Author: Lyra Taylor

Free virtual tools to help your LTC home enhance the quality of life and work for residents and team members

Knowing what resources are available and how to access them can have a significant impact for your LTC home!

Watch the webinar presented by the Ontario CLRI at the KnowledgeBreak webinar, hosted by the Ontario Long-Term Care Association, to learn about tools available to you now to support pandemic recovery, to retain and energize team members, and that can help orient new team members to your home.

This presentation includes an overview of the PSW Education Fund, IPAC, Communication at End of Life eCourses, ALPHA, and more!

Dementia Education Added to PSW Fund Offering

The Ontario CLRI at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) is thrilled to announce that a second education training option has been added to the PSW Education Fund. LTC homes can now enroll for tuition and backfill pay for team members to complete the LIVING the Dementia Journey (LDJ) program.

LDJ is an award-winning, evidence-informed training program for those who support people living with dementia. Participants gain awareness and understanding that changes not only the way they view dementia, but the way they support people living with it. The program was created by the RIA’s Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program in collaboration with people living with dementia and their care partners.

“LIVING the Dementia Journey is a game changing education program that we are proud to be able to offer to long-term care homes province-wide,” said Frances Morton-Chang, RIA’s director of dementia programs. “The program reframes what it is like to live with dementia, from the perspectives of those living with it, and provides practical and affirming strategies so team members can better support resident quality of life and well-being.”

The LDJ program:

  • Increases understanding of dementia and provides a new perspective on the experience of living with it
  • Applies a person-centred approach to provide individualized support
  • Enhances skills in relationship-building to support individuals with compassion and respect
  • Shares strategies to recognize, interpret, and respond to personal expressions (behaviours)
  • Addresses ways to tackle boredom, loneliness, and helplessness by creating opportunities for meaning, purpose and growth

Due to pandemic restrictions, LDJ will be offered virtually through an 8-hour virtual workshop. Ontario long-term care homes can enroll online: visit the PSW Education Fund website.

The Fund also supports tuition and backfill for the virtual delivery of the Excellence in Resident-Centred Care (ERCC) course to support homes in adopting person-centred models of care, a priority identified in the recent recommendations from the Ontario Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission. ERCC was co-developed by Conestoga College and the RIA.

The PSW Education Fund is funded by the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Ontario Renews Education Fund for Long-Term Care Personal Support Workers

Ontario’s long-term care homes will have access to high-quality virtual education on person-centred care. The Ontario CLRI at the RIA is once again offering training through the Personal Support Worker Education Fund.  The training is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this virtual education program that will support Ontario’s long-term care sector in providing person-centred care that enhances quality of life for residents,” says Josie d’Avernas, executive director of the RIA.

This is the fourth year the Fund has been in operation. It provides funding to long-term care homes for their team members to participate in skill-building education. This year, the Fund will support tuition and backfill for the virtual delivery of the Excellence in Resident-Centred Care (ERCC) course to support homes in adopting person-centred models of care, a priority identified in the recent recommendations from the Ontario Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission.

ERCC provides team members with practical skills in person-centred care. The virtual education offered through the Fund includes seven modules covering key topics, including person-centred care, infection control, safety and mobility, self-care, working with others and nutrition. The course increases team member self-confidence, job satisfaction and morale. ERCC was co-developed by Conestoga College and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging.

Due to pandemic restrictions, ERCC will be offered virtually through a 7-hour virtual course, instead of the train-the-trainer model offered in previous years.

Additional training course options will be released in the coming months.

To learn more about the fund and to enroll online, visit the PSW Education Fund website.

The Fund has been in operation since 2017 and has been used to train more than 15,000 personal support workers in 303 long-term care homes across the province.

Ontario CLRI at Baycrest Welcomes Innovation and Aging Internship Students

Our team at the Ontario CLRI at Baycrest is thrilled to welcome 10 post-secondary students from various health professions across Ontario. They will be the first group of interns to work virtually with us for summer 2021. This internship provides interns the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in the gerontological field. Students will participate in small group learning focused on aging, clinical issues in gerontology, and interprofessional skills.

