December 1, 2020


Article by Trina Thorne and Carole Estabrooks in the Globe and Mail
An inquiry of inquiries: When will we commit to fixing long-term care?

Nov 23, 2020
As of November 7, 2020, there were 2,026 COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care homes (LTCH) in Canada leading to 7,366 deaths. Canada has the highest proportion of COVID-19 deaths in LTCH of all developed countries in the world; the proportion of deaths from COVID-19 in LTCHs in Canada was 81 per cent compared with a mean of 42 per cent in other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Why is a country with a leading publicly funded health care system underperforming during this pandemic?

New article by Stephanie Chamberlain and Carole Estabrooks
Characteristics of Socially Isolated Residents in Long-Term Care: A Retrospective Cohort Study.
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Stephanie A. Chamberlain, Wendy Duggleby, Pamela B. Teaster and Carole A. Estabrooks.
Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine 2020 01/01; 2020/11;6:2333721420975321
Objectives: To identify socially isolated long-term care residents and to compare their demographic characteristics, functional status, and health conditions to residents who are not isolated. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using the Resident Assessment Instrument, Minimum Data Set, 2.0 (RAI-MDS) data, from residents in 34 long-term care homes in Alberta, Canada (2008?2018). Using logistic regression, we compared the characteristics, conditions, and functional status of residents who were socially isolated (no contact with family/friends) and non-socially isolated residents. Results: Socially isolated residents were male, younger, and had a longer length of stay in the home, than non-socially isolated residents. Socially isolated residents lacked social engagement and exhibited signs of depression. Discussion: Socially isolated residents had unique care concerns, including psychiatric disorders, and co-morbid conditions. Our approach, using a single item in an existing data source, has the potential to assist clinicians in screening for socially isolated long-term care residents.

Statement from CAG and Canadian Journal on Aging

The Need for Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Approaches to Assess the Impact of COVID-19 on Seniors and Aging: Joint Statement by ACG/CAG and RCV/CJA.

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B. A. Meisner, V. Boscart, P. Gaudreau, et al.
Can J Aging 2020 Dec;39(4):487-499
La pandémie de la COVID-19 et l’état d’urgence publique qui en a découlé ont eu des répercussions significatives sur les personnes âgées au Canada et à travers le monde. Il est impératif que le domaine de la gérontologie réponde efficacement à cette situation. Dans la présente déclaration, les membres du conseil d’administration de l’Association canadienne de gérontologie/Canadian Association on Gerontology (ACG/CAG) et ceux du comité de rédaction de La Revue canadienne du vieillissement/Canadian Journal on Aging (RCV/CJA) reconnaissent la contribution des membres de l’ACG/CAG et des lecteurs de la RCV/CJA. Les auteurs exposent les voies complexes par lesquelles la COVID-19 affecte les personnes âgées, allant du niveau individuel au niveau populationnel. Ils préconisent une approche impliquant des équipes collaboratives pluridisciplinaires, regroupant divers champs de compétences, et différentes perspectives et méthodes d’évaluation de l’impact de la COVID-19.; The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent state of public emergency have significantly affected older adults in Canada and worldwide. It is imperative that the gerontological response be efficient and effective. In this statement, the board members of the Canadian Association on Gerontology/L’Association canadienne de gérontologie (CAG/ACG) and the Canadian Journal on Aging/La revue canadienne du vieillissement (CJA/RCV) acknowledge the contributions of CAG/ACG members and CJA/RCV readers. We also profile the complex ways that COVID-19 is affecting older adults, from individual to population levels, and advocate for the adoption of multidisciplinary collaborative teams to bring together different perspectives, areas of expertise, and methods of evaluation in the COVID-19 response.

