Critique & Reflection: The Butterfly Model of Care

by C.L., FCO Placement Student

As a field placement student at Family Council Ontario, I have attended several webinars on the Butterfly Model to long term care homes. The Butterfly Model has inspired me to dig deeper and try and find answers to the needling questions that are going round in my mind.

I visited the site as well as other sites that have transformed their homes into Butterfly Homes. Some key messages that I have picked up while viewing these webinars and visiting sites are the following:

Butterfly Homes should have less signage (Do you have signs in your home?). Staff should not wear uniforms (staff wear regular clothes). Vibrant colours are placed throughout the home. There is focus on emotion. Life Stories matter. Staff should slow down and take time to have meaningful interactions with residents. Language should also be changed. People living in long-term care should be called residents, not patients or clients.

These are all great changes but how much does it cost to become an accredited Butterly Model of Care for long-term care homes? According to a Report for Action on Dementia Care Based Models by the City of Toronto dated April 19, 2019, each long-term care home would be required to pay a onetime license fee of $100,000 and all staff are required to complete 8 modules that are offered through This cost does not include funds that would be needed to update the home.

I asked one of the presenters during their webinar if they were funded by any organization. This home said that they were not funded and received all their money through fundraising and donations. I don’t think all homes would be able to fundraise and secure donations to be able to implement the Butterfly Model. Some long term care homes are situated in more affluent neighbourhoods while others are situated in lower income neighbourhoods. I think going forward funding organizations would have to endorse the model if we are to see all homes become accredited in the Butterly Model of Care approach.

In the meantime I think that homes who cannot afford to become accredited in the Butterfly approach can still start to implement some of the key concepts affiliated with the model such as:

Homes can start by using vibrant colours to paint residents rooms different colours. (not everybody has to have the same colour in their rooms.)

Also, family members or friends be given permission to paint their own family members room?

Homes can start removing unnecessary signs and have staff stop wearing uniforms.

Coffee and or Tea stations can be set up for residents to use.

I think that as the population grows older we will see governments start to provide funding for the changes needed to quality of care for long term care.


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