“We’re excited to share experiences with the students of what it’s like to live and work in long-term care. Fostering positive experiences paves the way for students seeking careers in long-term care,” says Raquel Meyer, manager of the Ontario CLRI at Baycrest team.

The first cohort of students will be at Baycrest until the end of June when most will return to their studies. Please join us in welcoming these 10 exceptional students!

The Ontario CLRI develops, delivers and evaluates educational resources and programs to train the current and future LTC workforce. We build on partnerships with homes, colleges and universities to provide in-person, blended and virtual training for interprofessional teams, as well as student placements and internships.

Meet some of the Innovation and Aging Interns!


Ideas and tools to address PSW challenges on-the-job

The PSW Perspectives on the Staffing Challenge in Long-Term Care report was created to help share the voices of those who often go unacknowledged and unheard – the personal support workers (PSWs) – and to help understand their day-to-day professional experiences.

The Ontario CLRI at the Schlegel-US Research Institute for Aging (RIA) has partnered with Overlap Associates to invite PSWs of Ontario to voice their experiences with the ongoing staffing shortage in LTC homes. PSWs were given a chance to voice what kind of changes they would make in their LTC homes and how they could make their home culture better and improve human resources practices.

The ideas and solutions given by PSWs in this report are easy for homes to use right away; small changes that PSWs identified can make a huge difference to their roles and their overall experience, such as:

  • Setting up buddy system so PSWs can work in pairs.
  • Allowing management and team leaders to ‘walk in PSWs’ shoes’ for a day.
  • Providing PSWs with mental health support.
  • Distributing and balancing workload so that no one individual is burdened by working with residents with high needs all the time.
  • Including PSWs in resident move-in meetings so that they can learn about the family and build the relationship from the beginning.

Tools to support action

PSWs spoke to us of the gap between what they learned in school and the realities of a job in LTC, particularly when they are short-staffed. They identified a need for on-the-job training, longer placements and other opportunities for experiential learning.

PSWs also felt that mandatory training should be expanded to include topics such as crisis intervention and de-escalation, dementia and responsive behaviours, mental health, palliative care, addictions and anti-racism. Home leadership was encouraged to seek out training in team cultures, communication and mental health for team members.

The Ontario CLRI has a collection of resources available on our website to help address the gaps and needs PSW identified.

The following is a list of tools and programs to provide training and guidance to PSWs and team members as well help leaders and managers begin to address issues raised by the PSWs.

  • Excellence in Resident-Centred Care – (ERCC) is a Conestoga College certificate program designed for Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and other team members to build practical skills and features 15 online modules covering key topics in LTC. The Ontario CLRI periodically provides backfill funding for PSWs to take this training through the PSW Education Fund.
  • Team Essentials – Four modules that provide innovative educational solutions for LTC team members around priority issues in LTC.
  • Working Together to put LIVING First – This resource shares the story of how an LTC and retirement living organization (Schlegel Villages) partnered with a research team at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging to go on a unique culture change journey.
  • Homewood Health support for PSWs – Homewood Health has partnered with the Ontario CLRI at RIA to provide free access to their online resources to Ontario long-term care home leaders and team members during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Clinical Nursing Leadership – This eLearning course will enhance the clinical leadership skills of nurses working in long-term care.
  • Caring for Persons with Dementia – This eLearning course is designed to enhance or develop team members’ knowledge on caring for residents living with dementia. The course introduces approaches and strategies to use while delivering personalized, quality care.
  • Embracing Diversity Toolkit – The toolkit was created by the Ontario CLRI and was informed by the Supporting Diversity and Inclusion in Long-Term Care Advisory Committee and other experts, including persons with lived experience.
  • Person-Centred Language – This page has eLearning courses, useful suggestions, activities, reflection questions and other resources to increase the use and spread of person-centred language in your long-term care home.
  • IPAC web page – This page includes tools and resources to equip those working and volunteering in LTC with the skills and knowledge they need to protect themselves, their colleagues, residents, family members, and community members.

