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Long-term care homes (LTCHs) were disproportionately affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, creating stressful circumstances for LTCH employees, residents, and their care partners. Team huddles may improve staff outcomes and enable a supportive climate. Nurse practitioners (NPs) have a multifaceted role in LTCHs, including facilitating implementation of new practices. Informed by a community-based participatory approach to research, this mixed-methods study aimed to develop and evaluate a toolkit for implementing NP-led huddles in an LTCH. The toolkit consists of two sections. Section one describes the huddles’ purpose and implementation strategies. Section two contains six scripts to guide huddle discussions. Acceptability of the intervention was evaluated using a quantitative measure (Treatment Acceptability Questionnaire) and through qualitative interviews with huddle participants. Descriptive statistics and manifest content analysis were used to analyse quantitative and qualitative data. The project team rated the toolkit as acceptable. Qualitative findings provided evidence on design quality, limitations, and recommendations for future huddles.
Long-term care (LTC) residents often experience poor quality of life (QOL). Culture change has been proposed as an approach to improve resident centredness in care, thereby aiming to enhance residents' QOL. This article reports on one of the findings of the implementation of an organisational culture change approach, Neighbourhood Team Development (NTD). A retrospective cohort design was used to explore resident QOL scores. The sample included 232 residents across six Ontario LTC homes. Quantitative data were collected through the Resident Assessment Instrument–Minimum Data Set 2.0 (RAI-MDS 2.0) and the interRAI Self-Report QOL Survey for Long Term Care Facilities (SQOL-LTCF). Results demonstrated that culture change interventions, such as NTD, improve residents' QOL scores (+3.5 points, p = 0.0034). This article also adds to knowledge on the use of the SQOL-LTCF as a standardised assessment tool to measure QOL in LTC, and provides rationale to include resident QOL as a key outcome measure in quality improvement initiatives and care modelling in LTC homes.
As they near the end of life, long term care (LTC) residents often experience unmet needs and unnecessary hospital transfers, a reflection of suboptimal advance care planning (ACP). We applied the knowledge-to-action framework to identify shared barriers and solutions to ultimately improve the process of ACP and improve end-of-life care for LTC residents. We held a 1-day workshop for LTC residents, families, directors/administrators, ethicists, and clinicians from Manitoba, Alberta, and Ontario. The workshop aimed to identify: (1) shared understandings of ACP, (2) barriers to respecting resident wishes, and (3) solutions to better respect resident wishes. Plenary and group sessions were recorded and thematic analysis was performed. We identified four themes: (1) differing provincial frameworks, (2) shared challenges, (3) knowledge products, and 4) ongoing ACP. Theme 2 had four subthemes: (i) lacking clarity on substitute decision maker (SDM) identity, (ii) lacking clarity on the SDM role, (iii) failing to share sufficient information when residents formulate care wishes, and (iv) failing to communicate during a health crisis. These results have informed the development of a standardized ACP intervention currently being evaluated in a randomized trial in three Canadian provinces.
Supportive housing, including retirement homes and assisted living, is increasingly touted as a suitable living option for Canadian older adults. This scoping review describes the nature and content of studies that explore underlying factors that motivate older adults to relocate to supportive housing. We conducted a search of PubMed, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Web of Science, and PsycINFO, which identified 34 articles for review. Articles reviewed employed a variety of methods and guiding theoretical frameworks, of which the push and pull framework appeared to be most common. This review suggests that health and functional deficits are important reasons for relocation to supportive housing for older adults. Further longitudinal data are required to more comprehensively describe medical and social determinants for relocation and its consequences, in order to better describe this growing population and better align policies with the needs of older adults contemplating or undergoing relocation.
La pandémie de la COVID-19 et l’état d’urgence publique qui en a découlé ont eu des répercussions significatives sur les personnes âgées au Canada et à travers le monde. Il est impératif que le domaine de la gérontologie réponde efficacement à cette situation. Dans la présente déclaration, les membres du conseil d’administration de l’Association canadienne de gérontologie/Canadian Association on Gerontology (ACG/CAG) et ceux du comité de rédaction de La Revue canadienne du vieillissement/Canadian Journal on Aging (RCV/CJA) reconnaissent la contribution des membres de l’ACG/CAG et des lecteurs de la RCV/CJA. Les auteurs exposent les voies complexes par lesquelles la COVID-19 affecte les personnes âgées, allant du niveau individuel au niveau populationnel. Ils préconisent une approche impliquant des équipes collaboratives pluridisciplinaires, regroupant divers champs de compétences, et différentes perspectives et méthodes d’évaluation de l’impact de la COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent state of public emergency have significantly affected older adults in Canada and worldwide. It is imperative that the gerontological response be efficient and effective. In this statement, the board members of the Canadian Association on Gerontology/L’Association canadienne de gérontologie (CAG/ACG) and the Canadian Journal on Aging/La revue canadienne du vieillissement (CJA/RCV) acknowledge the contributions of CAG/ACG members and CJA/RCV readers. We also profile the complex ways that COVID-19 is affecting older adults, from individual to population levels, and advocate for the adoption of multidisciplinary collaborative teams to bring together different perspectives, areas of expertise, and methods of evaluation in the COVID-19 response.
