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PREP LTC receives an additional $94.5M boost to optimize student placements in long-term care

WATERLOO, Ont. (February 1, 2024) The Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) is pleased to announce that Ontario is investing an additional $94.5M in the Preceptor Resource and Education Program in Long-Term Care (PREP LTC) project to increase hands-on training opportunities for students looking for careers in long-term care (LTC).

This $94.5M investment from the Ministry of Long-Term Care is being led by the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (Ontario CLRI) at the RIA and is supported by the Ontario CLRI teams at Baycrest Academy for Research and Education and Bruyère Research Institute.

“We’re investing in programs that are building a pipeline of talent for the future and giving them more hands-on clinical training so our long-term care residents get the high-quality care they deserve,” said Stan Cho, Minister of Long-Term Care.

“We’re pleased for the opportunity to continue leading PREP LTC beyond the successful first three years,” said Tina Mah, Executive Director of the RIA. “PREP LTC has made a valuable contribution to long-term care, helping students gain much-needed skills and equipping and encouraging them to pursue meaningful careers in the long-term care sector.”

Building on the initial success of PREP LTC in workforce recruitment and training, this investment will continue to provide funding, education, and resources to support high-quality student placements in LTC for an additional three years.

In less than three years, the PREP LTC team has engaged over 80% of Ontario’s LTC homes, supported preceptors in spending more time with students, and developed eLearning that prepares team members to mentor students confidently. PREP LTC’s impact report shows the project is making a difference in the lives of those living and working in LTC today.

The PREP LTC project is a valuable resource to Omni. The location of some Omni homes can make it challenging to attract staff, so we welcome student placement opportunities with the goal of retaining these students for long-term, meaningful employment. The student coordinator funding through PREP LTC has given Omni the resources to focus on improving our student placement program, improving existing partnerships with schools, and creating new partnerships. As a result, we have grown our student placement program beyond nursing placements to include social service worker, occupational therapy assistant, physiotherapy assistant, recreation, and leisure students.

 

Sharon Reid, PREP LTC Coordinator, Omni Quality Living

Funding details for Ontario long-term care homes for Year 4 of PREP LTC (2024/25) will be available soon.

About PREP LTC

PREP LTC is led by the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (Ontario CLRI) at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) and is supported by the Ontario CLRI teams at Baycrest Academy for Research and Education and Bruyère Research Institute. PREP LTC helps address the staffing needs of the LTC sector by providing funding, education, and resources to Ontario LTC homes to build capacity for student placements. The project also equips preceptors in LTC to support positive and successful student placements. Learn more at clri-prepltc.ca.

About the Ontario CLRI

For over 10 years, the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (Ontario CLRI) have been working together to enhance the quality of life and care for residents across the province. The Ontario CLRI does this by building capacity through training, education, innovation, and knowledge mobilization with the aim of improving the health and well-being of people who live and work in long-term care (LTC). The Ontario CLRI Program leverages the expertise and activities of its host centres, Baycrest Academy for Research and Education (Baycrest), Bruyère Research Institute (Bruyère), and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) to develop and deliver tailored solutions to sector-driven priorities. Learn more at clri-ltc.ca.

About the RIA

The Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) is a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and care for older adults. The RIA tackles some of the biggest issues facing an aging population by integrating research, education, and practice. The RIA develops solutions that make a difference to benefit older adults everywhere. Learn more at the-ria.ca.

Media Contact 

Noel Gruber

Director, Communications and Public Relations

Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging

noel.gruber@the-ria.ca

Empowering Preceptors and Students in Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes: The PREP LTC eLearning Course

Training preceptors and students. Preceptors are essential in shaping the next generation of healthcare professionals in Ontario. The long-term care (LTC) sector is no exception with specialized training requirements for team members working in a home. To meet these requirements, the Preceptor Resource and Education Program in Long-Term Care (PREP LTC) has created an online course specifically tailored for LTC home preceptors, students, and team members. The tailored curriculum addresses the unique nature of LTC settings, preparing learners with knowledge, skills, and resources on topics related to clinical student placements in LTC. Through interactive modules and real-world simulations, learners gain a deeper understanding of best practices in mentoring, communication strategies, and conflict resolution.

