The clock is ticking!

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Increasing the number of direct care hours for residents in long-term care homes has been in the news! On Oct. 28, the Time to Care bill passed the second reading in the Ontario legislature. If the bill passes third reading, it will amend Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes Act to put in place a minimum staffing level sufficient to provide four hours of personal support and nursing care per resident per day.  Then on November 2nd,  Premier Doug Ford announced that “thousands and thousands” of nurses and personal support workers will be hired as Ontario moves to an average of four hours of hands-on care daily for nursing-home residents. However, the Premier said, it will take four years to reach that level for hiring and training to occur.

While four years is a long time, this is a first big step in addressing the need for more staff who provide hands on care!   Providing more hours of direct care and more staff is a no brainer and experts have been advocating for this for some time. But should long-term care homes just focus on filling new staff positions or is it time to look at how care is delivered and then look at hiring appropriate staff?

Transformative culture care means, supporting a shift from institutional to home-like environments. It means requiring facilities, old and new, to create an environment that supports a culture of person-centred care, having shared living spaces and private bathrooms. It also means recruiting staff and volunteers who exhibit emotional intelligence, empathy, compassion, have a willingness and ability to learn new approaches and work as a team. Then a training program, that supports person-centered care, needs to be available, not as a streamed video learning program but as an in-person, mentored learning approach. The approach needs to be embraced by the leadership team and then modeled for all staff and volunteers!

If you are interested in bringing transformative culture change to Ontario’s long-term care homes, please write directly to Ontario’s Independent Long-term Care COVID-19 Commission at info@LTCcommission-commissionSLD.ca

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