Ontario’s Long-term Care COVID-19 Commission made 85 recommendations that need to be enacted in order to keep residents and staff safe in future viral outbreaks. The recommendations were divided into five areas but the quote that sets the tone of their report and directs all leaders in government and LTC homes is this:
“Leaders at every level must put their hearts, as well as their minds into reimagining the care of the elderly in this province. This will require a philosophy of care that is anchored in respect, compassion and kindness for the people who live and work in long-term care. It is not just about building more homes. There needs to be a transformation to a person-centred care model, which motivates different behaviours and rewards innovation that leads to better outcomes for residents and staff.” (Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission Report p. 24)
In calling for Transformative Culture Change, the Independent Commission recognized that alternate models of care that had smaller home-like units had fewer viral outbreaks. (Recommendations #58 and #61) Currently, we have over 11 such models of care in Ontario in both profit and non-profit LTC homes that can provide information and guidance to the over 600 institutional LTC homes in Ontario!
All the recommendations regarding family/caregivers are important. Family members/caregivers need to be engaged in the process and have access to their loved ones. (Recommendations #5, #9, #30, #31, #75).Safe in-person access and regular remote visits during viral outbreaks, increased communication with families/caregivers during this time and anytime are very important. In transformative culture change environments, family members/caregivers are integral members of the team!
The Commissioners did their part and shone a light on the terrible circumstances in our LTC homes. Now you can play a role by contacting your MPP with the above information. You can make a difference! Please send a letter to your MPP encouraging the government to take action NOW on the recommendations in this Report.