The prevention and management of dementia in Canada is at a crossroads. Despite the low diagnosis rates, the number of persons living with dementia continues to increase. Yet, Canada’s health care policies have resulted in more people living with dementia living at home, and with most of their care being provided by family, friends, and significant others. This Policy Note provides an overview of a joint submission from the Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association (CGNA) and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology. This article outlines the background and recommendations in five key areas of dementia care in Canada: health system resources, education and training of health providers, housing, care partners, and the integration of health and social supports. Based on these five key areas, a number of health and social policy interventions are discussed.
Our pilot study evaluated the feasibility, effectiveness, and implementation of a group-based lifestyle-integrated functional exercise (Mi-LiFE) program for older adults in an interprofessional primary care practice. A physical therapist taught participants how to integrate strength and balance activities into daily routines during one individual and four group sessions, and two follow-up phone calls. Feasibility outcomes were recruitment, adherence, and retention over 6 months. Physical activity (PA) (accelerometer, International Physical Activity Questionnaire [IPAQ]), Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), and health-related quality of life (EuroQol Five-Dimensional Questionnaire with 3 Levels [EQ5D-3L]) were evaluated at baseline and 6 months. Of the 123 eligible individuals, 39 per cent participated and 61 per cent were not interested or unreachable. Forty-eight participants (mean ± standard deviation [SD] age = 81 ± 5 years; body mass index [BMI] = 28 ± 5 kg/m2; 60% women; moderate-to-vigorous PA = 49 ± 87 minutes/week) enrolled. Four participants withdrew prior to intervention. Thirty-two participants (67%) were retained at follow-up. Daily diary-documented adherence was 50 per cent at 6 months, and 77 per cent attended more than four sessions. No statistically significant changes in moderate-to-vigorous PA and SPPB outcomes were observed; yet self-reported strength and balance PA and quality of life significantly improved at follow-up. The Mi-LiFE program is feasible with acceptable recruitment and attendance rates alongside modifications to address retention and adherence challenges. These findings inform the feasibility of future pragmatic exercise programs in primary care for older adults.
This study determines the prevalence of inadequate micronutrient intakes consumed by long-term care (LTC) residents. This cross-sectional study was completed in thirty-two LTC homes in four Canadian provinces. Weighed and estimated food and beverage intake were collected over 3 non-consecutive days from 632 randomly selected residents. Nutrient intakes were adjusted for intra-individual variation and compared with the Dietary Reference Intakes. Proportion of participants, stratified by sex and use of modified (MTF) or regular texture foods, with intakes below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) or Adequate Intake (AI), were identified. Numbers of participants that met these adequacy values with use of micronutrient supplements was determined. Mean age of males (n 197) was 85·2 (sd 7·6) years and females (n 435) was 87·4 (sd 7·8) years. In all, 33 % consumed MTF; 78·2 % (males) and 76·1 % (females) took at least one micronutrient pill. Participants on a MTF had lower intake for some nutrients (males=4; females=8), but also consumed a few nutrients in larger amounts than regular texture consumers (males=4; females =1). More than 50 % of participants in both sexes and texture groups consumed inadequate amounts of folate, vitamins B6, Ca, Mg and Zn (males only), with >90 % consuming amounts below the EAR/AI for vitamin D, E, K, Mg (males only) and K. Vitamin D supplements resolved inadequate intakes for 50–70 % of participants. High proportions of LTC residents have intakes for nine of twenty nutrients examined below the EAR or AI. Strategies to improve intake specific to these nutrients are needed.
In long-term care facilities (LTCF), registered nurses (RNs) perform both clinical and supervisory roles as part of a team aiming to provide high-quality care to residents. The residents have several co-morbidities and complex care needs. Unfortunately, new RNs receive minimal preparation in gerontology and supervisory experience during their program, leading to low retention rates and affecting resident outcomes. This qualitative study explored factors that influence supervisory performance of new RNs in LTCF from the perspective of 24 participants from Ontario, Canada. Data were collected through individual interviews, followed by a directed content analysis. Three levels of influences were identified: personal influences, organizational influences, and external influences. Each level presented with sub-elements, further describing the factors that impact the supervisory performance of the new RN. To retain new RNs in LTC, organizations must provide additional gerontological education and mentoring for new RNs to flourish in their supervisory roles.
