The Future of Elder Care in Canada
Panelists: Linda Knight and Dr. Samir Sinha, Moderator: Andre Picard
July 8, 2021
COVID-19 is forcing us to question how many of the current structures in society function, and the values that underpin them. How we care for elders is a striking case in point.
The Empire Club is proud to welcome Linda Knight CEO, CarePartners, and Dr Samir Sinha, Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System. In a panel moderated by Globe and Mail health columnist André Picard, they will discuss how the healthcare system needs to be to redesigned to improve the lives of Canada’s elders.
Health Columnist, The Globe and Mail
André Picard is the health columnist at The Globe and Mail and author of six books, including the current bestseller “Neglected No More: The Urgent Need To Improve the Lives of Canada’s Elders.”
He has received much acclaim for his writing, including being named Canada’s top newspaper columnist at the 2020 National Newspaper Awards. He has also won the prestigious Michener Prize for Meritorious Public Service Journalism and the Centennial Prize of the Pan-American Health Organization, awarded to the top health reporter in the 17 countries of the Americas.
André is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and Carleton University and has received honorary doctorates from seven universities, including the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia.
He also has a star on the Walk of Fame – not in Hollywood, but in his hometown of North Bay.
Linda has a long history in the Ontario Home Health Care Sector, starting as a visiting RN in 1978 and gaining experience as a Home Care Case Manager. In 1983, Linda started a home health care agency from her kitchen table – hiring two nurses and covering rural Huron County, providing 3500 visits a year. The company grew quickly and started to provide services in surrounding regions, concentrating on delivering high quality nursing care with a small team approach. The company’s growth exploded when a competitive bidding process was started in the Home Care sector in 1996. This previously rural-based company started to provide services in areas like Mississauga, Kitchener-Waterloo, Woodstock, Oshawa, and St Catharines.
Linda continued to grow CarePartners, offering new services to round out the home health care patient experience. In 2009, she purchased Dynamic Therapy Solutions to provide professional therapy services, and in 2012, CarePartners merged with the PSW Ontario division of Red Cross. In October 2014, Linda assumed responsibility for the combined PSW, Nursing and Therapy program.
Since then, her commitment to providing exceptional patient and family-centered care has not faltered. In 2012, CarePartners was awarded with a “Best Practice Spotlight Organization” designation from RNAO. In 2016, CarePartners’ new eShift program was awarded with the Minister’s Medal to Honour Excellence in Health Quality and Safety. And in 2018, CarePartners earned Accreditation with Exemplary status.
Linda and CarePartners continue to innovate and adapt. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Linda’s team accelerated their development for a robust virtual care offering and rolled out their CarePartners Connect app and services much earlier than planned. To protect frontline health care providers, CarePartners also self-funded full PPE, offered temporary nursing and therapist wage subsidies and provided financial assistance to employees who experienced pay gaps due to quarantine conditions.
CarePartners currently delivers nearly 6 million hours of service per year covering all of Ontario–from Thunder Bay to Windsor. Employing nearly 5000 nurses, PSW and therapists, CarePartners’ staff is on the road 24/7 to meet patients’ needs.
Linda is a well-known, seasoned CEO in the sector, leading a team of exceptional home health care executives to ensure future growth and stability. In 2001, Linda won the Rotman Business School/BMO Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award for the “Impact on Local Economy” category. Currently, Linda is past Chair of the Board for Home Care Ontario – an association representing the home care sector provincially.
When she’s not advocating for home health care and patient rights, Linda spends time with her five grandchildren and traveling. In fact, Linda and staff have taken over 12 medical trips to countries with poor access to medical services since 2009.
Dr. Samir K. Sinha
Director of Geriatrics, Sinai Health System and University Health Network
Dr. Samir Sinha is a passionate and respected advocate for the needs of older adults. Dr. Sinha currently serves as the Director of Geriatrics of the Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto, the Peter and Shelagh Godsoe Chair in Geriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital, and the Director of Health Policy Research at the National Institute on Ageing at Ryerson University. He is also an Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Family and Community Medicine, and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
A Rhodes Scholar, after completing his undergraduate medical studies at the University of Western Ontario, he obtained a Masters in Medical History and a Doctorate in Sociology at the University of Oxford’s Institute of Ageing. He has pursued his postgraduate training in Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto and in Geriatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Dr. Sinha’s breadth of international training and expertise in health policy and the delivery of services related to the care of the elderly have made him a highly regarded expert in the care of older adults. Dr. Sinha began his clinical career working as a long-term care physician in Baltimore, Maryland before returning to Canada in 2010. In 2012 he was appointed by the Government of Ontario to serve as the expert lead of Ontario’s Seniors Strategy through which he led or participated in several comprehensive reviews of Ontario’s long-term care services over the years. In 2019 he launched a comprehensive review of long-term care services across Canada and around the world for the National Institute on Ageing. In 2014, Canada’s Maclean’s Magazine proclaimed him to be one of Canada’s 50 most influential people and its most compelling voice for the elderly.
Beyond Canada, Dr. Sinha is a Fellow of the American Geriatrics Society and a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. Dr. Sinha has further consulted and advised hospitals and health authorities in Britain, China, Iceland, Singapore, St. Kitts and Nevis, Taiwan and the United States on the implementation and administration of unique, integrated and innovative models of geriatric and long-term care that reduce disease burden, improve access and capacity and ultimately promote health.