 

Impacting preceptor preparedness and confidence. First launched in 2022, the PREP LTC eLearning Course is already making a difference for preceptors and students completing their placements in LTC. As reported in PREP LTC’s 2022-2023’s Impact Report, 79% of LTC homes that completed the PREP LTC eLearning Course observed an increase in team members’ preparedness and confidence to precept students. Preceptors also appreciate the enhanced skills they gained through the course and the fact they can apply these skills directly to their day-to-day practice.

“I would like to send [a] quick thank you for the opportunity to take the PREP LTC certificate course. I learnt a great deal completing the course. Reviewing all modules will increase my knowledge further. There are skill sets in the course that I can begin to put into practice now as I continue my professional growth. This course has given me another tool to add to my knowledge toolbox which is greatly appreciated” – LTC Home Preceptor

 

Impacting student mentorship and resident care. The training preceptors received from the PREP LTC eLearning Course has also had a positive impact on students and residents. Students have indicated they benefit from a richer learning experience and gain more insights into LTC that traditional clinical training sometimes overlooks. One important insight is the strong relationships that must develop between residents and team members to deliver quality care.

I was able to relate and reflect on how these things were occurring in my LTC placement. I feel fortunate to have a fantastic preceptor who has gained the trust and respect of each of her residents. She maintains positive relationships with her colleagues encouraging collaboration and teamwork for the betterment of each resident.” – PSW Student

 

Impacting culture change in LTC. Investing in preceptor training is a strategic enabler for LTC homes that are creating a working environment where team members can thrive and are empowered to deliver the highest quality of care to their residents. A culture of continuous learning where learners share their newfound knowledge and skills with their colleagues can enhance collaboration and communication and foster a sense of shared purpose among team members. The result is a more cohesive and empowered healthcare team committed to delivering outstanding resident care in the LTC sector.

“The eLearning course is just as beneficial for administrative staff as it is for preceptors. It highlighted areas where we need to ‘step-up’ in order to help preceptors and students along the path of success” – Staff Training Specialist in LTC

 

Meeting LTC homes where they are. The PREP LTC eLearning Course is available for FREE to any Ontario LTC home team member. Its online format allows learners to complete it anytime, anywhere, providing flexibility to suit their schedule. The PREP LTC initiative also provides backfill funding to clinical preceptors who complete the course and whose LTC home has enrolled in PREP LTC. A dedicated Regional Engagement Liaison can provide a suite of resources – in addition to the PREP LTC eLearning Course – that is specifically tailored for the LTC sector. 

 

Interested in learning more? Visit the PREP LTC website or speak with your Regional Engagement Liaison today!

 

Acknowledgement

PREP LTC is led by the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (CLRI) at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging in collaboration with the Ontario CLRI teams at Baycrest Academy for Research and Education and Bruyère Research Institute. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.

 

The PREP LTC eLearning course was developed by the Ontario CLRI at Baycrest Academy for Research and Education and is built on the success of the Ministry-funded Preceptor Education Program (PEP) in collaboration with the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Western Ontario and with Fanshawe College School of Nursing.

LTC Leaders: why send educators to the Specialized Educator Certificate in LTC?

Educators in the 600+ Ontario long-term care homes represent a wide variety of disciplines, knowledge, skill, experiences and credentials. Often, educators lack resources in terms of time and money to devote to their own professional development due to the urgent and ongoing nature of demands on the job.

This is a chance for your educators to access free learning that fits easily into their existing work schedule to enhance their skill set on adult education best practices and innovative educational approaches as applied specifically to the long-term care sector.

Specialized Educator Certificate in LTC (SECL) allows LTC educators to upgrade their skills through experiential learning while building a network of collaborative peers via three levels (Best Practices, Intermediate and Advanced).

I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate in the [SECL] course. Initially, I had some trepidation about the gaming part, but was excited for the content. […] The experience was affirming, stretching and confidence-building. You are such supportive educators – nudging us to look at issues in new ways, to creatively approach the art of facilitation and to appreciate what learners bring to the ‘stage’. – SECL Participant

The Educator Certificate will improve your organization and the teams and individuals you work with:

  • See education build up your teams instead of patching up your teams
  • See education used where it can have an impact
  • Optimize your educational resources to build team resilience and engagement in change processes and innovation
  • Redirect your educational resources to function as proactive tools

Level One begins April 2024: Learn who is eligible and how to apply here.

