The Central West LHIN plans, integrates, funds and monitors the local health care system. Recognizing the health needs of local communities are best understood by those who live and work in them, the LHIN goes about its work in collaboration with a host of Health Service Providers (HSPs), community partners and local residents.
The importance of community engagement is outlined within the Local Health Systems Integration Act (LHSIA) 2006, which states:
"A local health integration network shall engage the community of diverse persons and entities involved with the local health system about that system on an ongoing basis, including about the integrated health service plan and while setting priorities” (c. 4, s. 16 (1)) CE was established as a core function of the LHINs, with the understanding that regional planning is a more appropriate method for assessing and interpreting the local needs of a community. CE needs to be purposeful, accessible and its products transparent to the public and LHIN decision makers."
Community Engagement | The methods by which the Central West LHIN and HSPs interact, share and gather information from and with stakeholders. The purpose of community engagement is to inform, educate, consult, involve and empower stakeholders in both health care or health service planning and decision-making processes, so as to improve the health care system. Community engagement activities can be ongoing or project specific, outbound or inbound.
Community| Section 16.2 of the Local Health System Integration Act - 2006 defines “Community” as patients and other individuals in the geographic area of the network, HSPs, and any other person or entity that provides services in or for the local health system, as well as employees involved in the local health system.
Stakeholders | Individuals, communities, political entities or organizations that have a vested interest in the outcomes of the initiative. They are either affected by, or can have an effect on, the project. Anyone whose interests may be positively or negatively impacted by the project, or anyone that may exert influence over the project or its results is considered a project stakeholder. All stakeholders must be identified and managed/involved appropriately.
Obligation to Engage (of Health Service Providers) | Although the Central West LHIN is responsible for adequately engaging local communities, the responsibility is also shared by those agencies funded by LHIN to provide health care services. Section 16.6 of the Local Health System Integration Act 2006 outlines the requirement of LHIN-funded agencies to conduct community engagement in the planning and setting of priorities for the health services they provide.
Tools and Resources
- Engaging People - Improving Care | This website is a community engagement resource for Ontario’s health care system. It offers many tools and other resources to help you think about engaging the community.