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Providence Healthcare
Providence Healthcare

New Developments

Everything you need to know about pressure injuries

October 2018

Our bodies were made to move. When we sit or lie down in the same position for a long period of time, we’re at risk for developing pressure injuries – damage to skin that covers bony areas of the body (ankles, back, tail bone, elbows, heels) and tissue that can be painful and require additional time and support to heal. Here’s what you need to know:

How do pressure injuries develop?

Pressure injuries, also known as pressure ulcers or bed sores, are more likely to form if a person is in bed, a chair or wheelchair for a long time without moving or is unable to move around or change position easily. People can be at increased risk if they’re older, immobile, malnourished or have certain medical conditions such as dementia, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, spinal cord injury or neuropathy.

How can I prevent getting a pressure injury?

One of the best ways to prevent pressure injuries is by reducing/relieving pressure on at-risk areas by regularly moving around. Changing position at least every two hours keeps blood flowing to those spots on your body that are under pressure. Proper nutrition and hydration are also very important; a healthy, balanced diet with adequate amounts of protein is important for both prevention and wound healing. Using pressure-relieving mattresses and cushions, improving mobility (physical therapy, decreased use of sedatives) and providing proper skin care can also help reduce the possibility of developing pressure injuries.

How is my care team helping protect me?

The prevention and proper treatment of pressure injuries is important to all of us at the Houses – it’s so important that we included it in our quality improvement plan. Our wound care expert, Susan Chandler, and practice consultant, Vianai Tropiano, have been working hard to update our wound assessment and treatment protocols based on best practice guidelines. They’re educating staff, conducting wound care rounds, purchasing dressings and making sure we are doing our absolute best to prevent and heal pressure injuries when they are identified. We’re excited to share that we have also recently been able to purchase twenty new therapeutic, pressure-relieving mattresses thanks to a grant from Woman in Philanthropy at Providence.

We want our residents to feel as comfortable in the Houses as you would be in your own homes, and part of that means keeping you injury-free. That means that we’re always looking for new ways to prevent pressure injuries so that you stay as healthy as possible.

Have more questions?

Any member of your care team will be able to answer questions or concerns you may have about the prevention and treatment of pressure injuries.

We're working to keep residents safe

June 2018

Falling shouldn’t be something you worry about when you’re at home. But for residents in long-term care homes, falling is a big risk – they can cause serious injuries that have the potential to greatly reduce quality of life. To help keep residents at the Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence as safe as possible, our teams are working on several projects that focus specifically on reducing the chance of falling. In this newsletter, we're sharing information about our staff and physician focus groups and our staff shift change handovers.

Focus Groups

Melissa Goddard, OT Reg. (Ont), collaborative learning specialist, is no stranger to the negative impact falls can have on someone’s health – her grandmother never recovered after a fall at the assisted living home she was at. So when she was asked to lead focus groups in the Houses and talk to staff about their ideas for reducing falls, Melissa jumped at the chance.

“This is a really exciting project because the changes we make will have a real impact on our residents and will help keep them safer,” she said.

Over the last month, Melissa has led talks with staff and sent surveys to physicians in the Houses to gather feedback on keeping residents from falling. The suggestions will be analyzed for themes that will support recommendations for new strategies and processes for reducing falls.

Falls-Focused Staff Handovers

Sharon Bissember, registered nurse, is part of the team working on designing new ‘falls boards’ that will be installed in the nursing stations in each House. These boards will be used by staff to identify residents who are at a higher-than-average risk of falling and will be a central hub at shift handover so that falls are front and centre of mind.

“We know that falls are a significant issue in our resident population,” Sharon said. “Having a conversation every day about what staff need to be watching out for and who they need to check in on more frequently is just one of the initiatives we’re working on to keep residents safe.”

Reducing falls in the Houses is one of the goals on our 2018-19 Quality Improvement Plan. Read the full plan online. We invite you to share your feedback and connect with us if you have questions.

Behavioural Support Outreach Team provides recommendations to Houses


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.