Holding space for moral healing in long-term care

By: Kate Dupuis, Jane Kuepfer, Scott Mitchell

COVID-19 pandemic and long-term care

During the COVID-19 pandemic, team members working in long-term care homes were often required to perform duties outside of their typical day-to-day responsibilities. With limited access to vendors, visitors, and even some part-time team members being restricted from entering the long-term care homes, it meant front-line team members were expected to take on new roles – such as entertainer, confidant, spiritual care provider, and even, in some cases funeral director – while navigating their own fears and negative media coverage of their workplaces, with limited support or guidance from colleagues or leadership.

This led to an increase in mental health concerns, burnout, high staff absenteeism, and poor team member retention.

Team members were called upon to make rapid modifications to practice in order to best serve the needs of their residents while navigating and respecting constantly changing public health regulations. This left team members with little time and capacity to take care of their own mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual health.

We know the pandemic disproportionately impacted people living and working in long-term care homes. We also know the majority of deaths during the early waves of the pandemic were among long-term care residents, with many being physically separated from the comfort and care of their family and friends during their final moments.

Today, nearly two years following the height of the pandemic, many long-term care homes continue to be affected by it, with dozens of outbreaks occurring each week in homes across Ontario. Making it difficult for staff to see an end to the restrictions, and many feeling helpless because there is no finish line in sight.

Team members working in long-term care homes often feel an increased burden due to the nature of their work and the emotionally intimate relationships they develop with residents. This is in stark contrast to acute care partners where a patient may only be at a healthcare facility for a short-time without the opportunity to develop a close relationship with the person and/or family, friends, and care partners.

 

Moral distress and injury

With so much uncertainty and the need for rapid responses to emergency situations, many team members working in long-term care homes were called upon to act in ways that is inconsistent with their training, experience, and own moral and ethical belief system.

For example, team members recount harrowing stories of having to isolate people living with dementia who simply could not understand what was happening to them, or of trying to explain to distressed family members why they were not allowed an in-person connection with their dying relative.

Research shows these heart-wrenching experiences led to moral distress for many long-term care team members. Moral distress is defined as a feeling of incongruence between what you are required to do, and what your heart and soul are urging you to do. If left unchecked, this feeling can become more severe and lead to “moral injury,” which has often been linked to burnout, trauma response, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Team member well-being is closely related to staff retention. Given the ongoing staffing crisis in long-term care, it is crucial we address moral distress and injury as a targeted strategy to better support our existing workforce and ensure we set up morally safe workplaces to welcome and nurture new team members.

 

Supporting moral healing and moral resilience

When attempting to support healing from “moral distress and injury”, it is first important to acknowledge the feelings and experiences of people working in long-term care homes. Team members must know they are not alone and the situations that placed them at risk of feeling shame and guilt, and of experiencing “moral distress and injury”, are not their fault.

In fact, their feelings are a sign they are good people and quality healthcare workers, who truly care for their residents. They do not have to hold onto these feelings, and experience this soul damage, alone.

The current situation in long-term care homes may be difficult but it is not hopeless. We have learned so much during the past three years. There are evidence-informed strategies to help people move forward, strengthen their moral resilience, and support moral healing even in the context of ongoing uncertainty and restrictions in the workplace.

Providing dedicated time and space in which team members can process their experiences is a crucial part of moral healing. First and foremost, it is important to acknowledge both how and the high rate of resident loss in many long-term care homes.

Government restrictions prevented many homes from being able to honour a deceased resident with the typical rites and ceremonies related to their passing, such as a dignity walk, or draping the person with a dignity quilt. Following the lifting of many restrictions, spiritual care providers in many long-term care homes were able to help team members remember in a meaningful way. If this hasn’t happened yet, it’s not too late.

There are many ways to honour residents who have passed, including:

  • Creating a memory board
  • Tree of Life
  •  Memory gardens
  •  Candlelit ceremony to honour each resident

Scheduling regular, dedicated time to discuss morally complex issues can also be very beneficial for team members, supporting their well-being and creating a cohesive environment. Experiencing management presence and support “on the floors” helps to build a sense of understanding, trust, and teamwork. If possible, set aside time for Moral Office Hour, where staff can speak to a member of the leadership team about any moral tension they may be experiencing. We acknowledge this may be difficult to organize for all roles on all shifts. Some alternatives may include:

  • A Moral Healing Book that is stored in a communal space, for staff to write down their experiences and then colleagues can respond in writing at a later time with their own suggestions.
  •  A text-message system with staff, prompting them to share situations they have had difficulty with on a daily/weekly basis.
  •  Team huddles
  • A buddy system to facilitate one-on-one conversations among peers.

