Category: Research Institute for Aging

Will you be part of the movement to person-centred language this summer?

Words matter. In long-term care, words can make all the difference towards person-centred care. Team members who use inclusive and respectful language when talking to or about residents and colleagues are helping to lead a culture change movement in LTC homes. 

We have a big goal for the summer to reach 5,000 person-centred pledges. Why? Because that’s 5,000 people who are using language that sees the person first, rather than a disease or condition. 

Fill out the online person-centred language pledge to formally commit to using inclusive and respectful language in long-term care. The online pledge allows you to print a certificate that can be posted in a common area of your LTC home so that others can be inspired to join you on the PCL journey. 

More than 4,000 people have already committed to being a part of this movement. Will you join them? Take the pledge now!

You can take the pledge individually or as a team. Print the certificate to show residents, families and visitors that your home is committed to person-centred care.

Why PCL?

  • The language we use reflects our mindset.
  • Actions follow our language – person-centred language precedes person-centred care
  • PCL can help reduce responsive behaviours or personal expressions
  • PCL shows respect and bestows dignity to residents and colleagues

Your PCL pledge can produce a ripple effect in your home where team members interact more positively with each other and with residents they care for!

Learn to use PCL through our free eLearning course for team members and eLearning course for LTC leaders and managers.

The Person-Centred Language eLearning Courses were co-developed by BSO and the Ontario CLRI at the RIA in collaboration with MacHealth at McMaster University and supported by an expert panel.

Pride Month Resources for LTC Homes

In honour of Pride Month, the Ontario CLRI wants to share some 2SLGBTQI+ resources that can empower long-term care (LTC) homes to create a culture of inclusivity where both residents and team members can thrive regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

Our Supporting Diversity and Inclusion in Long-Term Care Advisory Committee has been gathering resources since 2017 to support LTC homes in delivering inclusive care to the diverse populations they serve. This resource list was developed in recognition that resident care can be influenced by individual circumstances, including language, ability, race. ethnicity, religion, spirituality. gender identity, gender expression. sexual orientation and socio-economic status.

Explore the three featured 2SLGBTQI+ resources below:

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.

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 clri-ltc.ca/mentalhealth for mental health resources for LTC team members. You can find all the TLCforLTC videos on YouTube.

New Person-Centred Language eCourse for LTC Teams

Do words matter? In long-term care, they can make all the difference. How we speak with and about people is part of delivering appropriate, respectful and inclusive care. The Ontario CLRI and Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) in collaboration with Machealth, have launched an eLearning course to equip LTC teams with practical knowledge of how to implement person-centred language in LTC.

Consider the words “facility” and “home.” “Facility” elicits images of cold, sterile hospitals. “Home” is a warmer term that depicts safety and community. Where would you rather live?

“It’s no easy task to change the way people speak to and about people who are living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, yet change is absolutely necessary. In fact, the way people speak about older adults in general tends to diminish their sense of value, no matter where they live or what health challenges they may or may not have.” – Ron Droulliard, LTC resident & Person-Centred Language Expert Panel member

Person-centred language ensures that respectful, life-affirming and inclusive language is used when referring to and interacting with people who communicate via responsive behaviours/personal expressions associated with dementia, complex mental health, substance use and/or other neurological conditions, and their care partners.
Simple wording swaps can promote dignity and respect in LTC:

Instead of:           Try:
(LTC) Facility           LTC Home
Patient                      Resident
Staff                           Team Member

The use of person-centred language in LTC homes can make all the difference in delivering quality resident and family-centred care, while nurturing an atmosphere of respect — register to take the free course!!

Protecting the well-being of LTC during COVID-19

COVID-19 poses a significant challenge across the province and is putting increased pressure on those working in long-term care (LTC). They show up at LTC homes across the province, despite anxiety for themselves and their families. They carry out their duties at a time when family and friends cannot visit; when residents may feel isolated and be in need of extra support.

To help, the Ontario CLRI at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) is sharing a series of well-being resources for leaders and team members in long-term care. One of these resources is free access to Homewood Health’s online mental health platform: Homeweb.ca.

Homeweb.ca offers self-directed programs for anxiety and depression, a health and wellness library, articles on topics like stress, anxiety, finances and health risk assessments, and more than 20 e-courses to help build resiliency in the LTC workforce. This service is grounded in evidence-based knowledge from Homewood Health’s 130+ years of clinical practice and patient care. Many organizations pay for access to use this rich platform.

“We are grateful to Homewood Health, for the work we do together, for the innovative work they do to help Canadians live healthier, more productive and more fulfilling lives and for their generosity now,” says Josie d’Avernas, executive director of the RIA.

The Ontario CLRI is also organizing our activities to respond to the change in priorities for LTC homes to help fill gaps that may exist during the pandemic. New and existing resources to support the  sector in this time can be found on our COVID-19 resource page.

Access homeweb.ca 


Homewood Health is Canada’s Leader in Mental Health and Addiction Care and delivers a continuum of mental health and addiction services unique in Canada for its breadth, quality, integration, and most importantly, results. Homewood Health is focused on achieving and sustaining the optimal health of Canadians and the organizations they work for.

