Thank you for your interest in supporting the care of our older adults in long-term care (LTC). Ontario’s LTC sector is a collection of dedicated and caring individuals who support quality care for all residents. It is important for you to understand the culture, values, and expectations in LTC homes before you begin working or volunteering.
This orientation is a first step to get you ready to work in LTC in a variety of roles, from support aides to PSWs and nurses. Completion time for all material on this page is approximately one to two hours.
This orientation is intended to support the orientation you will receive from a LTC home and contains both Ontario CLRI and external/partner resources. Additional resources will continue to be added. If you have any questions or suggestions for content, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use the following links to skip down to a section.
Section One: Foundational Knowledge
Section Two: Communication and Person-Centred Care
Section Three: Providing Support in Long-Term Care
Section Four: Personal Care
Clinical care education is also available for health professionals redeployed to care for LTC residents:
What is Long-Term Care?
~5 Minutes | In Ontario, there are more than 620 LTC homes with an average of 126 residents each. Residents are cared for by LTC teams that include PSWs, nurses, recreation therapists, and food service workers. LTC homes are regulated by the Ministry of Long-Term Care and the Long-Term Care Homes Act. Please read this short summary to get a better understanding of what LTC homes offer residents.
Residents’ Bill of Rights
~5-20 Minutes | All LTC homes in Ontario are governed by the Long-Term Care Homes Act. The Ontario Residents’ Bill of Rights is part of this Act. The Act makes sure that residents get safe and consistent resident-centred care in settings where residents feel at home, are treated with respect, and have the support and services they need to thrive. Please explore the following resources to learn more about the rights of residents in LTC.
What is COVID-19?
~10 Minutes | Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory infection that often shows up as flu-like symptoms that can be mild or severe. Residents in LTC homes are likely to be older, frailer, and may have chronic lung or neurological diseases. COVID-19 can spread more easily from one resident or team members to another. Please read the following information and guidance provided by the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
~15 Minutes | It is important to follow effective infection control practices when working in LTC homes. The infection control resources linked here give general information about hand hygiene and use of personal protective equipment (PPE). This information is based on current best practices and will support your new LTC role but it does not replace the infection control information provided to you by your LTC home.
Team Communication in LTC
~10 Minutes | Learning and practicing effective communication techniques may lead to better care for residents and more fulfilling and effective work for care providers in LTC. The resource below will suggest some tips for communicating with residents while considering that each individual may or may not suffer from age-related impairments that impact communication such as hearing and vision loss, or dementia.
Communicating with Residents during COVID-19
~5 Minutes | During the pandemic, residents are isolated from family/friends and may experience increased anxiety and/or confusion. The use of PPE may also limit residents living with dementia from connecting with team members. These resources will support you in communicating with residents living with dementia while wearing PPE.
Supporting Communication with Families
~5 Minutes | Helping residents connect with their families during the COVID-19 pandemic is absolutely critical. Never before have residents in long-term care and retirement communities felt more isolated and removed from normal life. The following resources are designed to support LTC homes and team members to effectively communicate with family members and use technology to support communication between residents and their family members. scheduled video calls between residents and their loved ones.
Communication at End-of-Life
~5 Minutes |Transitioning to end-of-life care can be a difficult time for everyone, and it is crucial that LTC teams develop communication skills to foster therapeutic relationships with residents and their families and friends. The resources below will help you understand the difference between palliative and end-of-life care and help you build the skills to navigate conversations with team members and with residents and their loved ones. The webinars will support you in facilitating communication at end-of-life, by offering comfort, calmness, and strength.
~5 – 50 Minutes | How we speak with and about people is really important in ensuring appropriate, respectful and inclusive care. Person-centred language should be used when talking to or about people who live and work in LTC. The e-course below will teach you how to use person-centred language.
Getting to Know a Resident
~5 Minutes | When you are working or volunteering in LTC, it is important to take the time to get to know individual residents to engage in meaningful relationships and deliver quality care. The following resources can be used to help you build these meaningful relationships quickly.
Getting to Know Indigenous Residents
Supporting Residents Living with Dementia
~10 Minutes | In LTC, over 60% of residents have a dementia diagnosis. As a result, it is important for individuals working or volunteering in LTC to have an understanding of how to support residents living with dementia. When you are working in LTC, you must follow the long-term care or retirement home’s policy about if or how you can support residents living with dementia. Please use the following resources to support you in interacting with residents living with dementia and support them in isolating themselves in their rooms.
Supporting Mobility in Long-Term Care
~5-45 Minutes | It is essential to understand how you can safely support residents living with mobility issues in LTC. The resource below will provide information on lifts and transfers and you will learn how to support a resident to stand from a chair and walk with or without a walker help a resident using a wheelchair. Please check with your LTC home manager before supporting a resident with mobility issues.
Recreational Activities in LTC
~5 Minutes | In an effort to minimize boredom and loneliness for residents living in LTC homes during this challenging time, we’ve put together a list of online resources for recreation team members to use in programming for residents. A lot has changed about day-to-day life for residents and we hope this list will provide some fun and relief.
COVID-19 poses a significant challenge across the province and is putting increased pressure on those working in long-term care. 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. It is important to remember to practice self-care. Anyone working in long-term care has free access to Wellness Together Canada and Homewood Health mental health resources.
~5 minutes | Oral health is important to the quality of care and life for residents living in LTC. Oral health supports nutrition and can help identify various medical conditions. These resources will show you the importance of oral health and how to provide some support to the LTC care team. Please follow the guidance provided by the LTC home before supporting a resident with personal care.
~15 minutes | Personal hygiene care is important to the quality of life and health of LTC residents. These resources will prepare you to support residents with all aspects of bathing. Please note that videos may be specific to hospital environments but general practices can be used in LTC. Please follow the guidance provided by the LTC home before supporting a resident with personal care.
~10 minutes | Residents in LTC will have different dressing and grooming needs. This resource provides guidance on how to support residents living with dementia to dress and groom in a way that promotes privacy, independence, and safety. Please follow the guidance provided by the LTC home before supporting a resident with personal care.
Support at Mealtime
~10 minutes | Mealtime is a highlight of the day for many residents and critical for health (nutrition, safety, and social opportunity). These resources will help you to safely support mealtime with residents and remind you how to support a safe and rewarding mealtime.
The Ontario CLRI is funded by the Government of Ontario and hosted at Baycrest Health Sciences, Bruyère, and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging. This work is supported in part with funding from the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Province.