Long-term care home system: a ray of hope on the horizon

The Ontario government is currently reviewing and revising the LTC Act.  Now is the time to ensure that the Residents’ Bill of Rights is no longer violated.

This new legislation ‘will look fundamentally at what the foundation of long-term care needs to be in Ontario” and respond to recommendations from Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission and others.

While all the recommendations in the Commission’s Report merit implementation, the following two recommendations are critical and need to be included in the revised LTC Act:

  • Ensure that family members are never denied access to their loved ones in long-term care homes (recommendation #31), and
  • Recognize the need for a transformative culture change using an emotion-based approach to care where residents, staff and families feel part of a community and are treated with dignity and respect; where there are small home home-like environments, where there is adequate, full-time, well-paid staff, who are trained in empathy and culture change and where family members are integral members of the team (recommendation #58)

Please encourage the Ontario Government to do the right thing and bring transformative culture change to long-term care homes in Ontario.  Write to your MPP or to your City Councillor, or write a letter to the editor, or any other action that you think will help to promote a quality, dignified life for our seniors living in long-term care homes.

 

Will the Ontario government finally clean up its Act! continued…..

 

As noted in the previous blog post, the Ontario Government has long fallen short in meeting the existing Residents’ Bill of Rights (which falls within the Act).   Here are several more aspects of the Bill where expectations aren’t being met and where implementing an emotion-based model of care would meet those expectations:

  • Every resident has the right to live in a safe and clean environment. Transformative culture change to an emotion-based model of care would make this happen.
  • Every resident who is dying or who is very ill has the right to have family and friends present 24 hours per day. A culture change to an emotion-based model of care would ensure this happens.
  • Every resident has the right to receive personal care that accommodates physical, medical, emotional, and social needs. To succeed, we need a culture change to a resident-centered, emotion-based model of care.
  • Every resident has the right to receive assistance towards independence based on a restorative care philosophy to maximize independence to the greatest extent possible. An emotion-based model of care is needed.
  • Every resident has the right to have his or her lifestyle choices respected. Transformative culture change is needed to ensure this happens.

The urgent need for this transformative culture change cannot be repeated enough!  Already this issue seems to be disappearing from the Ontario Government’s radar.

We urge you to do your part to bring an emotion-based model of care to long-term care homes in Ontario. Write to your MPP or to your City Councillor, or write a letter to the editor, or any other action that you think will help to promote a quality, dignified life for our seniors living in long-term care homes.

If we don’t speak up for our seniors who will?

 

Will the Ontario Government finally clean up its “Act”!

 

It has been decades since any stripe of government has paid heed to or lived by the fundamental principle in the Ontario Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 and Regulation 79/10 (which came into force in July 2010):  i.e. “[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.”

 Supposedly the Ontario Government is in the process of proposing changes to the Act by the fall 2021.

The Government has long fallen short in meeting the existing Residents’ Bill of Rights (which falls within the Act).   Implementing an emotion-based model of care would meet those expectations:

Every resident has the right to be properly sheltered, fed, clothed, groomed and cared for in a manner consistent with his/her needs.  A culture change to an emotion-based model of care would make this happen.

  • Every LTC resident has the right to NOT be neglected by the licensee or by the staff. Transformative culture change to an emotion-based model of care would ensure no LTC resident is ever neglected.
  • Every LTC resident has the right to be protected from abuse. Transformative culture change to an emotion-based model of care would make sure no LTC resident is ever abused.
  • Every LTC resident has the right to be treated with courtesy and respect, in a way that recognizes their individuality and respects their dignity. A culture change to an emotion-based model of care is a MUST.

Please do your part to bring emotion-based model of care to long-term care homes in Ontario. Write to your MPP or to your City Councillor, or write a letter to the editor, or any other action that you think will help to promote a quality, dignified life for our seniors living in long-term care homes.

 

The Ontario Government Needs to Take Action NOW!