Moving forward, leadership should also think about how to ensure their workplace is morally safe for the existing workforce, as well as ways to share information about moral health when recruiting and onboarding new team members.

In this way, a community of moral resilience can be formed and fostered within the home, with peers assisting one another through difficult situations. Our ultimate aim should be to reduce or even eliminate the risk of moral distress in the workplace. To this end, the authors recently organized the first-ever Think Tank on Moral Distress in LTC at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging in Waterloo, Ontario. We brought together researchers, policy makers, care providers, and knowledge mobilization practitioners to share their own experiences and research. We continue to explore opportunities for future research, clinical practice, and collaborations that will enable us to work closely with front-line staff and leadership to address this important issue in long-term care.

 

Resources

 


Kate Dupuis (PhD, C.Psych) is the Schlegel Innovation Leader in Arts and Aging at Sheridan Centre for Elder Research and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA). Jane Kuepfer (RP, MDiv, PhD) is the Schlegel Specialist in Spirituality and Aging at Conrad Grebel University College and the RIA. Scott Mitchell (BA) is a Knowledge Broker at the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (Ontario CLRI) at the RIA.

Celebrating the Inaugural Person-Centred Language Award Winner: Joy Cardinal Flores

Joy Cardinal Flores and her Approach to Person-Centred Language and Care

By 2031, there are expected to be one million Canadians living with dementia. Despite the growing number of people living with dementia in Canada, mobilizing support against the stigmas associated with dementia has been challenging. The Person-Centred Language (PCL) Initiative is looking to change that. And so are thousands of people across the country.

To date, thousands of people have taken the PCL Pledge and have committed to changing the way we interact with and refer to people living with dementia and other complex mental health conditions.

About the Award

On October 23, 2023, the Ontario Centres for Learning Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (Ontario CLRI) at the RIA, together with Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO), awarded our first-ever Person-Centred Language Award.

With support from the Ontario Long-Term Care Association (OLTCA), this Award was created to recognize the extraordinary efforts of champions who are dedicated to creating supportive and life-affirming environments for residents, family care partners, and team members.

About Joy

Joy Cardinal Flores, a programs therapist at the O’Neill Centre in Toronto, believes that person-centred care has allowed her to build trusting relationships with residents and this has significantly changed how she views her work.  

Joy’s dedication and passion for person-centred language and care shines brightly in her everyday actions. Residents at the O’Neill Centre don’t see Joy as a staff member; they see her as family and her unique bond with residents encapsulates the very essence of PCL.

From a Family Member

“Joy has a wonderful, kind, and empathetic heart, not only when dealing with my dad, but all the other residents she works with. Joy brings a smile to their faces and it’s beautiful to see how she interacts with them. Her name says it all.”

Join the Movement

Thank you, Joy for your unwavering commitment to your work, residents, and community. Thank you for being an example for all of us.

The person-centred language initiative is a united effort that is fueled by people you. Take the pledge today and download your certificate here!

You can also join the conversation online with the hashtag #WordsMatterPCL

Momentum | The Ontario CLRI 2022-2023 Annual Report

 

 

The world as we know it has permanently changed. Forever.

Our 2022-23 Annual Report, Momentum opens with this sentence in a letter addressed to the sector from everyone at the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (Ontario CLRI) and signed by the three Executives at each of our host sites; the Baycrest Academy for Research and Education, the Bruyère Research Institute, and the Schlegel UW Research Institute for Aging.

This letter is for you. 

The impact data outlined in this year’s Annual Report is striking. And it would not have been possible without dedicated partners, team members, and homes across Ontario who put forth significant effort to learn and adapt to new ways of living, working, and caring.

Our 2022-23 Annual Report not only reflects our achievements, but the cumulative efforts of all our collaborators and, most importantly, the incredible individuals who form the heart of Ontario’s long-term care sector. 

At the Ontario CLRI, we have always prioritized rigorous codesign with sector partners to ensure our evidence-informed products and programs are meeting the needs of those who are living in, have loved ones in, and/or are working in LTC. 

 

“The Ontario CLRI offered education to [our team members], who will help to support sustainable change in palliative care at our Home. Amazing team. Patient, helpful, resourceful, and supportive. I can’t say enough about their passion for what they do and how it helps others!”

– LTC Leader and Learner.

