“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes an existing model obsolete”
R. Buckminster Fuller
Just imagine if politicians understood what quality of life looks like for persons living in long-term care homes! Well, now you can see this for yourself.
Click on the video below and view between the 3:04 and 5:30 minute mark.
Below are the innovative models highlighted on our blog. While each model possesses unique features, the fundamental elements integral to all of them are the development of relationships between staff and residents and their families and the caring that embraces kindness and compassion. For more details on any of the models below, please scroll down our blog site.
Hogeway Dementia Village, from Holland (this model has been implemented in Ontario, Alberta, and in progress in British Columbia)
Eden Alternative: Over 300 homes in the USA and globally, 7 in Eastern/Central Canada and 1 in Saskatchewan (Sherbrooke Village in Saskatoon).
Green House: 242 homes in 32 states in the USA with 150 more in various stages of development.
Schlegel Villages in Ontario, 19 villages in Ontario
Butterfly Care Home: Over 100 Butterfly Homes in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and Canada – 7 in Alberta & 1 in Ontario with more promised.
All of us, whether we are family members, health care workers, or just interested citizens, can advocate for change in a system that needs to be changed. With the Ontario municipal elections behind us, we have an opportunity to influence the 2019 priorities that will be set in the coming weeks in communities across the province. You can start by contacting your local councillor and/or Mayor. Please share your advocacy ideas under the comments section of this blog.
“I recently met a group at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. We spent time in front of the controversial Chagall painting that was to be sold abroad. The auction was stopped due to public outcry. The result? The painting was returned to the walls of the National Gallery
One of the group remarked on the freedoms Canadians enjoy, such as voicing an opinion, being heard and respected. This comment got me wondering: Why is there no public outcry about our long-term care (LTC) homes in Ontario? How do we change our apathy, demand not just an incremental change but for a change in the model of delivery?
We must exercise our privileged right to be heard. Our most fragile and vulnerable population deserves our outrage. Address your concerns to your new city councillors and your MPPs.”
Submitted by Rose Ann, a caregiver (Rose Ann is pictured above with her spouse, Ron, who has since passed away)
It looks like Peel Region’s initiative is continuing to have a positive influence. First the City of Toronto followed suit and now Primacare Living has decided to bring the Butterfly Program to St Catherines, Brampton, London, and near Hamilton according to the October 24th Toronto Star article.
Could we be on a roll? If so, why is nothing happening in Brantford, Ottawa, Kingston, North Bay and other cities in Ontario?
And as we have highlighted in previous posts, it does not necessarily have to be the Butterfly Model! Moira Welsh, the Star reporter, did research on other innovative models and stated “The Green House Project and Eden Alternative – both created by American Geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas – share similar philosophies that favour small homes, social interaction and friendships between staff and people in their care.”
Let’s get going folks! Now that the Municipal Elections are over in some provinces, you can send letters asking Mayors and City Councillors to champion transformation in one of the long-term care homes in your region.
You can help by sharing our blog with your contacts and encouraging them to be followers. Also, please share on your Facebook/Twitter accounts if you have them.
Sherbrooke Community Centre Nursing Home in Saskatoon is the home to 263 high-needs residents. It’s also the site of an intergenerational school. Every year, after winning a city-wide lottery, a batch of sixth graders ditch the traditional classroom and spend a year attending school at Sherbrooke. Listen to this story from CBC’s Sunday Morning radio show here.
At Sherbrooke, there are no classrooms, no desks, and no blackboards. Students get together with their teachers in the chapel in the morning and again at noon, but the rest of the time they are free to go where they want, and sit with anyone they feel like talking to. The school is a life-changing experience for the elders as much as it is for the kids.
“If we didn’t see the kids, we would just be a bunch of old people in this building, and that is stark and it’s ugly. Without the kids, I just feel that a part of me dies,” one resident says.
In western Canada, Sherbrooke Community Centre Nursing Home is the first care home to register as an Eden Alternative ® home.
Another innovative model for us to consider….
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Betty is a past caregiver whose husband lived in a long-term care home. She decided to increase awareness for innovation in our long-term care home system by organizing a panel at her church through the JOY (just older youth) program.
When asked “Do you think transforming our long-term care home system should be a municipal election issue”, the overwhelming response was “yes” (75 people).
If you agree, here is a draft letter you can personalize and send to those running in your ward on October 22nd. Names and emails of candidates in Ontario wards can be found by searching “certified candidates for 2018 municipal election in (insert city name)”. There are only a few weeks left to plant these seeds.
If you are new to our blog, scroll down to learn about the Butterfly model that transformed a unit in one of the Region of Peel’s long-term care homes.
Please share this with your contacts and/or on your Facebook or Twitter accounts.
“After many years of accessing services in the community, I finally had to place Stewart into a long-term care home. My husband was among those least compliant. A different environment could have made an incredible difference. Even with all the improvements that are being promised, long-term care homes remain a desperate last resort for the loved ones of exhausted caregivers. My long-term care home experience led me to firmly believe we need an innovative model.
Your blog presents compelling evidence that can change the way care is delivered in the final years. I fervently hope that I will have a better option. Thanks for your hard work to change the way care is delivered in long-term care homes. It is very important. Anything less is not going to make a substantive difference.”
Our blog has now highlighted 4 innovative models – the Butterfly Model, The Eden Alternative, The Green House and the Hogeway Villages. All have been shown to enhance the quality of life for residents, families and staff.
If you agree with Judith, please make this a municipal election issue in your region by urging the candidates running in your Ward to champion innovation in long-term care homes – either by attending all candidates meetings or by sending those running in your municipalities a letter or email. Search for “certified candidates for 2018 municipal elections in your city “(i.e. Hamilton, Brantford, Kingston, Ottawa etc.)
And please share this with all your contacts and ask them to become “followers” of our blog too – to show support for this initiative.
Toronto council has voted unanimously to bring change to city-run nursing homes with new programming that promises to improve the lives of seniors with dementia. This change is similar to the work recently done in a Peel Region-operated dementia unit where residents, who once spent days staring at the floor, came back to life through friendship with staff trained in empathy-focused care. Read more here.
At the St. John’s Green House home in Penfield N.Y., residents eat together at a communal table. The Green House project focuses on residents’ emotional and social well-being.
If you want to see innovative models of long-term care homes introduced in your community: One of the followers of our blog sent us some ideas on how we can influence our own local politicians, especially in light of the upcoming October 22nd Ontario municipal elections. See below for her suggestions:
We are not talking about high tech solutions
We are talking about low tech, low cost solutions
Solutions to what?
Solutions to our broken institutional long-term care homes.
If you want our vote
You must not be afraid to change the culture in these homes
You must allow residents to engage in meaningful activities
If you want our vote.
Thousands more beds are being allocated to long-term care
Now is the time to lead others in an innovative social model
A model in which you and your family would be happy to live
If you want our vote.
Residents with dementia living in our long-term care homes deserve a better quality of life. Please take just a few minutes to help these residents by sending an email or making a phone call to your local councillors or mayors.
And please click on the “follow” our blog button to provide more support to our cause and share with your own contacts.