15th Huron County Culture Change Coalition (CCC) Meeting

What an amazing meeting!

We only had a few members at our meeting today, but we certainly made the most of it.

Tammy provided us with an update of the Discovery session held for persons with dementia. To sum it up, it was a huge success. She found that the members of the Day Away program really value their time there as it provides them opportunities to socialise and remain engaged in their community. They also had suggestions on how things could be improved, system-wide. This reaffirms that persons with dementia have an important voice and that we really need to listen to it. I (Jennifer) provided an update on the findings from our Discovery open-ended questionnaire that were returned from persons with dementia, family members, and staff from the Alzheimer Society, One Care, and Saint Elizabeth. We found that clients and families are very happy with the support they are receiving from community care. They were particularly pleased when staff would provide support beyond physical care, like when they would provide comfort, companionship, or assist with something that was not specifically outlined in the care plan. They too had suggestions on how things can be improved. Staff members spoke about the need for more time to provide care. They noted that good care relationships are built when staff are able to listen, remain positive, and involve the client and their families in the care process. Positive care experiences tended to centre around times when they were helping someone through a difficult time, as making people happy made them happy.

Upon reflecting on these findings, we felt that we are really learning that the role of the Personal Support Worker (PSW) (as it is currently defined) does not necessary match up with the needs of the clients. We also found that the Day Away programs are such a success because they are places where people with dementia feel comfortable, safe, and welcomed. We began to dream of a community where people with dementia are truly included and welcomed in all aspects of community life, therefore reducing the need for specialised programs like the Day Away program. We also dreamed of a time when PSW's do not need to hide the fact that they provide non-medical support to their clients because this type of support will be just as valued as medical care. We anticipate that these may be some of the areas we seek to address with our culture change initiative.

We look forward to our next meeting when we will hear from the Saint Elizabeth staff about their Discovery sessions and interviews. Again, what an amazing meeting!

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For more information on any of the PiDC Alliance initiatives, contact Sian Lockwood, Knowledge Translation Specialist.

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