 

Guided by the knowledge that long-term care is not merely a place of residence, but an active and vibrant community where innovation thrives, we are proud to share our 2022-23 Annual Report with you today.

The report is available for download in either English or French and we would love to know what you think! Connect with us online by signing up for our newsletter or connecting with us online on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

 

We wish to acknowledge the input and guidance of the Ontario CLRI Provincial Advisory Committee in the creation of this report, which was submitted to the Ministry of Long-Term Care in June 2023.

Ontario Renews Education Fund for Long-Term Care Team Members

The Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (Ontario CLRI) at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) is pleased to announce the renewed funding for enhanced training for direct-care team members in long-term care (LTC). The funds will be distributed through the Personal Support Worker Education Fund in Long-Term Care (PSW Fund) and are provided by the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care.

 

What is the PSW Fund?

The PSW Fund provides tuition and backfill to train LTC team members through virtual and in-person continuing education that develops and fosters a skilled, motivated, and resilient workforce. The PSW Education Fund started in 2017 with more than 21,000 personal support workers and other team members receiving training in LTC homes across the province.

 

What does the PSW Fund offer?

Five education options are available from the fund this year. Learn more about each opportunity below including:

  1. LIVING the Dementia Journey (LDJ)
  2. The Working Mind Long-Term Care (TWM)
  3. One Day: Person-Centred Culture, Making a Difference Every Day
  4. Learning Inter-Professionally Healthcare Accelerator (LIPHA)
  5. Team Essentials

 

Where can I get more information on accessing funding?

LTC homes can enroll online for all training programs. Tuition and backfill pay is available for any team member. Learn more about the fund and program training by visiting the PSW Fund FAQ page.

 


 

Acknowledgements

This work is supported in part by funding from the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care hosted at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA). The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Province.

See you at ‘This is Long-Term Care’!

Join us at OLTCA’s ‘This is Long-Term Care’ Conference!

This is Long-Term Care (TiLTC) Conference: From Innovation to Impact, is back from October 22-24, 2023, at the Beanfield Centre and Hotel X. This is your chance to come and say hi to project teams and leaders from all three Ontario CLRI host centers in our own, dedicated room: 200A.

 

Ontario Renews Education Fund for Essential Long-Term Care Team Members

A smiling long-term care team member.

Personal Support Worker Education Fund Available in 2023-24

Ontario, Canada: The Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) is excited to announce renewed funding for training direct care team members in long-term care. The Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (CLRI) at the RIA will distribute funding for training through the Personal Support Worker Education Fund in Long-Term Care (PWS Fund), funded by the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care.

The PSW Fund provides tuition and backfill to train LTC team members through virtual and in-person continuing education that develops and fosters a skilled, motivated and resilient workforce.

“Ensuring high-quality care for our aging population means investing in team member education and training to support their professional growth and skill development as we navigate the health human resource challenges facing the long-term care sector,” says Tina Mah, executive director of the RIA.

Two education options are available in advance of the official launch of the fund in the summer of 2023:

  • LIVING the Dementia Journey (LDJ)
  • Learning Inter-Professionally Healthcare Accelerator (LIPHA)

LDJ participants gain awareness and understanding of dementia and the people they support who live with it. The RIA’s Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program created LDJ in collaboration with people living with dementia and their care partners.

LIPHA is a simulation, coaching and community platform providing a virtual space with simulated cases and a serious educational game for LTC personal support workers and nurses. This initiative is led by the Ontario CLRI at Baycrest and the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation with support from Launch 57 and the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest.

The PSW Education Fund started in 2017 with more than 21,000 personal support workers and other team members receiving training in LTC homes across the province. Watch for announcements of other program training dates in the coming weeks. Learn more about the fund, or enroll in LDJ or LIPHA online by visiting the PSW Education Fund website.

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About Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging

The Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) is a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and care of older adults. The RIA tackles some of the biggest issues facing an aging population by driving research and innovation to improve education and practice. The RIA develops and shares solutions that make a difference to benefit older adults everywhere.

About Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care

The Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (CLRI) strengthen the quality of life and care for residents across the province. The Ontario CLRI is mandated by the Ministry of Long-Term Care to be a resource for the sector by providing education and sharing research and innovations to enhance the health and well-being of people who live and work in long-term care. The program is funded by the Government of Ontario and hosted at Baycrest Health Sciences, Bruyère and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging.

Media Contact

Noel Gruber

Director, Communications and Public Relations
Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging
noel.gruber@the-ria.ca