 

Malton Village, The Toronto Star June22, 2018

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. Highlighted here are the remaining three areas of the Report.

Person-centred care: Human Rights Code, the Long-Term Care Act and Residents Bill of Rights: With years of neglect, sweeping reforms are needed in our long-term care homes to protect residents and provide a quality of life. The Report highlights person-centred care but In order to provide person centred care, all the residents’ needs should be assessed and respected including lifestyle choices, diversity and emotional needs. (Recommendations: #29, #37, #38)

Staffing issues:  A severe staffing shortage and a work force poorly trained with few infection control measures compounded the COVID-19 situation. All the staffing recommendations in the Report are important. There is an urgent need for skilled staff but recommendations are not explicit enough in what training is required. Person-centred care requires staff to have emotion-based training. Recruitment and hiring practices need to be addressed. Staff recruitment should assess the attributes of emotional intelligence, empathy, compassion. All staff and students should have experience in settings where new models of care are being provided. Most importantly, there needs to be commitment from leadership to promote person-centred care practices.  (Recommendations: #40, #41, #42, #49)

Design Standards: Poor facility design and resident overcrowding heightened sickness and death in long-term care homes, with nearly 4,000 residents and 11 staff dying of COVID-19. All the design manual recommendations are important but alternative person-centred models and provision of incentives in order to create smaller home-like units needs to be included.  (Recommendations #61 and #64)

Transformative culture change is needed in our long-term care homes. Please send a letter to your MPP encouraging the government to take action NOW on the recommendations in this Report.

Will You Make a Difference?

Sherbrooke Village Long-Term Care Home

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.

Transformative Culture Change: C.A.R.P. Ottawa’s Brief

 

C.A.R.P Ottawa recently submitted its Brief to the Independent Long-term Care COVID-19 Commission and has requested an interview with the Commissioners. 

Its recommendation is that the Ontario Government bring about transformative culture change in its LTC homes by ensuring an incremental approach according to specific timelines and targets.  Accountability structures to be put in place for every long-term care home in order to adopt one of the existing innovative models of care. Staff and volunteers (working conditions; recruitment and retention), education/training, infrastructure, inspections, and families/caregivers are all critical elements of transformative culture change that need to be reformed.

The implementation of transformative culture change in Ontario’s LTC homes will require the Provincial Government to:

Demonstrate the leadership and commitment necessary to implement transformative culture change in Ontario’s LTC home system by adopting one of the four innovative models of transformative culture change.

Implement the recommendations of the Ontario Ministry’s Long-term Care Staffing Study including the allocation of necessary resources to providers of LTC homes.

Revise the Design Manual for LTC homes to achieve transformative culture change – small, home-like environments, single and double rooms with private bathrooms, and shorten the timeline for the requirement for homes to meet the most recent design standards.

Utilize reports from LTC home inspections and data to guide timely improvements to the Ontario LTC home system and to support providers of LTC homes in utilization of data.

Assert the role and value of families and caregivers as part of the community in the home through timely and up-to-date communication protocols, particularly when a crisis such as the current pandemic occurs and require the same of LTC home providers.

If you support C.A.R.P. Ottawa’s recommendation for a transformative culture change in Ontario’s long-term care homes, please contact your local MPP and make your view known or write directly to Ontario’s Independent Long-term Care COVID-19 Commission at info@LTCcommission-commissionSLD.ca.

#ChangeLTCNow!

The clock is ticking!

image

Increasing the number of direct care hours for residents in long-term care homes has been in the news! On Oct. 28, the Time to Care bill passed the second reading in the Ontario legislature. If the bill passes third reading, it will amend Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes Act to put in place a minimum staffing level sufficient to provide four hours of personal support and nursing care per resident per day.  Then on November 2nd,  Premier Doug Ford announced that “thousands and thousands” of nurses and personal support workers will be hired as Ontario moves to an average of four hours of hands-on care daily for nursing-home residents. However, the Premier said, it will take four years to reach that level for hiring and training to occur.

