the government’s vision for healthcare, including moving towards Integrated Care

[22:22] How VHA plans to shine a light on their knowledge and role as a thought-leader in the future of home healthcare

[23:25] What energizes Carol in her life and her work

[26:00] How VHA works to ensure the physical and emotional safety of employees

[31:27] What inspires Carol about the next generation of leaders coming into healthcare

[33:00] Why having a positive outlook is central to Carol’s character and leadership style

[34:55] The programs initiated by VHA that Carol and her team take pride in


Mentioned in this Episode:

VHA Home HealthCare

Michael Garron Hospital

South Riverdale Community Health Centre

Unity Health Toronto

Woodgreen Community Services

VHA’s Heart of Home Care Award


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