Cooking Competition Sparks New Favourites for LTC Menus

Winner of the Savoury Category

Ready, set, bake!

The Ontario CLRI at the RIA hosted a cooking competition as part of the Nutrition in Disguise (NiD) project on Saturday, March 7.

Students from Conestoga College’s School of Hospitality & Culinary Arts competed to create nutritionally rich recipes using key  ingredients to help fight malnutrition in long-term care homes. Most older adults don’t eat enough nutrients to stay healthy. The NiD project focuses on creating nutrient-dense recipes by adding healthy ingredients to common foods that older adults enjoy: think lentils in brownies, or wheat germ in apple muffins.

The competition will help us build a library of recipes that long-term care homes can work in to their menus without breaking their budget.

Contestants competed to win one of two $500 prizes for the best NiD Recipe in one of two categories: 1) Sweet: desserts, snacks and puddings, and 2) Savoury: spreads, soups, breakfast protein. Recipes were created using a specific pre-determined nutrient-dense ingredient to enhance nutrition. Winners from each category received $500 and the title of the best student NiD recipe!

The NiD project is part of Professor Heather Keller’s research at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging. The Ontario CLRI is partnering with Prof. Keller to develop nutrition tools for long-term care homes based on the study findings.

The recipes were tasted and reviewed by a panel of judges: 

  • Heather Keller, Research Chair in  Nutrition and Aging, Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging;
  • Residents from Schlegel Villages;
  • Chef George Madalena, Schlegel Villages; and,
  • Lisa Duizer, University of Guelph’s Food Science Department.

The winners 

Savoury 

Hannah Nguyen for her Secret Glazed Tofu Sandwich recipe

Sweet 

Ishika Goyal for her Black Bean Brownie with Silken Tofu Chocolate Mousse recipe

Photo Gallery 

Small changes to recipes have big impacts on nutrition in LTC

Group of seniors having food in nursing home, a nurse is serving

Group of seniors having food in nursing home, a nurse is servingA recent study on nutrition may help to address nutrition in older adults living in long-term care (LTC). The  Nutrition in Disguise (NiD) study, by Professor Heather Keller, Research Chair in Nutrition and Aging at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging, showed that enhancing recipes through small changes to ingredients can meet the need for more nutritionally dense food in LTC.

“Older adults living in residential care often have poor intake for a variety of reasons,” said Prof. Keller. “Easy to eat foods that taste good are often preferred. However, these foods are often lower in vitamins and minerals. Adequate intake of these key nutrients is needed to support overall health including ability to remain as independent as possible. ”

The Ontario CLRI is partnering with Prof. Keller to develop nutrition tools for LTC homes based on the study findings.

Photo of Heather KellerIn the study, a seven-day menu was substituted with one or two nutrient-enhanced foods. Enhanced recipes were created to increase intake of vitamins such as B6 and B12. Researchers compared the nutrients and cost of the new menu and the original menu. The study found that the enhancement of micronutrients through ingredients in recipes is a feasible strategy to tackle micronutrient malnutrition in older adults.

Stay tuned for these new tools coming in 2020, but in the meantime, the Ontario CLRI have other resources available for mealtime experiences in LTC.

Co-Op Paves Way for Students in Long-Term Care

Co-op student Kyla morgan stands at a podium with an RIA stand-up banner and an Ontario CLRI stand-up banner in the backgroundKyla Morgan is a Holy Trinity Co-op Student who was unsure of the direction of her career path. She decided to explore a placement at Chartwell retirement residence in Oakville. Last semester, Kyla completed her dual credit co-op giving her incredible experience working with older adults.

She worked in the lifestyles programing department where she helped run and plan various activities for the residents. She was given the opportunity to start Chartwell’s first knitting club where she was able to teach a 90-year old woman how to knit her first scarf. She also ran a weekly spiritual meditation club which included praying the rosary. Kyla had a very positive impact on the residents at the home and was a great ambassador for Holy Trinity’s co-op program.

She has continued to build on her success through volunteering at the home, as well as taking on a part time job with Chartwell, continuing to give back to her community.

Due to her success, Kyla was invited to meet with a team of people from the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA), to share her experience. Since then, Kyla has played a valuable role in the Ontario CLRI’s initiative to improve workforce capacity in long-term care.

She presented at the Intergenerational Partnerships Think Tank, hosted on November 2, 2018. One of the goals on the agenda was to allow individuals from long-term care/retirement and education perspectives, including members from the Ministry of Education, to better understand what the role of a secondary school co-operative student could look like in a long-term care or retirement home. Kyla helped to identify ways that students can contribute to the home, the supports that need to be in place for a co-op student to be successful, and how these placements are meaningful for both students and older adults. Kyla has recently been contacted by the Ontario Association of Residents Council (OARC) and asked to write about her experience from a student’s perspective for their upcoming newsletter.

Read the full article on the Halton Catholic District School Board website and watch Kyla’s presentation at the Intergenerational Partnerships Think Tank.