COVID brutally exposed the problems that have plagued Ontario’s long-term care system for decades: inadequate facilities, lack of proper staffing, lack of inspections and infection control and above all, an obsolete model of care that robs residents of dignity and respect, giving them (and their families) little or no voice in their own care.
This goes beyond bricks and mortar, or even more staffing. What we need is a total transformation in the culture of how long-term care is provided.
It shouldn’t be an impossible dream. There are a number of innovative models, already embraced in the USA, Europe and Australia (and even in a handful of homes right here in Ontario itself). These include the Eden Alternative, the Green House Project, and the Butterfly Homes model. They’re all based on a patient-centric, emotion-focused philosophy:
- More hours of direct care for each resident
- Using a relationship-based approach to care, where residents, their families, and staff feel part of a community
- Creating of smaller “home-like” environments (as opposed to the present impersonal “warehousing” approach)
- Recognizing families and caregivers as integral members of the team
The emotion-focused model is not only more humane, it produces better outcomes:
- A decrease in aggressive incidents
- A decrease in the use of anti-psychotic drugs
- A decrease in the number of staff sick days (in one case, 75% less)
- An increase in resident and staff satisfaction, and social interaction
With this in mind, CARP demands:
- A shift in approach from “institutional” to home-like environments. Whether we’re dealing with new buildings or the refurbishing of older facilities, there must be smaller clusters shared by fewer people, and more private bedrooms.
- All nursing homes must develop written commitments, with specific timelines, to meet these standards. The entire system must be converted within 3 years.
- All nursing homes must be required, as a condition of their license, to adopt a culture of person-centered care, and present written plans for achieving it.
- Stricker regulations must be created, inspected regularly and firmly enforced.
Click here to view, print or share this CARP 5 priority in PDF
WATCH: See what is possible with the Butterfly Model currently being “tested” in Malton, Ontario
WATCH: How Ontario can move from Institutional to Emotion-Based Care
WATCH: Butterfly Home Pioneer on the need for Revolution in LTC