New article by Susan Slaughter
Hungry for more: low resident social engagement is indirectly associated with poor energy intake and mealtime experience in long-term care homes.
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J. Morrison-Koechl, S. A. Wu, S. E. Slaughter, C. O. Lengyel, N. Carrier and H. H. Keller.
Appetite 2020 Nov 20:105044
Mealtimes in long-term care (LTC) homes provide social engagement and nutritional intake to residents. Psychosocial challenges may detract from the mealtime experience, resulting in low food intake and increased risk of malnutrition. This study explores the independent effects of psychosocial factors on energy intake among LTC residents. Secondary data (Making the Most of Mealtimes [M3]) from residents in 32 Canadian LTC homes were analyzed. Data included 3-day weighed food intake, mealtime care actions taken by staff, loss of appetite, eating challenges, and other resident characteristics. Psychosocial factors (i.e., social engagement, depression, and aggressive behaviours) were measured using standardized scales. The independent effects of psychosocial factors on energy intake were tested using bivariate and linear regression analyses adjusted for loss of appetite, eating challenges, and demographic characteristics. The final sample included 604 residents (mean age= 86.8±7.8 years; 31.8% male). Of the three psychosocial factors, only social engagement was associated with energy intake. Low social engagement was associated with cognitive and functional challenges, malnutrition risk, more task-focused mealtime actions by staff, and lower energy intake. Simple regression analysis revealed that individuals with low social engagement ate 59.6 kcal less per day (95% CI= -111.2, -8.0). This significant association remained when adjusting for loss of appetite, but was no longer significant when adjusting for eating challenges. Low social engagement occurs concurrently with physical and functional challenges among LTC residents, affecting both the nutritional and social aspects of mealtimes. Emphasis on socializing during mealtimes, especially for those with eating challenges (e.g., requiring assistance), may contribute to improved resident appetite and quality of life.

Participate in StatsCan Survey on Covid and HCWs
Impacts of COVID-19 on Health Care Workers: Infection Prevention and Control (ICHCWIPC)

The purpose of this crowdsource questionnaire is to understand the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian health care workers, with particular focus on access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in the workplace.

This voluntary questionnaire will cover job type and setting, training and information on PPE and IPC practices and protocols, use and access to PPE, and personal health. It also includes general demographic questions.

CIHR’s priority areas of research on Covid-19 and Aging
Covid-19 and Priorities for Research in Aging.
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R. J. Rylett, F. Alary, J. Goldberg, S. Rogers and P. Versteegh.
Can J Aging 2020 Dec;39(4):500-505
This article describes priority areas for research on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on older adults that have been identified by the CIHR Institute of Aging (CIHR-IA). The process used by CIHR-IA consists of several iterative phases and thus far has resulted in identification of three key areas for Covid-19 research needs and four cross-cutting thematic areas. The key research priority areas are as follows: response of older adults to disease, vaccination, and therapeutics; mental health and isolation; and supportive care environments. The four cross-cutting themes are equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI); ethical/moral considerations; evidence-informed practices; and digital health technologies. The priorities outlined in this article will inform CIHR-IA’s responses to Covid-19 research needs.; Publisher: Abstract available from the publisher.

Canadian Best Practices for staffing and physical environment in LTC
Best Practices in Dementia Care: A Review of the Grey Literature on Guidelines for Staffing and Physical Environment in Long-Term Care.
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K. Seetharaman, H. Chaudhury, M. Kary, J. Stewart, B. Lindsay and M. Hudson.
Can J Aging 2020 Nov 16:1-16
In its first national strategy on dementia, the Government of Canada has highlighted the need to improve quality of care for individuals living with dementia, with emphasis on following best practices and evidence in care delivery and providing care staff access to education and training. It is also known that the design of the physical environment of care homes is integral to the care experience of individuals living with dementia. Therefore, this study aims to identify the best national and international practices implemented in care homes for people living with dementia in: (1) education, training, staffing, and care practices; and (2) environmental design and physical infrastructure, through the review of relevant grey literature. This article highlights key recommendations for improving the quality of care for residents living with dementia in care homes, such as: (1) facilitating translation of training into practice, (2) maintaining consistent staffing levels, and (3) designing care homes to facilitate wayfinding, accessibility, safety, comfort, appropriate sensory stimulation, familiarity, and homelikeness. The findings from this review are expected to inform the development of guidelines for a provincial dementia-friendly care home designation program and various advocacy efforts to help achieve the objectives of the national strategy on dementia.

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