Your Voice

Apr 8, 2014

DARLENE PIDZAMECKY

My regular position is that of a Specialist, Program Support on the corporate Quality and Program Development Team whose mandate is “Partnering with the Region of Peel Long Term Care Centres to advance the divisional mandate, goals and priorities.”

I am presently on a special project, working on the Conceptual Plan for the Redevelopment of the Peel Manor site, the Region’s oldest Long Term Care home, reaching the end of its useful life due to aging infrastructure. We have the exciting opportunity to plan for the aging population of the next 20-40 years, and design a campus model that will include long term care and community support services in a hub and spoke model (subject to Regional Council approval of the recommended design in June 2014).

WHAT IS A CHALLENGE YOUR FACILITY HAS HAD TO OVERCOME?

From my perspective, one of the biggest challenges for our municipal homes is to approach resident care and customer service from a “divisional vs. individual home” perspective. Traditionally our 5 homes have functioned in “silos”, each within its own 4 walls. Solutions to concerns were developed at the local level, and often there was a reluctance to share best practices across the division.

Our divisional Quality and Program Development team has focussed its efforts on bringing the divisional perspective to activities, whether it be regulatory compliance, staff education, CQI, purchasing and contract management, or department specific activities like menu planning within dietary. This shift in focus has allowed for synergies, effective use of limited staff resources, the application of divisional best practices across all homes, and a collective morale shift that encourages a team approach to problem solving. When a problem comes up at one home, it typically eventually surfaces at one or all homes. For example, bed entrapment and bed testing became a focus on one home’s efforts first (after a compliance issue) and quickly, the our team lead a divisional approach to a bed entrapment program using a consistent approach and technique, and then ultimately to an initiative designed to remove as many bed rails at the home as possible – an initiative called “going off the rails”.

IN YOUR FACILITY, WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Our municipality is a real leader in the LTC industry and has taken many great opportunities to learn from our failures, share our successes with the broader Peel LTC sector and neighboring municipalities in particular and advance best practices into the future.

ADD A FEW WORDS (OF WISDOM, HUMOUR ANY OTHER KIND) TO YOUR LTC COLLEAGUES?

Often I read articles that really resonate with me, particularly as it relates to the field I’m in and the trajectory towards old age that we are all inevitably in. I share small missives with my colleagues that remind us of our struggles with our clientele in LTC and how these will become realities in our own lives soon, as the baby boomer generation ages. In a recent article in the Ottawa Citizen, David Sherman says “The Peter Pan generation, who never thought they would age, might find themselves crash-landing when the reality of old age stoops their shoulders, impairs their hearing and eats away at their joints. For many, 60 is not the new 40. It is 60.” (April 30,2014). How very profound.

Also, on a more humorous note, we had a recent upgrade to our computers at work and the implementation of encrypted USB devices. My USB was giving me grief one day, and the message came up “The administrator cannot be rescued. In order to enable administrative operations you must recycle your device; all data will be lost”. Seeing the humour in a tech challenging moment, I was thinking of Administrator in the context of our homes’ “Administrators”, I found this humorous.

The one at the “helm” of the home often deals with so many daily struggles, and often must feel like they cannot be “rescued and takes the fall for the team when we lose perspective or fail to serve our clients and customers in some way.

Filed under: Your Voice
comments powered by Disqus