What else can LTC homes do right now to support PSWs?

The LTC sector has the chance to come together to support and engage those who care for and protect us and our families – PSWs and frontline workers. Consider implementing one or two of the ideas we heard from PSWs in your home today!

  • Enable all team members to support PSWs by training them in key activities such as using lifts and other tasks so that someone is always available to help and support PSWs when needed
  • Improve dynamics between experienced and new PSWs (mentorship/preceptorship programs)
  • Develop a mobile app for new PSWs to connect with a mentor and have support while adapting to the work environment.
  • Plan team-building activities to improve trust and communication.
  • Recognize PSWs for excellent care through a submission process where team members, families, residents can nominate a PSW for recognition.
  • Provide time to enable PSWs to build relationships with residents and families and provide more person-centred care.
  • Educate families about the roles in an LTC home and about expected interactions/behaviours.
  • Management can jump in when PSWs are short-staffed or to address staffing challenges.
  • Develop a staffing squad of PSWs, management, and other team members to meet regularly and discuss challenges and build resolutions together.
  • Ensure continuous training for PSWs on key topics such as dementia, mental health, addictions, crisis interventions, etc.
  • Continue full-time positions for PSWs that were mandated during the pandemic.
  • Hire more PSWs and other team members.

New MAID laws are in effect. Is your team ready?

Caring for an older adult who expresses a wish to die is a challenging clinical scenario for healthcare teams. The Ontario CLRI at Baycrest and the University of Toronto are piloting a free online educational activity for your team to learn more about residents with depression, suicidal thoughts of ideations, and a wish for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). This educational activity includes completing short surveys, the free online module and participating with your team in a facilitated live virtual discussion.

Learn more about the program: Learning about MAID for LTC

Click here to get on the list.

Questions? Please email

This one-credit-per-hour Group Learning program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by Continuing Professional Development, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.

Have you thanked your Social Worker today?

Did you know that March is National Social Work Month? This week is also Social Work Week (March 1 to 7). Let’s take this chance to highlight the significant role that social workers play in long-term care (LTC) homes and honour the contributions they make in supporting residents and their families and friends.

What is the social work role in long-term care? Social workers practice collaboratively within the interdisciplinary team in LTC. The primary mandate of social workers in LTC is to advocate on behalf residents and their families. Social Work practice emphasizes building on a person’s strengths to support the maximal quality of life.

Social workers in LTC:

  • have expertise in the psychosocial aspects of care
  • provide support to residents and their families through the transition of moving into the LTC home, complete social histories and psychosocial assessments
  • assist with mediation and conflict resolution as issues arise
  • participate in care planning
  • locate and arrange for resources
  • share the responsibility for education of residents, families and colleagues. [1]

In honour of Social Work Week and Month, we took the opportunity to explore with members of the SW and SSW in LTC Community of Practice their own reflections on their practice and role in LTC. It’s apparent that social workers (SW) and social service workers (SSW) are an integral part of the team in LTC.

“SW skills are not as visible as what other team members show in day-to-day like prescribing medication, transferring residents. This makes it hard for others to appreciate our skills,” says Gladys, a Social Worker at an Ontario LTC Home. “I wish others can learn to appreciate our skills and see the important role that we play in a multidisciplinary team, no less than any other disciplines.”

When asked what she loves about her role in LTC, Maja, a SSW at an Ontario LTC Home responded, “I love being a SSW for having the opportunity to meet and engage with so many different people on a daily basis.  It’s a privilege to get to know the residents’ stories and build amazing relationships.”

