Many organizations have developed tools and resources to help families cope with and navigate the COVID-19 crisis.
Connecting Older Adults with Social Workers During COVID-19: NICE’s New Program, TALK2NICE
Although it is clear that well-intentioned public health responses during the COVID-19 pandemic are meant to safeguard vulnerable older adults in the community, retirement residences and in long-term care, these measures have also had the unintended consequences of social and emotional isolation. Older adults have been disconnected from family members, social supports, and care staff. Most of the existing support (e.g., grocery and medication delivery) and phone support lines are 'one-off' interactions and calls that users make, and there is no continuous engagement with trained support staff. Furthermore, what calls to the phone lines strongly suggest is that there exists an actual or perceived weakness in the older adult’s social support system.
To address these issues, and to support the mental well-being of older adults in the community and in residential care during the pandemic, the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE) has implemented TALK2NICE, a free, over the phone outreach support service to connect older adults with social workers and social work students. The aim of this outreach program is to provide much-needed support to older adults during and after the enforced isolation that is part of the current response to COVID-19, the recovery, and as we transition to a new normal in community and residential care settings, such as long-term care.
For more information about the TALK2NICE Program, please visit: www.nicenet.ca
For more information about NICE’s TALK2NICE Program or for media inquiries, please contact:
Jason Ferreirinha, Program Manager, TALK2NICE, National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE), Jason.Ferreirinha@mail.utoronto.ca, 416-970-6857
For more information about NICE or for media inquiries, please contact:
Raza M. Mirza, Network Manager, National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE), Raza.Mirza@utoronto.ca, 416-508-0215
Ministry of Long-Term Care Family Support & Action Line
The Ministry of Long-Term Care has launched a NEW resource for resident's families. Families of residents in long-term care can now call the ‘Family Support and Action Line.’ This line is available to LTC families, staff, residents, and the general public to call to receive information or raise concerns during #COVID19.
Call 1-866-434-0144 8:30 AM- 7PM, 7 days a week.
RNAO & AdvantAge Ontario Connecting Families Facebook Group
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) and AdvantAge Ontario recognize the profound impact social distancing is having on families and friends who have loved ones living in long-term care homes (LTC). Given current visiting restrictions, we have set up a Facebook Group to provide a forum for people to share stories and get support from others experiencing a similar situation. The group will be moderated by RNAO’s LTC Best Practices Program team - a group of registered nurses who work across the province to support the uptake of evidence-based practices in LTC homes. They will gather any questions you may have, answer those they can, and identify what resources can support you and others during these uncertain times. We invite you to join the Connecting Families Group. Please note they will not be able to provide clinical advice, or specific information about your family and friends.
How to Join the RNAO Connecting Families Facebook Group: Visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/RNAOLTCSupportGroup
Other virtual learning and support opportunities
COVID-19 is a stressful situation. Here are virtual support and learning opportunities from long-term care and healthcare sector stakeholders that may help you through this situation.
Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement:
Webinar Series: Patient Partnership in a Time of COVID-19
Ontario Caregiver Organization: Peer Support Groups and Link for 1:1 Support
The SCALE Program: Support for Caregiver Awareness, Learning & Empowerment
South West Self Management Program: Online Program - Powerful Tools For Caregivers Workshop Series
Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG) Webinar Series: Taking Advantage of a Crisis: Long Term Care
Family Supports & Resources
There are various organizations families can reach out to during this time for updates, support, and useful resources. The list below contains the names and websites of Government, long-term care, and community agencies that can be utilized for pertinent COVID-19 information.
AdvantAge Ontario: https://www.advantageontario.ca/
Advocacy Centre for The Elderly (ACE): http://www.acelaw.ca/
Canadian Caregivers Coalition: http://ccc-ccan.ca/
Concerned Friends: https://www.concernedfriends.ca/
Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario: http://www.eapon.ca/
Hamilton Council on Aging: https://coahamilton.ca/
National Institute on Aging (NIA): https://www.nia.nih.gov/
National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE): http://www.nicenet.ca/
Ontario Association of Residents' Councils (OARC): http://www.residentscouncils.ca/
Ontario Caregiver Organization: https://ontariocaregiver.ca/
Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA): https://www.oltca.com/OLTCA/
Ontario Society of Senior Citizens Organizations: https://www.ossco.org/
Ontario Health: https://www.ontariohealth.ca/
Ottawa Council on Aging: https://coaottawa.ca/
Toronto Council on Aging: https://www.torontocouncilonaging.com/