Dealing with years of chronic pain would be stressful enough on its own. Now add to that the hardship of being in the hospital for months at a time, finally getting to return home, but with no support from people around you to help make that transition.

Douglas lives in Callander, a small town just south of North Bay, Ontario. He’s 56 years old and has suffered with debilitating sciatic nerve and back pain for years, requiring surgery.This was Douglas Ritchie’s reality. Douglas lives in Callander, a small town just south of North Bay, Ontario. He’s 56 years old and has suffered with debilitating sciatic nerve and back pain for years, requiring surgery and strong pain medications. He was being discharged from hospital in August after a 60-day stay.

With few friends and family close by, Douglas would have been on his own to get home from the hospital and get his house set up for his recovery. Thankfully, the Red Cross has a program called PATH (Priority Assistance to Transition Home) that was able to help Douglas and many others who are in a similar situation. 

PATH, which is supported by Baxter Canada’s Welcome Home program, helps make the transition from hospital to home smooth and comfortable. A Transitional Care Worker from the Red Cross met Douglas at the hospital and accompanied him home, helped him unpack, made him some lunch, and did the dishes.

“They were there as a service, but also as a friend,” said Douglas. “They were totally outstanding. If they weren’t there, I don’t know what I’d do.”

About the PATH program

PATH provides vital assistance to help keep patients recovering in the comfort of their homes instead of needing to be readmitted to hospital. Once referred to the program by their doctor or a member of their health care team at the hospital, the Transitional Care Worker can help with several essential services, including providing escorted transportation home, and obtaining prescriptions, groceries and health equipment. Even snow removal can be arranged if needed!

In some situations, clients who use the program come to the hospital by ambulance and often have no proper clothing or footwear to go home in. If that’s the case, PATH has items on hand and can supply what is needed.

Once at home, the Transitional Care Worker will do a safety audit, falls risk assessment and provide the client with information to help keep them safe while at home. They follow up after the initial visit and will also connect the client to other supports in the community to ensure their health and recovery is on track. 

PATH has been operating in northern Ontario since February 2013. Baxter Canada is instrumental in supporting the evaluation of the services that are offered through the program and using these results to help the Red Cross build the program’s future.  Today, in part thanks to the critical insight that Baxter Canada provides, PATH is being expanded to hospitals across the north east. It’s helped thousands of clients, like Douglas, remain in their home and out of hospital.

PATH is supported by Baxter Canada as part of its Welcome Home program. With Baxter’s generous support, we can strengthen the current program and reach more people in new communities.