Gladys describes the value of her role within LTC as, “…helping the team to see the residents as persons instead of medical cases and scheduled care tasks.” While Bonnie, a SW at an Ontario LTC home describes, “The value of having a social worker in LTC is difficult to measure. We take care of an individual’s mental and spiritual well-being both in this pandemic and prior to it.”

In collaboration with Family Councils Ontario, the Ontario CLRI at Bruyére has been supporting the SW and SSW in LTC Community of Practice with virtual meetings since May 2020. These monthly sessions provide members with an opportunity to connect with their peers, share resources and discuss challenges that they are experiencing. Topics of discussion have ranged from ways to help residents experiencing loneliness and social isolation, supporting essential care partners, self-care in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, to ethical dilemmas in LTC. If you are working in an Ontario LTC home as a SW or SSW we invite you to join – Registration Form.

If you know a SW or SSW who works LTC, please take some time this month to thank them for their important work and visit this link from the Ontario Association of Social Workers for ideas on how to celebrate Social Work Week and Social Work Month.

Use the hashtags #SocialWorkWeek2021 and #YouAreNotAlone for Social Work Week, and #SocialWorkMonth and #SocialWorkIsEssential for Social Work Month in your social media posts to show your support!


[1] Canadian Association of Social Workers, Social Work in Long-Term Care, Accessed online:

Clinical Nursing Leadership: Now Accredited

CNL eLearning now accredited

We’re excited to announce that our new Clinical Nursing Leadership eLearning modules that were released in October are now accredited by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA). These modules have been through a rigorous quality assessment and have achieved nationwide recognition.
Nurses are often required to manage conflict and communicate in a variety of contexts with co-workers, residents, other team members and their friends and families. This new accredited course will enhance the clinical leadership skills of nurses working in long-term care. The modules include realistic scenarios and scenario-based practice to help nurses navigate conflict, communicate with confidence, and learn how to thrive as clinical leaders. In addition to this, the modules also feature:

  • Accessibility compliant
  • Online format for individual learning
  • Self-paced
  • Short (20 minutes each – 60 minutes total)
  • Learning management system (LMS) format for organization integration

And cover the following topics:

  • Communicating Effectively
  • Handling Conflict with Care
  • Being a Leader

Clinical leadership is a core competence of nurses’ profession and is critical in providing quality and safe clinical care. It requires clinical knowledge and experience with elements of general leadership such as effective communication, providing feedback, conflict management, etc. While long-term care nurses receive leadership training as part of their education, the amount of time spent on it and at what stage of the base training is uneven between different nursing programs and what is covered is largely theoretical, with less focus on applying skills on the job. As a result, many nurses are not prepared for or comfortable with the degree of leadership that’s required of them in LTC.
Take these modules today to receive one CNA credit towards your continuing professional development. Already completed them? Not a problem, enroll in the Clinical Nursing Leadership eLearning Training course to download your accredited certificate!

Visit the Clinical Nursing Leadership eLearning resource for more information.

Show Some TLC for LTC

Show some TLC for LTC by watching and sharing these videos for LTC team members!

The Ontario CLRI at the RIA, Ontario Health (Central), OLTCA, AdvantAge Ontario, OARC and FCO have come together to spread awareness of LTC team members’ mental health in a series of videos from residents and families in LTC. The videos will be shared starting on  Bell Let’s Talk Day to leverage the focus on mental health and direct attention to the dedication and hard work of frontline team members in LTC, using the hashtag #TLCforLTC

LTC frontline team members are essential in effectively responding to the pandemic despite their personal and professional challenges related to stress, trauma, and health and wellness. “The mental and emotional stress they endure daily is indescribable,” says Julian Morelli, LTC resident family member featured in one of the videos created for the campaign.

Sharron Cooke, an LTC home resident describes team members as “…the heart and soul of my home.” LTC teams need mental health supports that help them cope during these difficult times and ensures they can be there for their residents.

Visit for mental health resources for LTC team members. You can find all the TLCforLTC videos on YouTube.