While the number of Canadian LTC and retirement homes with COVID-19 outbreaks peaked at 1,000 in mid-January 2021, as of early June 2021, less than 200 homes are experiencing outbreaks — with the majority involving a small number of residents and staff and most experiencing only mild-tomoderate symptoms without requiring hospitalization or resulting in death. With vaccines proving to successfully protect LTC residents against the risks of COVID-19, it is now time for homes to focus on loosening restrictions to enable safe visiting, in-home activities, and outings in an effort to introduce some normalcy into the lives of LTC residents and improve their health and well-being.
MNP, prepared for Alberta Department of Health
30 April 2021
The government has made it a priority to improve the quality of life of residents in facility-based continuing care. Alberta Health contracted MNP LLP to conduct a review of Alberta’s facility-based continuing care system and submit a final report and recommendations to the Minister of Health. The final report makes recommendations to government that would transform and modernize Alberta’s facility-based continuing care system.
Cloutier D, Stajduhar KI, Roberts D, Dujela C, Roland K.
BMC Health Serv Res 2021 Jun 28;21(1):610-021-06606-x.
BACKGROUND: ‘Whole-person’ palliative approaches to care (PAC) are important for enhancing the quality of life of residents with life-limiting conditions in long-term care (LTC). This research is part of a larger, four province study, the ‘SALTY (Seniors Adding Life to Years)’ project to address quality of care in later life. A Quality Improvement (QI) project to integrate a PAC (PAC-QI) in LTC was implemented in Western Canada in four diverse facilities that varied in terms of ownership, leadership models, bed size and geography. Two palliative ‘link nurses’ were hired for 1 day a week at each site over a two-year time frame to facilitate a PAC and support education and training. This paper evaluates the challenges with embedding the PAC-QI into LTC, from the perspectives of the direct care, or front-line team members. Sixteen focus groups were undertaken with 80 front-line workers who were predominantly RNs/LPNs (n = 25), or Health Care Aides (HCAs; n = 32). A total of 23 other individuals from the ranks of dieticians, social workers, recreation and rehabilitation therapists and activity coordinators also participated. Each focus group was taped and transcribed and thematically analyzed by research team members to develop and consolidate the findings related to challenges with embedding the PAC. RESULTS: Thematic analyses revealed that front-line workers are deeply committed to providing high quality PAC, but face challenges related to longstanding conditions in LTC notably, staff shortages, and perceived lack of time for providing compassionate care. The environment is also characterized by diverse views on what a PAC is, and when it should be applied. Our research suggests that integrated, holistic and sustainable PAC depends upon access to adequate resources for education, training for front-line care workers, and supportive leadership. CONCLUSIONS: The urgent need for integrated PAC models in LTC has been accentuated by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, it is more imperative than ever before to move forwards with such models in order to promote quality of care and quality of life for residents and families, and to support job satisfaction for essential care workers.
Conroy T, Pinero de Plaza MA, Mudd A, Mitchell M, Kitson A.
J Clin Nurs 2021 Jun 16.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: This paper presents an exploratory account of an innovative methodology to record and evaluate fundamental care. Fundamental care is defined as the care required by everyone for survival, health and welfare. BACKGROUND: Fundamental care has been informed by the development and testing of the Fundamentals of Care Framework, which describes how fundamental care is complex and multidimensional, and consists of three interrelated dimensions and 38 elements. This accords with a broader re-examination of care provision as part of a complex adaptive system in which existing linear models of cause and effect are inadequate to describe the totality of activity. DESIGN: Informed by graph theory and complexity science, this paper presents a novel methodological innovation. It uses the Fundamentals of Care Framework to create a Matrix to quantify the relationships between different elements within the Framework. METHODS: We use a Matrix methodology to process care recipient narratives to generate three outputs: a heat map, a summary table and a network analysis. CONCLUSIONS: The three outputs serve to quantify and evaluate fundamental care in a multidimensional manner. They capture different perspectives (care recipients and their families, direct care providers and care managers) to improve care outcomes. The future aim is to advance this exploration into digitalising and operationalising the Matrix in a user-friendly manner for it to become a real-time mechanism to evaluate and potentially predict patterns of fundamental care.