Social Connection is Essential in Long-Term Care Homes

 

The Hover Green House, Longmont Colorado copied with permission

Currently there are over 40 Ontario LTC homes with one or more staff and/or residents affected by COVID-19. Over a year ago, there were nearly 4000 residents who died from this virus. We have come a long way since then! We now have residents double vaccinated and boosted, staff required to be vaccinated and we have learned that as the virus numbers rise, action needs to be taken immediately to help keep residents and staff safe.

And so, Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care just announced that residents will not be allowed to leave their home for social purposes and access to long-term care homes by general visitors will be paused but that designated caregivers may continue to enter long-term care homes. These visits by designated caregivers are so important for the residents as they struggle with loneliness and isolation. For more information click here.

In institutional type LTC homes where there are 32 bed-units often with two residents in a room and long hallways, the infection control measures that are put in place such as eating meals in residents’ bedrooms, and no scheduled activities, diminish the residents’ feelings of social connectedness leading to loneliness, depression, and isolation.  On the other hand, we know that in emotion-based models of care, social connectedness remains during viral outbreaks. These LTC homes have small homelike spaces for 10 – 12 residents, with common dining and living areas that are not closed to the residents.  The physical design of the emotion-based models provides an environment where the transmission of viruses is easier to contain.   Activities continue and residents feel like they are at home!

We urge you to do your part to bring an emotion-based model of care to long-term care homes in Ontario. Contact you MPP and make this a “ballot” issue in the upcoming provincial election!

 

One Reply to “Social Connection is Essential in Long-Term Care Homes”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Seniors need social connections to maintain their physical and mental health.
    Keep up your good work.

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