For Entité 4, the pandemic brought into focus what we already knew – increasing access to French language health services is crucial for the well-being of the communities we serve. The last 12 months underscored the importance of being flexible yet focused. The need to address immediate concerns while remaining committed to long-term goals.
What began as a two-week shutdown, following the declaration of a provincial emergency on March 17, 2020, forced many of us to fundamentally shift how we worked. In the early days of the pandemic, with information constantly shifting as medical understanding grew, Entité 4 stepped up to address the lack of reliable information in French.
But even as we worked to address new challenges, we remained committed to delivering sustainable solutions to improve access to care for Francophone patients and their caregivers.
With the help of our partners, and despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Alzheimer Society of Durham Region was identified as a provider of French language services and TAIBU Community Health Centre achieved partial designation under the French Language Services Act. The commitment shown by these organizations to better serve their Francophone clients is both remarkable and worth celebrating.
While the pandemic shifted the primary focus of the health system, progress towards system transformation continued. Entité 4 supported four additional OHTs located within our catchment area as they completed the provincial application process. We proactively developed information for OHTs to inform future discussions surrounding the provision of Home and Community Care Services.
Although it was a difficult year for many, the pandemic clearly demonstrated the interconnection between health care and community-based services and the importance of working together to address community needs. Maintaining existing and building new partnerships will play a critical role as we work to address the needs of Ontario’s Francophone communities.
With the end of the pandemic in sight, we must remain prepared to meet the new opportunities and challenges ahead. Perhaps the greatest lesson of the last year has been that although plans may change, our goal remains constant. We remain committed to our communities.