Approximately 75 per cent of our residents cope with some type of cognitive impairment caused by dementia. Over the past year, we have supported our staff through education and training on new approaches and best practices in therapeutic/restorative care interventions. We also established partnerships with the Behavioural Support Outreach Team (BSOT) at Baycrest, as well as the Psychogeriatric Outreach Programs (POP) at The Scarborough Hospital (General Site).
Once a week, a member of the BSOT team is onsite at the Houses to observe and give recommendations to staff on how to manage challenging behaviours exhibited by a resident resulting from their dementia. Through POP, staff receives assessments and reports with recommendations on how to manage residents who show signs of agitation, aggression, depression, resistance to care, psychotic symptoms or other indications of mental illness.
We also opened an interactive Sensory Room for staff and families to use to relax and calm agitated residents.
Another significant enhancement to our care at the Houses has been the development of end-of-life protocols, with staff participating in training with external organizations like the Hospice Association of Ontario. For families spending their last days with a loved one at Providence, we opened a new Family Lounge, with a fireplace, club chairs, coffee maker/ tea, etc. We now provide Care Packages to families filled with items such as a CD player and CDs with soothing music, toiletries, cozy socks, and electric candles. Staff members also call families within a few weeks of a resident’s death to check in on how the family is coping.