LTC sector shines in Change Day Ontario campaign

Sponsored by Health Quality Ontario and Associated Medical Services, Change Day aimed to make positive changes in our health system by empowering individuals – ranging from executives and health care professionals to informal caregivers, patients and residents – to make a pledge and take actions to improve quality, compassionate care across Ontario.

A woman and man sit in chairs dressed in special suits the simulate agingAlthough Change Day Ontario concluded on November 17, 2017, the movement encompassed several months of activity. The Ontario Long Term Care Association is pleased to have been a partner on this provincial initiative, and we couldn’t be prouder of the leadership role that the long-term care sector took in the campaign, accounting for the largest percentage of pledges compared to different parts of the health system!

For example, the marketing and communications team at Sienna Senior Living made a pledge to put themselves in the shoes of residents to better understand their unique needs, and used the frail aging suits at Baycrest Health Sciences to simulate the experience of a senior living with physical, cognitive and sensory impairments.

“The entire simulation lasted no more than seven minutes, but let me tell you, I was more than ready to stop,” said Brian Richardson, Chief Marketing Officer, Sienna Senior Living. “During our debrief session, we discussed the feelings we experienced during the experiment. We said we felt vulnerable. Anxious. Confused. And frustrated—both at the health care worker and at ourselves for our loss of control.”

But the exercise was effective in its goal.

Three residents are sitting in front of a Change Day sign that has a bunch of pledges on it. They are joined by a female staff member who is standing“Through fulfilling our Change Day Ontario pledge, we agreed we had increased empathy for residents and the challenges they may face,” added Richardson. “And we are committed to rethinking the way we communicate with them, and the way we help define the Sienna Experience.”

This wasn’t the only initiative that Sienna undertook. Their Executive Vice President of Operations, Joanne Dykeman (who is also an Ontario Long Term Care Association Board Member) spent a day in the life of a PSW at Villa Leonardo Gambin as part of her personal pledge.

Other homes and organizations got involved in different ways. David Munch, CEO and Angela Harvey, Administrator at Finlandia Village, made an important pledge to facilitate team workshops titled “Choose happiness at work” for over 120 frontline staff in all departments. 

“Through our happiness workshops, staff will learn team building exercises, having fun while learning the philosophy behind living a happy life,” explained Harvey. “This will inspire staff to be happy at work and work together more collaboratively, ultimately improving the quality of care our residents receive.”

Two OLTCA staff, a man and woman, stand on either side of a resident, all smilingFinlandia staff also held a Change Day event where they raised awareness of the campaign and set up pledge forms for staff, volunteers, family and friends to make pledges and put them on display. They gathered more than 30 pledges for positive change! 

The Ontario Long Term Care Association staff also participated and made a pledge. We pledged to make a stronger effort to connect with the residents that our member homes provide care for each and every day. We chose to make a renewed effort to visit a number of long-term care homes and connect one-on-one with residents, learning about them as people first, long-term care residents second. And we pledged to discover new ways to engage residents while supporting their dignity, security and comfort.

Thank you to all the members across the province who helped make Change Day 2017 a success. Stay tuned for information about Change Day 2018!

In photos, top to bottom: Amanda Paterson and Brian Richardson from Sienna Senior Living try out the frail aging suits at Baycrest Health Sciences; Finlandia staff member Alex Pakkala is joined by three residents and shows off all the pledges the home gathered; Association staff Adrian Kupesic and Karyn Bawden pose with Jamie, a resident from Revera’s ThorntonView and OARC Board Member.