Union Villa early adopter of quality program to improve care delivery
August 30, 2018
With today’s residents requiring more support of their daily activities, and providers facing funding and resource limitations, long-term care in Ontario is on the brink of profound change. Union Villa, a highly regarded long-term care home based in Markham, Ont., is leading the charge.
Over the past year, Union Villa has been an early adopter and champion of a vital program to bring technology, in the form of Clinical Support Tools (CSTs), to long-term care homes across Ontario.
This innovative initiative is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), and is being rolled out across the province by Think Research, along with two long-term care associations: AdvantAge Ontario and the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA).
The associations play a strong role in ensuring the continuous spread of the program, which will deliver meaningful benefits for Union Villa residents, families, clinicians, long-term care homes and the system at large, ensuring that residents receive the highest standard of care.
Union Villa, an AdvantAge Ontario member, has already seen success through implementing a new evidence-based CST into their home.
A CST is a decision support tool that enables clinicians to provide individualized and holistic care for residents, from assessment to care planning and beyond. The CSTs provide guidance for clinical practitioners, enable an efficient, paperless work environment and assist in the individualized care planning that greatly impacts a resident’s quality of life.
The CSTs developed as part of this program target six specific clinical conditions, including urinary continence, behavioural symptoms of dementia, hypoglycemia, palliative care, and end of life. The CSTs also integrate with an organizations’ existing health information systems, such as PointClickCare and are tailored to align with individual workflows.
Based on a strategic decision to improve continence, along with a provincial quality indicator related to this area, Union Villa selected the Urinary Continence CST to use at the bedside and as a training tool to inform staff of best practices.
Helping to standardize continence assessments, this new tool outperformed all previous continence tools used by Union Villa, allowing clinicians to identify and also fully address the root causes of incontinence – a level of decision support that previous tools did not provide.
In collaboration with Think Research, Union Villa began planning and implementation in late 2017, with staff training completed in February 2018.
By March they had trained 12 nursing champions and had completed 20 assessments. The tools have been in use at Union Villa now for over 5 months, and in this short time, have already helped to strengthen communication amongst care team members, reduce administrative work, improve assessments, increase efficiency and support informed and structured clinical decision-making.
For residents, the result is an increased quality of care in this fundamental area. Regular quarterly assessments and participation in scheduled toileting programs has dramatically reduced the demoralizing accidents that can negatively impact a resident’s experience within a long-term care home.
Union Villa’s project lead, RAI-MDS/Informatics RPN Mackenzie Ralph, was instrumental in ensuring the uptake and utilization of the tool. She says, “We’ve fully replaced our previous continence assessment tool with Think Research’s Clinical Support Tool. The innovative technology has opened lines of communication among our care team and helped to standardize assessment, as well as other care practices within Union Villa.
She added, “It’s completely changed how we approach continence management. Now, residents, families and caregivers are all speaking the same language.”
Mackenzie Ralph recently presented the outcomes of the project to several long-term care homes in the Greater Toronto Area, with adoption expected to increase as more homes implement CSTs across Ontario.
Building upon this early success, Union Villa also plans to advance to their project’s next phase, which involves implementing the Skin and Wound Management CST under the direction of Eli Vega, Director of Care.
It’s a program that marries the ideals of holistic care with the potential of technology, and partners are delighted with its early success.
Alka Modi, Program Manager and project lead at Think Research, is inspired by the experience of working with Union Villa: “This sector is demanding change and deserves it. The Clinical Support tools are being adopted by leading homes like Union Villa, and this adoption is having incredible impact on the system. With these tools, nurses, personal support workers, administrators and other care staff can spend less time reporting and more time on what matters most – keeping residents healthy and happy.”
Shilpi Majumder, Director of Public Policy at AdvantAge Ontario and a member of the CST Advisory Committee, is also delighted to see early adopters Union Villa take an active role in implementing this innovative tool.
“We have been collaborating with the project partners and our members to spread the uptake of the Clinical Support Tools across the sector. Our members have provided valuable feedback about the process which we’ve brought back to the team and worked with them to facilitate ease of uptake and minimize barriers. The learnings from Union Villa will help other LTC homes implement this program more effectively.”
Union Villa Administrator Roxanne Adams noted the progress on this initiative: “Our staff are committed to providing resident-centred care while enhancing the quality of life for our residents as they age well and live better, one person at a time.
“In collaboration with our partners, we are happy to share our outcomes in order to advance the quality of life for residents living in long-term care homes across Ontario.”