Ontario Long Term Care Association's letter to the editor of the Toronto Star

Regarding "The Fix" - published June 20, 2018

I would like to commend the Star and Peel Region on the story of the Butterfly program for dementia care. It’s a beautiful story about caring for the social and emotional lives of people in long-term care. It shows the heart-warming side of thought-provoking and innovative approaches to caring for such fragile people living in homes across the province.
 
The Butterfly program is one of many sweeping changes in person-centred care that are currently underway across Ontario’s long-term care homes. Over the last decade, long-term care homes have been moving rapidly away from the traditional institutional model and embracing a holistic approach, which puts the person and their social and emotional needs at the centre of everything they do.  
 
Homes are using a range of evidence-based approaches that emphasize holistic living, including DementiAbility, PIECES, and Supportive Measures, just to name a few. There is also evidence showing that homes with specialized behavioural support teams continually improve residents’ quality of life and support widespread culture change. Based on the evidence, the provincial government committed to put one of these teams in 80% of the province’s homes by April 2019. This commitment needs to reach 100% in order for every senior to benefit from these innovative care models.
 
As the Star story points out, long-term care is highly regulated, and the flexible approach to holistic care is often at odds with meeting the demands of the legislation. Long-term care is also a largely unionized environment. Each long-term care home needs the flexibility to decide which approaches to holistic care will work best for their residents and in their environment. But rest assured - these changes are well underway, right across the province.

Sincerely,
Candace Chartier, CEO
Ontario Long Term Care Association