Happily Ever Older: Revolutionary Approaches to Long-Term Care by author Moira Welsh was published and released in February 2021. It provides a welcomed breath of fresh air in illustrating the successes of various innovative models (such as the Butterfly effect, the Eden Alternative, the Greenhouse project, and the Dutch model – Hogewey) that bring transformative culture change to long-term care homes abroad, in the United States, and in Canada.
A common theme throughout the implementation of these models is leadership. “Nothing on the frontline changes without a cultural shift that is embraced, nourished, and demanded, starting at the top. Without that shift, and it’s a dramatic one, transformation will not succeed.”
What is long overdue is a government that has the political will and leadership ability to bring such change to Ontario’s long-term care home system. Even in light of the tragic consequences the pandemic has brought to the forefront, the Ontario Government still seems paralyzed and has yet to officially respond to the Independent Long-term care Covid-19 Commission’s recommendations. If it doesn’t seize the moment now to implement these recommendations, we risk yet another abyss of neglect in caring for the elderly in our long-term care homes. Already this issue seems to be falling off the radar of the Ontario Government.
The implementation of the Eden Alternative at Sherbrooke Village in Saskatoon was made possible due to the exemplary leadership of CEO, Suellen Beatty. “Beatty may be the face of Sherbrooke but she is adamant that its success relies on a team approach. ‘I never did anything by myself……It has to be a leadership style that is warm and inviting. That can inspire people, and you have to have a really compelling why. Why are we doing this?”
Happily Ever Older is an upbeat book offering hope that meaningful change in our long-term care home system is possible. The book should be compulsory reading for every politician (at any level) and every provider/operator of a long-term care home.
Examples of kind expressions of humanity towards residents in these innovative long-term care homes and other gems are woven throughout the book and are delightful. We will feature some of these in upcoming blog posts.
Please make the time now to write to your MPP and/or your city councillor to help make this meaningful change happen.