Family Councils Ontario and the Centers for Learning, Research & Innovation in Long-Term Care (CLRI) Bruyère Collaboration

by Sam Peck, Executive Director, FCO

Our goal is to share and shape our plans and actions for supporting families of residents in LTC for FY 2023-2024, to find common ground, and to capitalize on any opportunities for collaboration. We believe the timing is right for this effort as families are starting to rebuild relations with homes following the isolation and frustration of the pandemic. Homes are looking for ways to implement palliative care strategies which need to include care partners. Also, evidence shows families' timely access to appropriate information improves their and residents' quality of life. At the same time, families have reported a lack of appropriate information about palliative care and the available resources and a lack of appropriate support. In response, collaboratively with the Champlain Hospice Palliative Care Program (CHPCP) and FCO, we are expanding our role of supporting families with education and support by

  • expanding our family education series using last year’s successful model of 5 monthly 90-minute virtual interactive webinar sessions. The sessions will target families and care partners from all LTC homes engaged in all three Collaborative Project cohorts as well as the homes that send learners to All-In Palliative Care training sessions. This year we will add a sixth session related to shared decision-making about medication management.
  • expanding the important topic of peer support for families. Evidence shows that peer support helps address the issues families/care partners face and improves their lives. Peer support is the supportive relationship between people who share a common lived experience (Sunderland & Mishkin, 2013). Peer-based caregiver support systems refer to how caregivers help each other by sharing information, skill development, and emotional support (Sunderland & Mishkin, 2013). Collaboratively with FCO, we are working to develop, budget, moderate, and support a virtual uplifting community to provide families and care partners with a welcoming, accessible space to come together over shared experiences and goals and to help each other. This platform would uniquely address the people and issues specific to the long-term care experience.
  • stewarding the Family Resource Package that was created collaboratively with the Ontario Palliative Care Network and CHPCP by selecting from existing resources on specific topics listed below. FCO helped us review the package, which was shared at their RDAC meeting. These packages were shared with all LTC homes engaged in the project. Homes reported that the resource package was very useful. Contents include resources about:
  • A palliative approach to care key elements: what is the difference between Palliative Care & End of Life (EoL) care? What are the benefits? Understanding disease progression and how the family can support their loved ones:

Progressive neurological illnesses, including dementia

Severe kidney, liver, or heart failure

End-stage lung disease

Other life-limiting illnesses

Understanding Advance Care Planning (ACP), Goals of Care conversations (GOC), and Consent

Grief and loss


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