Will the Government bring change to Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes?

Members of C.A.R.P. Ottawa’s Advocacy Working Group on Long-Term Care presented to the Independent Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission on November 26th, 2020.  

The purpose was to explain how transformative culture change, an emotion-based model of care, would not only improve the quality of life for residents, families and staff in Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes but would also help to mitigate the impact of future viruses.  

Key points presented were as follows:

-The fundamental principles of transformative culture change are consistent with the principles outlined in Ontario’s Long-Term Care Act which states:

“A long-term care home is primarily the home of its residents and is to be operated so that it is a place where they may live with dignity and security, safety and comfort and have their physical, psychological, social, spiritual and cultural needs adequately met.”

Despite many new regulations and many millions of dollars spent on education and new programs, it is obvious these principles have not been adequately met – for decades.

Transformative culture change is a philosophy that uses an emotion-based approach to care where residents, staff and families feel part of a community and are all treated with dignity and respect: where there are small home-like environments; more direct hours of care for residents, where staff work full-time, are well-paid and are trained in empathy and culture change and where families and caregivers are recognized as an integral part of the team.  Staffing, inspections, design and family involvement are all critical elements of transformative culture change

-There are four innovative long-term care models that have successfully embraced transformative culture change.  These models have existed for years in the USA, Europe, the U.K. and more recently in parts of Canada and even Ontario:  The Butterfly Model, The Eden Alternative, The Green House Project and the Hogewey Villages. These homes have experienced better outcomes than our traditional homes both pre and during COVID-19. 

The “ask”: That the Commission recommend the Ontario Government commit to move towards transformative culture change in Ontario’s Long-Term Care homes.   This commitment could start by examining the long-term care homes that have already embraced this model of care to determine best practices and lessons learned, including how they have managed financially within current budgets and the current legislation.  This commitment could also include revisiting the new builds that are being fast-tracked to ensure Ontario does not end up with the same old institutional designs, that once built, will be with us for the next 3 decades.

We know this can be done since it is being done right here in Ontario, right now.  These innovative models are being led by a few who have taken the leap and the risk to improve the lives of residents, families and staff.  There are currently 11 long-term care homes in Ontario that have either implemented or launched the Butterfly Model of Care resulting in transformative culture change. 

Anyone wishing to support Transformative Culture Change in Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes can send an email to info@LTCcommission-CommissionSLD.ca

For more information on the Commission www.ltccommission-commissionsld.ca

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