Increasing older adults’ access to care: Lessons learned from the pandemic response


Sara Bhatti - Research and Policy Analyst, Alliance for Healthier Communities
Alvis Choi - Program Coordinator, Yet Keen Seniors’ Day Centre (Somerset West Community Health Centre)

Date: Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

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Older adults are a diverse and growing population in Ontario, often with greater healthcare and social support needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these needs have only increased and so has the risk of social isolation. As a result, many Community Health Centres (CHCs), which are comprehensive primary health care organizations in Ontario, responded rapidly to try to provide safe and accessible services to marginalized older adults.

In this webinar, Sara Bhatti of the Alliance for Healthier Communities and Alvis Choi of Yet Keen Seniors’ Day Centre describe specific responses taken by CHCs to address the needs of older adults during the pandemic.

Sara Bhatti explores the delivery of virtual care by CHCs during the pandemic and its implications for older adults. Virtual care, defined in simplest terms as receiving care remotely, has the ability to both increase and decrease access to primary health care. It is therefore crucial to understand how to implement virtual care with a specific lens on health equity.

Sara’s presentation looks at:

  • how virtual delivery of care was implemented by CHCs
  • the challenges CHCs faced during this implementation
  • the experiences of older adults who received virtual care.

Alvis Choi describes an evolving process of supporting a population of racialized seniors through the pandemic. Alvis shares:

  • the specific challenges and barriers that the Chinese-speaking seniors at Yet Keen face
  • the approaches and strategies that have been practiced in understanding and meeting the needs of this community.

About the Presenters

Sara Bhatti (she/her) is the Research and Policy Analyst at the Alliance for Healthier Communities. Her work revolves around coordinating research projects led by or in partnership with the Alliance, which are typically focused on primary care models, integrated care, social determinants of health, and health equity. Prior to coming to the Alliance, Sara was a research coordinator at Rexdale Community Health Centre. Sara holds a Master in Public Health, specializing in social inequities and health, and qualitative research.

Alvis Choi (they/them) is the Program Coordinator of Yet Keen Seniors’ Day Centre, a program of Somerset West Community Health Centre. Prior to this commitment, Alvis worked with various marginalized communities to promote racial justice, affordable healthcare, and labour equity. From 2015-2017, Alvis was appointed as the Chairperson of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter. They are a collective member of Marvellous Grounds, a project that seeks to document and create space to vision the ways that QTBIPOC (queer and trans Black, Indigenous and people of colour) create communities, innovate projects and foster connections, and have also been involved with the work of Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network) since 2015. Alvis holds a Master in Environmental Studies with a research focus on Performance as Pedagogy and Community Transformation.

Sara Bhatti Headshot

Sara Bhatti


Alvis Choi Headshot

Alvis Choi

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