Greater Sudbury
Health Action Committee



Who We Are

Greater Sudbury's Health Action Committee, is a diverse group of volunteers who are trying to drive care that is focused on the needs of the patient, not the needs of the system and the disease.

We are currently pressing government to expand and accelerate local efforts to treat complex, frail patients using "Advance Care Planning."

Our plan will:
Cost less Suffering: treatments like pain management are in place when they are needed.

Cost less Stress for the patient and care giver: Decisions are made in advance so everyone knows who will be looking after future treatments, eliminates frantic searches for help for services.

Cost hospitals and the Health Care System less money: Eliminating needless procedures that do not improve quality of life.

Our Purpose

Our Health Action Committee (HAC) is a diverse 16 member community collaboration led by Dr. Peter Zalan offering solutions that will promote patient-centred care that will also save money that can be redirected to “the bedside.”
HAC members are long time Sudbury residents who have witnessed and experienced challenges with our local health care system but instead of dwelling on problems, advocate using patient stories to drive action for improvement.

HAC is promoting a specific initiative in its submission to the Minister of Health and Long-­Term Care’s whitepaper: “Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care”. Our initiative aims to shift the focus of our health care system from the disease to the patient.
Research and patient experience indicate that patients are not given sufficient information, support and opportunity to make decisions about end-­of-­life care.

If given all the information and options, many would choose to avoid aggressive medical interventions and focus instead on optimizing the quality of their life. This may be days and weeks in the case of cancer, can be months and a year or two in the case of congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive lung disease, and multiple years for dementia.

The HAC submission focuses on the story of “Joan” a young woman who had defeated cancer in her teens, again in her thirties, then faced a terminal diagnosis in her forties. She didn’t want aggressive intervention, did not want to return to hospital. But she was not given the information, nor the opportunity to choose her treatment plan. She spent the last weeks of her life in distress in a hospital bed.

HAC advocates the system-­wide application of a coordinated patient-­centred model of advance care planning that would not only improve the experience of patients like Joan, but would be more system efficient and ease pressure on hospital resources. Up to 25% of health care funding is spent in the last year of life: over $10 billion in Ontario alone.
Nova Scotia and Australia have had success with advance care planning. Pilot projects in Health Sciences North and at St Joseph Health Center’s Complex Continuing Care are underway. HAC recommends to the Minister that our local initiatives be supported, expanded and accelerated in our community. Our results can be studied and our successes replicated elsewhere.

HAC also suggests examining the evidence. Does the market indeed deliver high quality home care services at a lower price? At the very least, as individual provider contracts expire, we suggest that community-wide employment contracts be offered to the employees of organizations that provide the same type of work. It would mean that health care workers would not be enticed to pursue more lucrative opportunities elsewhere in the health care system. It would mean stable employment in the home care sector. It makes sense: equal pay for equal work, whether provided in a hospital, long term care facility or in the home.

HAC also suggests that the Minister make the Personal Support Worker (PSW) a valued member of the home care team. Consider expanding the pilot self-­‐selection of home care workers in which clients and families select their aid workers.
We must restore value to primary care, give it new life, and meaning. The province needs a primary care system that gives priority to medically complex, frail patients.

We urge the Minister to take a serious look at the innovative approach that we are recommending. Support our call for
•    Clear treatment plans that are developed truly collaboratively with patients and the families, focusing on the patient, not on the disease; utilizing dedicated, trained facilitators
•    Treatment plans that are developed before initiating the treatment;
•    Treatment plans to be subsequently shared across the system between health care providers;
•    The development of universal access to palliative care in Ontario.

Our Presentation


Patients have a right to know everything about their complex conditions, and a right to participate in decisions about their own care. Research and experience show that by giving complex patients the opportunity to make truly informed decisions about their care, there will be less suffering and stress for patients and their care givers, and significant monetary savings for the health care system.

We, the undersigned, call on the Ontario Minister of Health and Long Term Care,  and the Northeast Local Health Integration Network, to  designate and fully support Sudbury's  Health Care System as a pilot site to test "Advanced Care Planning" across the local health care system.

 Les patientes et patients ont  le droit de tout savoir au sujet de leur état de santé complexe, et le droit de prendre part aux décisions qui concernent leurs soins. La recherche et l'expérience démontrent qu'en donnant  aux personnes aux besoins complexes l'occasion de prendre des décisions vraiment éclairées au sujet de leurs soins, il y aurait moins de souffrance et de stress tant pour les patients que pour leurs  aides familiaux, et d'importantes économies pourraient être réalisées pour le système de soins de santé.
Nous, les personnes sousignées, demandons au Ministre ontarien de la santé et des soins de longue durée ainsi qu'au Réseau local d'intégration des services de santé du Nord-Est de désigner le système de santé de Sudbury comme site pilote et de l'appuyer pleinement pour tester la "Planification  préalable des soins "  sur l'ensemble du système local de soins de santé.


Members and Volunteers with HAC have developed a brochure to provide a background for our goals. It is downloadable and printable. If you have the capability to print both sides you need to click "Flip Short Side". As well others have developed and used a Power Point presentation for use in putting forward the needs for Advanced Care Planning. Please feel free tto use these resources in spreading the message.

Some Useful Links and Resources
Dr. Zalan and other committee members have made and will continue to make public presentations on the topic of Advanced Care Planning. They will be posted here for review and education.
Dr. Peter Zalan
September 29, 2016
Dr. Peter Zalan
Northern Life
Oct. 21, 2016
Guide To Advance Care Planning
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BEING MORTAL - by Atul Gawande

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