This study investigated the state of gerontology content in health and social service education programs in Ontario, and readiness indicators for change among administrators and faculty. We conducted a survey of teaching faculty (n = 100) and deans or directors (n = 56) of 89 education programs, which revealed mixed evidence on readiness for change. Most respondents thought their programs were adequate but needed enhancement. However, they were unaware of published gerontological competencies with which to evaluate their curricula. Beliefs about capacity for change varied, with half the participants indicating that their programs had sufficient faculty expertise in gerontology and geriatrics. Factors influencing readiness for change include lack of gerontological expertise; need for institutional and management support; need for additional teaching resources; and recognizing the need for change. There is an opportunity, by committing resources and time, to capitalize on the faculty and administrators who thought their programs should improve.
Heart failure (HF) affects up to 20 per cent of residents in long-term care (LTC) and is associated with substantial morbidity, mortality, and health service utilization. Our study objective was to formulate recommendations on implementing HF care processes in LTC. A three-phase and iterative stakeholder consultation process, guided by expert panel input, was employed to develop recommendations on implementing care processes for HF in LTC. This article presents the results of the third phase, which consisted of a series of interdisciplinary workshops. We developed 17 recommendations. Key elements of these recommendations focus on improving interprofessional communication and improving HF-related knowledge among all LTC stakeholders. Engaging frontline staff, including personal support workers, was stated as an essential component of all recommendations. System-level recommendations include improving communication between LTC homes and acute care and other external health service providers, and developing facility-wide interventions to reduce dietary sodium intake and increase physical activity.
A systematic review of the literature was conducted to identify effective approaches to preventing and addressing abuse and neglect of older adults within health care settings in Canada. The review was conducted using databases searched from January 2000–April-May 2013. Additionally, expert panel members submitted article citations from personal archives. Two research associates (NRA) screened each title and abstract for inclusion. After inter-rater reliability was determined between the NRAs (Kappa score of 0.76), the records were divided, appraised, and data extracted independently. The review resulted in 62 studies that focused on identifying, assessing, and responding to abuse and neglect of older adults; education, prevention, and health promotion strategies; and organizational and system-level supports to prevent and respond to abuse and neglect. Abuse and neglect of older adults remains under-explored in terms of evidence-based studies; consequently, further research in all of the areas described in the results is needed.
Quality of life and well-being of older patients in chronic care facilities is often determined by their relationships with nurses. The authors developed and tested a scale to assess patients’ views of what matters most when relating to nurses. Based on the humanistic nursing theory by Paterson and Zderad (1988), 69 items were created and tested with a sample of 40 patients, resulting in refinement of a scale with 24 items. This scale was factor analysed on responses from 249 patients residing in five facilities in Ontario, Canada. The Humanistic Relationship Importance Scale demonstrated strong internal consistency, stability, and reliability with a five-factor solution (α = .87). Construct validity was supported through factual identification. This scale is a valid measure of patients’ perspectives of a nurse-patient relationship in chronic care and can be used to measure health professionals’ relationships with their older patients and evaluate interventions to enhance relational care.
Heart failure (HF) is common among long-term care (LTC) residents, and may account for 40 per cent of acute-care transfers. Canadian Cardiovascular Society HF guidelines endorse standard therapies; yet LTC residents are less likely to receive treatment. This qualitative study employed focus groups to explore perceptions, from 18 physicians and nurse practitioners in three Ontario homes, on HF care practices and challenges. For example, participants reported challenges with HF diagnostic skills and procedural knowledge. They also identified the need for interprofessional collaboration and role clarification to improve HF care and outcomes. To address these challenges, multimodal interventions and bedside teaching are required. Leadership was viewed as essential to improve HF care. Several concerns arose regarding knowledge gaps and clinical deficits among primary-care providers who manage heart failure in LTC residents. Multimodal, clinically focused educational and interprofessional solutions are needed to improve HF care in long-term care.
Research on the relationships between health care aides (HCAs) and families of clients has been situated mainly in long-term care settings and includes scant findings about the perceptions of HCAs. Based on the findings of a larger qualitative study using a grounded theory approach, this paper addresses the topic of HCA–family relationships in complex continuing care (CCC). In-depth individual interviews with eight HCAs and a follow-up focus group with HCAs from three CCC facilities were analysed. Building relationships with families entailed “being there for them and their relatives”, while maintaining relationships involved “dealing with disappointments”. Factors influencing building and maintaining HCA–family relationships included “having supportive team members”, “having resources available”, and “functioning within care-team hierarchies”. The findings highlight the importance of minimizing the unit and organizational factors that disrupt HCA–family relationships.
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