COVID-19: Hats Off to Long-Term Care Home Workers

Hats Off!

Across Canada, there is a group of health care workers, those working in long term care homes, who are placing their own lives at risk while they do all that they can to care for and protect their residents. Residents living in long term care homes are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and long term care homes are one of the toughest places to contain an outbreak. This is because the people who live there are elderly, often have compromised immune systems, and they live and socialize in close quarters –in some of the older homes, even 4 per room.

Long term care homes are now prohibiting visitors, which adds more stress to both residents and staff. Residents, who look forward to visits from family and friends, may experience feelings of isolation and loneliness and staff are not only concerned about their own health but also those in their care. As one staff member has said, “You don’t know who’s going to still be there the next day.”

However, there are some amazing stories that are now coming out about the creative ways that long term care workers are promoting social connectedness while keeping residents physically distant from one another.  Read more here.

Our hats go off to these wonderful, caring, compassionate health care workers. Thank you very much for everything you are doing to try and keep your residents safe and healthy!

Could Ontario’s long-term care home system be any more complicated?

There are 626 long-term care homes in Ontario (2019); of these, there are 3 categories:

For-Profit: 58%,   Not-for-Profit: 24%,   Municipal: 16%

What are the commonalities?

  • Funding: All 3 types are funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care through the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) based on the same formula.
    In addition: Municipalities can opt to top up funding for their homes through tax payers’ dollars.  Some of the other homes have either foundations or fundraising programs that can top up their funding for capital expenditures or program enhancement.
  • Admission/wait lists: All 3 types are subject to a central admission/wait list process controlled by the LHIN
  • Resident costs: In all 3 types, residents are required to contribute a co-payment for accommodation of basic ($1848.73), semi-private ($2,228.63) or private ($2640.78).  These costs are as of 2018 and there is a cost of living increase each July.  
  • LegislationAll 3 types are subject to the same standards, rules and regulations.    

 

What are the differences? 

  • Management:
  • The for-profit long-term care homes are managed by their corporate office through their Chief Executive Officers (CEO’s)
  • The not-for-profit long-term care homes are managed by a Board of Directors through their CEO’s
  • The municipal or city-run long-term care homes have a formal mechanism in place for their management through a committee of City Council and a staff director.   

Please note that unlike long-term care homes, retirement homes are not publicly funded and operate outside the domain of the long-term care home system.   More details here.  

Please comment on the blog if further clarifications are required. 

 

 

 

 

Will this ever end?

blog feb2020The recent CBC news article regarding a female resident in an Alberta nursing home who was abused before she died from dehydration and a urinary tract infection is appalling and should never happen in our health care system in Canada. Unfortunately, abusive incidents do occur and indicate yet again that traditional medical models of care in long-term care homes need to be changed.  Read more here.

Yes, our long-term care homes need to keep residents safe and comply with regulations but if person centered care was provided where residents matter and are considered to be a member of the family rather than a person to be “cared for”, then abuse would not occur.

The CBC news report says that the nursing home reported that “there was a shortage of staff and experience” and that “employees needed better education about nutrition, hydration and monitoring infections”. Yes, staff need to have that knowledge but surely it is more than that! Staff education and training is required in order to change the culture of care from one of “giving” care to a relationship based approach with the residents.

Innovative models of long-term care that are featured in this blog will do just that.

Please forward this post to your friends and colleagues and if you are on social media, please share with your followers.

Butterfly Approach takes flight!

Butterfly Approach launch at Miramichi Lodge

Here is an update on the exciting journey that Bonnechere Manor and Miramichi Lodge have begun in the implementation of the Butterfly model.

The Butterfly approach was pioneered over 20 years ago in the United Kingdom by Dementia Care Matters and over the past year or so has been adopted or emulated in a few long-term care homes in Ontario. It is a social model of care that shifts care from a traditional medical care approach to:
• Prioritising emotional care that is person centered
• Creating busy, filled up, engaging places that feel like ‘home’
• Providing relaxed, freed up comfortable environments
• Involving people in the running of their own home
• Emphasizing a more informal, best friends and family like approach.

Miramichi will start by focusing on a unit of 27 people and at Bonnechere Manor, a unit of 20 people. Eventually the Butterfly approach will be used throughout both homes.

