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Changing the Way We Care Conference Recap!

June 21, 2017

Last week’s Changing the Way We Care: Innovation & Transformation conference was a huge success! Together with over 50 Family Council members, Long-Term Care Home staff, and other LTC stakeholders we learned, networked, networked and celebrated over the course of two amazing days. We were thrilled by the enthusiasm, energy, and thirst for learning that everyone brought with them to the conference. We’ll be posting materials from the conference in the coming days. Read on for a recap of the amazing conference!

We kicked things off with a presentation by Peter Kaftarian, Assistant Deputy Minister Health Capital Division Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, on the Enhanced Long-Term Care Home Renewal Strategy. Peter gave an excellent presentation on the work being done to update older Long-Term Care Homes and how Family Councils can be involved in the process. Peter is a compelling and humourous speaker and we were thrilled to have him present. Next up was Christine Elliot, Patient Ombudsman, who presented Integrated Patient Care: Why Every Experience Matters. Christine spoke passionately about the important role of the Patient Ombudsman and her learnings thus far. Her overview of the Patient Ombudsman complaint process was informative and easy to understand. We know it will be of great relevance to Family Councils. We appreciated her thoughtful and engaging presentation.

After a fantastic lunch full of engaging conversations, we moved into the afternoon sessions. Jodeme Goldhar, The Change Foundation, The Change Foundation’s Executive Lead of Strategy and Innovation, presented Spot Light on Family Councils and Residents’ Councils – Challenges and Innovations. This session presented, for the first time, results from both the first and second phases of the Change Foundation’s Councils Project. Jodeme shared with us the key results and learnings from the project. The phase two reports will be available later this fall, but Jodeme’s presentation will be available shortly on our website so you can get a sneak peek of the highlights. FCO was thrilled to be involved in the project and thanks Jodeme for her wonderful presentation. It sparked lots of conversation throughout the conference!

The breakout sessions that afternoon provided attendees with an opportunity to take part in deeper dives on various topics: 7 steps to a super LGBTQ inclusive community by Senior Pride Network; Elder Abuse Awareness by NICE (The National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly); Using Technology by ETAG; and Family Council Networks by the LHIN 4 Network Chair Bob Gadsby and LHIN 11 Network Chair Doreen Rocque. The breakout sessions provided excellent opportunities for learning and discussion. Thank you to all of the breakout session presenters!

At our Banquet Dinner that evening, we announced the winner of this year’s Outstanding Family Council Member Award: Sharon Crann of Hillsdale Estates Family Council! Sharon’s nomination was endorsed by over 20 people, including both Family Council members and Long-Term Care Home staff. She was nominated for her commitment to building and strengthening the Council membership, her dedication to create positive changes and to celebrate successes, and her focus on building collaborative relationships with families, residents, and staff. Nominators commended Sharon’s work to support all residents and families of Hillsdale Estates:

“In the time that my wife has been a resident at Hillsdale Estates, I have marvelled at the leadership exhibit by Sharon Crann in taking the Estates Family Council to a position of strength and leadership for the betterment of the residents.” – Family Council Member

“Sharon is the most effective Family Council President I have ever worked with. She encourages the families to work with the leadership team to support the Home so we can provide the best care possible.  She dedicates so much of her own time to support other family members as well.  Her mom is a resident in the home and she is able to separate her role as a daughter from her role as Family Council president.   She is so passionate about getting families involved and being part of the home’s team!” – Long Term Care Home staff

Sharon truly embodies the qualities of an Outstanding Family Council member and it was our honour to present her with this year’s award. Congratulations, Sharon!

The Banquet Dinner also featured fantastic food and entertainment by local magician Ben Train. Ben thrilled and entertained us with his tricks and illusions. How he managed to correctly guess every card, tell what word someone was thinking of, and have a participant exactly reproduce a drawing will never be known but we are sure that everyone had a fantastic time. Thanks, Ben!

The second day was no less informative and engaging. Day two kicked off with Jennifer Schipper, Health Quality Ontario (HQO), discussing Family engagement and improving health care quality. Jennifer’s presentation was an excellent overview of emerging trends related to engaging people with lived experience across the sectors and the work Health Quality Ontario is doing to bring the voices of patients, residents, families and others to the forefront in shaping the quality agenda. The presentation sparked conversation about meaningful engagement and quality of life in Long-Term Care. We appreciate Jennifer’s thoughtful presentation!

After lunch, we discussed Why Just Putting Up a Flyer Doesn’t Work: Innovative Approaches to Recruitment. Presented by FCO’s own Samantha Peck, Director of Communications & Education, the interactive sessions discussed how to respond to common reasons why people don’t join a Family Council and how to engage with and recruit new members. Family Council recruitment is a common challenge but we came up with many possible solutions! To wrap up the conference, we held learning circle and networking sessions. Learning circles are a mechanism for organizing and honouring the collective wisdom of the group and forming cumulative knowledge. The learning circles were divided into six topics relevant to Family Councils:

1 .   Technology

2.    Research

3.    Peer support

4.    Projects

5.    Family Council structure

6.    Supporting Families

Attendees had the chance to reflect on the conference sessions and learnings so far as they discussed each of these topics and shared their knowledge and wisdom. Many people mentioned how much they enjoyed the learning circles and appreciated the opportunity to share their experiences and expertise. Recap documents from the learning circles will be made available on our website shortly so stay tuned!

As we always do, we ended the conference with an open networking sessions. Everyone had the opportunity to share updates, challenges, and successes with the group. Then, it was time to thank everyone and say goodbye. A huge thank you to everyone who attended and presented at the conference. It truly was an incredible two days and we all learned an incredible amount from the presenters and each other.

Stay tuned for presentation materials and photos from the conference!

Until next time,

- Samantha and Lorraine, FCO staff