While four years is a long time, this is a first big step in addressing the need for more staff who provide hands on care!   Providing more hours of direct care and more staff is a no brainer and experts have been advocating for this for some time. But should long-term care homes just focus on filling new staff positions or is it time to look at how care is delivered and then look at hiring appropriate staff?

Transformative culture care means, supporting a shift from institutional to home-like environments. It means requiring facilities, old and new, to create an environment that supports a culture of person-centred care, having shared living spaces and private bathrooms. It also means recruiting staff and volunteers who exhibit emotional intelligence, empathy, compassion, have a willingness and ability to learn new approaches and work as a team. Then a training program, that supports person-centered care, needs to be available, not as a streamed video learning program but as an in-person, mentored learning approach. The approach needs to be embraced by the leadership team and then modeled for all staff and volunteers!

If you are interested in bringing transformative culture change to Ontario’s long-term care homes, please write directly to Ontario’s Independent Long-term Care COVID-19 Commission at info@LTCcommission-commissionSLD.ca

What is Transformative Culture Change Anyway?

What is transformative culture change and what does it mean?

The Independent Long-term Care (LTC) COVID-19 Commission has now been established. Terms of Reference have been posted. What can we hope for? The easiest solution for the Independent Commission is to make recommendations that should have been instituted long ago: more staff: full time staff versus casual staff; more direct hours of care; fair salaries; infection control education and practices, elimination of four bed rooms and availability of air conditioning. If this is the end result, then our government has failed. Long-term care is a broken system and if the Independent Commission wants to make any significant impact, then it needs to look at how to improve quality care in LTC homes with a transformative culture change.

This means revising rules and regulations, moving from institutional care to areas with small home-like environments, embracing the valuable contribution that families and volunteers make, hire staff who want to work with seniors, and look at delivery of person-centred care. All this happens now in a few LTC homes across Canada. We call them innovative models of care but they should be the norm not something unusual. CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) Ottawa Chapter, along with collaborating organizations, is advocating for transformative culture change in long-term care homes.

Transformative culture change means the way of organizing, and giving care in long term care homes changes so that residents know and feel like they are living in a warm, caring environment that looks and feels like home. It enables staff to know who their residents and families are – and what their life was like before. It means schedules and routines are flexible to match the resident’s preferences and needs. Friendships develop between staff, residents, families and volunteers. It means residents are involved in many meaningful activities according to their abilities and what brings them joy. Transformative culture change means Relationships, Relationships, Relationships!

Excerpt from an article written by Sue McDonald, a member of CARP Ottawa Advocacy Working Group on Long-term Care

If you are interested in bringing transformative culture change to Ontario’s long-term care homes, please write directly to Ontario’s Independent Long-term Care COVID-19 Commission at info@LTCcommission-commissionSLD.ca

Let’s Fix the Culture Around Long-Term Care Homes

Why does it take an outbreak to put long-term care homes back in the news? The news of the latest outbreak in a long-term care home is a stark reminder that residents in long-term care homes have been, and still are, vulnerable to this terrible pandemic. The need for change in long-term care is patently obvious.

Although measures to deal with staffing are critical to fix the immediate problem, there is a greater need to fix the culture of long-term care homes for the longer term. This can be done. CARP Ottawa is working with other organizations in Ontario to bring about transformative culture change in Ontario’s long-term care homes through a grassroots movement.

An independent commission set up by the province to investigate how and why COVID-19 spread in long-term care homes, what was done to prevent the spread, and the impact of key elements of the existing system on the spread has begun its work. We should all follow the work of this commission with great interest. And we should all make our voices heard to make sure the changes recommended are truly transformative.