“Long-term care homes are not a place where people go to stay; they are places where people go to live and that at the heart of long-term care must be family, friends, and community”.  Read more here.

Kudos to Renfrew County! Let’s hope that more long-term care homes will see the benefits of adopting an innovative approach to care.

Please forward this to others who may be interested and if you are on social media, share on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts.

An Insider’s Perspective in Verse

 

20blogPaulJan

Paul, who wrote this poem, has been residing in a long-term care home for two years due to a degenerative physical condition.  He has been waiting all this time for a transfer to his first choice of a long-term care home so that his husband of 38 years, who doesn’t drive, can visit him without having to travel by bus for several hours each time.  Paul now believes that, at this rate, it will take another 5 years or so before he can move to the home of his choice.   This is just heartbreaking.

IN LONG-TERM CARE   (in the style of John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields”)
By Paul Gregory Leroux

The wait lists longer daily grow
And move excruciating slow;
We seniors have no place to go
For long-term care.

We only ask for our fair share;
But the resources aren’t there,
No room for seniors anywhere
In long-term care.

Our parents fought the war and won;
Our battle’s only just begun,
As Baby Boomers now they shun
From long-term care.

We, it seems, no longer matter.
Politicians just get fatter,
As our dreams they blithely shatter
While we despair.

Bereft of dignity and pride,
We have no hope left deep inside,
As if already we had died.
The only thing we haven’t tried
Is mass assisted suicide.
But do we dare?

More about Paul’s journey to appear in a future blog post.

Please forward this post to your contacts OR share on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page.

 

 

Meaningful Care Matters: Free To Be Me

Making Moments Matter at The Glebe Centre:    20GlebephotoJan7blogpost

No More Beige! 

An update from the Glebe Centre (Ottawa) :  Although the team from Meaningful Care Matters (formerly Dementia Care Matters) observed many exceptional moments of care, there were indeed areas that needed improvement and did not follow a person-centered model of care.

This will be our journey over the next year, to transform and re-think care on Bankwood (one of the care units at the Center) from a neutral/task based model of care to a person-centered, house-hold model of care.

Meaningful Care Matters has sent an extensive, formal report with recommendations on making meaningful change.

An audit was completed on the physical space on Bankwood and recommendations for change and transformation.  Over the last few months we have started to create a relaxed home-like feel to the day with less task orientated activities and more emphasis on the people living and working on Bankwood.

We have begun the process to re-design Bankwood to be more welcoming and intimate, filling the house with the “stuff of life” so that residents can connect with a variety of colours and objects that reflect their past lives, work and hobbies.  And staff training begins this month!

Person-centered care is front and foremost as Bankwood undergoes change and transformation!  Please forward this blog post to at least one other contact you know who may be interested.

And please encourage others to become followers by clicking on the button on the right hand side of this post.

The Village Langley: Four Months Old and Growing!

19BlogVillageLangleyDec

Instead of building homes in which people feel homeless, let’s build communities where people belong”. Sonya Barsness.

In June, 2019, Canada’s first Dementia Village opened. The Village’s design was inspired by Hogewey, the world’s first dementia village, in The Netherlands. Langley will become home to 78 people with dementia housed in six cottages. Care will be provided by 72 specially trained staff.

After 4 months, Langley has admitted 38 residents, one couple, and more residents are being added from its wait list every week.

  • Two cottages are full and two more are at 50% capacity.
  • The General Store is stocked and open for shoppers (pet food is popular).
  • Elroy’s Cafe & Bistro is open for baking, lunch, coffee or a cold beer.
  • The kitchen is the centre of activity and the smells permeate the house and stimulate the senses and appetite of the residents. Residents are involved in the daily food prep, plating and cleanup to the best of their abilities.
  • Residents have created their own Newspaper complete with real and imagined stories and clippings contributed by each household member.
  • Music is also important to the residents playing instruments when able to express their own particular interests.

The Village is about doing things differently. It is about putting the interests and needs of the residents first and making each house a home.

Although the Village Langley in British Columbia is privately owned and will not be affordable to all, we hope that this kind of innovation will influence others to bring culture change to their own long-term care homes.

Please forward this link to your friends, colleagues and your local city councillors, MPs or MPPs.