I had the privilege to connect with Matthew Dineen and Courtney Stasiuk a few days ago. Matthew has been the Family Council Chair at Carleton Lodge in Ottawa, Ontario since January 2023. In addition to his role as a caregiver to his wife and council chair within the home, Matthew is also a father, educator, advocate, and teammate in his life outside the home.
Courtney works as a Project Specialist with Behavioural Supports Ontario, Provincial Coordinating Office (PCO). BSO enhances health care services for older adults in Ontario with, or at risk of, responsive behaviours, personal expressions associated with dementia, complex mental health, substance use and/or other neurological conditions. Together, BSO partners with the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research, and Innovation for Long-Term Care (Ontario CLRI) at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) to co-lead the Person-Centred Language initiative. The Ontario CLRI partners with the province's long-term care homes, training the workforce and sharing research and resources to address priority issues and enhance the quality of life and care for residents and staff in the face of an aging population, rising care complexity, and the need for workforce excellence. BSO and the Ontario CLRI at the RIA work to educate long-term care home staff, caregivers, and councils about person-centred language in several ways, one of which being presentations.
In April of this year FCO’s Education Manager, Cathleen Edwards partnered with Esther Russell, Project Manager from Ontario CLRI at the RIA to give an informative presentation on Person-Centred Language to Carleton Lodge Family Council. Matthew and several other Carleton Lodge Family Council members were engaged in the presentation, and by the end of the day the group had taken the Person-Centred Language Pledge, renewing their commitment to the cause.
I say a renewed commitment since the presentation by Cathleen and Esther was not the first time Carleton Lodge had heard about Person-Centred Language. Thanks to many incredible resources and tools for implementation that are already available, the Person-Centred Language initiative is becoming more common knowledge throughout long-term care communities especially amongst Family Councils. Matthew and his Council colleagues had decided they would take the Person-Centred Language Pledge and work toward implementing PCL throughout their home back in the Fall of 2022.
Carleton Lodge Family Council has been an active and dedicated group for many years, with some members continuing their work in the home after the passing of their loved ones. There is a strong sense of community and a desire to always strive toward an increased quality of life and care amongst those who live, work, and care at Carleton Lodge. Because of this, the Family Council not only saw the importance of using Person-Centred Language but wanted to play an active role in implementing the initiative throughout their home. Matthew shared with me that his colleagues at Carleton Lodge felt strongly that implementation needed to not only be informational, but also be thoughtful, dedicated, and ongoing. Their plan included potential methods of implementation, a timeline, and status updates. They created a wonderful and powerful tool!
Carleton Lodge Family Council had to shift their implementation timeline following the retirement announcement of their home’s administrator. They are awaiting a meeting with the incoming administrator this Fall, and are hopeful that they will be able to continue on with their plan within this calendar year. Until then, the council continues to work toward Person-Centred Language by reviewing resources and discussing different PCL related themes at their monthly meetings. They have ordered specialty frames to display informative posters, and decided which key locations in the home they will hang them in. They are also hoping to engage the home’s Resident Council in their work.
It was great to hear from Matthew and to find out more about the ongoing work of Carleton Lodge Family Council. It is a significant piece of work and one of many ways that Family Council members create community and foster warmth and safety in their homes. Courtney and her team will continue to provide support and resources to councils, including Carleton Lodge, as they do this work.
I look forward to reconnecting with Matthew and Courtney in a few months to find out how implementation is going at Carleton Lodge and what new resources are available to support this work.
If you would like to learn more about the Person-Centred Language Initiative, you can find resources and contact information below:
Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO)
Ontario Centres for Learning, Research, and Innovation in Long-Term Care:
If you would like to meet with a member of our team to learn more about Person-Centred Language, or to schedule a presentation for your Family Council, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org