Elizabeth Spence, Letter to the Editor, Ottawa Citizen, September 26/20

If you are interested in helping to bring about transformative culture change to Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes, please either write a letter to the editor in your local paper or write directly to the Commission. You can write to them at info@LTCcommission-commissionSLD.ca

Please share this post with your contacts or anyone else you know who might be interested.

Please use #ChangeLTCNow when sharing on social media

 

#CHANGELTCNOW!

As you know we are working with CARP Ottawa to bring about transformative culture change in Ontario’s long-term care homes through a grassroots movement.  To this end we have asked the members of CARP Ottawa and its collaborating organizations in Ontario to send an email to their own local MPP’s about this matter.  We would like to ask you, our blog followers, to do the same.

Thank you to all the blog followers and friends who responded to our last request by sending letters to Minister Fullerton to recommend that CARP Ottawa be appointed to the Independent Commission on Long-term Care.

In the end, only three individuals were appointed to the newly named Independent Long-term Care COVID-19 Commission – Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco, Angela Coke and Dr. Jack Kitts. Now it is even more imperative to bring awareness and influence regarding this change to not only the Commissioners but also to our local politicians. 

Here’s How YOU Can Help

Send the email below to your own local MPP (contact info here) and copy your local mayor or city councillor (contact info here). Personalize the email with your own words on the need for culture change in Ontario’s long-term care home system. Or if you and your family have been affected by the COVID-19 virus, describe the impact it had on you.     

Copy us at our email changeltcnow@gmail.com We’d like to know how many of you are still interested.

Subject line: CARP Ottawa calls for transformative culture change in Ontario’s long-term care homes.

Email:

As a member of your constituency and someone who is very concerned about the long-term care home system in Ontario, I would like to express my support for Ontario’s Independent Long-term Care COVID-19 Commission.  However, I believe strongly that a transformative culture change is needed to fix the systemic failings apparent in these homes. 

I agree with Minister Fullerton and Premier Ford who have said on many occasions, “We have been clear the long-term care home system in Ontario is broken.”  Now we must fix it.

There are new models of care that exist in the U.S., Europe and even in Ontario, which have embraced the same guiding principles: a relationship-based approach to care; person and family-centred care; small home-like environments; higher staff to resident ratio; full time, well-paid staff who are trained in empathy and culture change and an environment where residents, staff and families feel a part of a community.

These new models have all embraced transformative culture change and have achieved much better outcomes than our traditional homes in Ontario.  We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. 

These outcomes include a decrease in the use of medications, in the number of aggressive incidents, in the number of hospital visits, in the amount of food waste and staff sick time, all the while increasing positive interactions with staff, families and residents.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete”.  Buckminster Fuller. 

My request is that you bring this urgent need for a transformative culture change in Ontario’s long-term care homes to the attention of Minister Fullerton and Premier Ford. If you would like more details on the existing models or this kind of culture change, please contact CARP Ottawa at changeltcnow@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you.

Your name…

What does transformative culture change mean for: Infrastructure

Keys

Many LTC (Long-term Care) homes in Ontario are old and outdated with some residents living four to a room and sharing one bathroom.

  • Support shift from institutional to home-like environments.
  • Require facilities (existing and new) to create an environment that supports a culture of person-centred care, shared living spaces, and private bedrooms.
  • Shorten provincial timelines for requirement of homes to meet most recent standards for LTC building design.

What does transformative culture change mean for: Inspections

  • Use cumulative reports of LTC home inspections and data to guide timely improvements in Ontario’s provincial LTC system. Engage family councils, residents, families and front-line staff in this process.
  • Evolve the role of LTC inspectors to that of compliance advisors or resource persons who foster a partnership between government funders and providers of care.

What does transformative culture change mean for: Families/caregivers

  • Value, support, recognize and respect families and caregivers as part of the community in the home.
  • Activate timely and up-to-date communication protocols between families and LTC homes when a crisis occurs.
  • Support and help maintain family-resident relationships when a crisis occurs.

If you have any questions, please contact us