More lifts and more staff are making life more flexible for long-term care residents in Saskatoon Health Region.

Enhanced staff have been in place at four Model Line Homes in Saskatoon Health Region for over a year in order to demonstrate how employing more Continuing Care Assistants (CCAs) can improve life for long-term care residents, including allowing them greater choices and improving staff response to their care requests.

Last Mountain Pioneer Lodge in Strasbourg

Last Mountain Pioneer Lodge in Strasbourg is one of four model line homes being used to demonstrate how more staff can improve the lives of residents.

The impetus for this trial came out of CEO Tours of all 30 long-term care homes within the Region in the spring of 2013. The feedback given by both residents and their family members during those tours revealed that residents need care provided in a more timely manner.  Employing more staff and having more lifts available will support this need, the Region believes.

In the fall of 2013, the Region received $2.6 million in funding from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health’s Urgent Issues Action Fund for LTC homes – a $10 million fund meant to enable health regions to act on the most pressing issues identified in each of the CEO tours.  The Region directed the funds towards the purchase of ceiling track lifts, total floor lifts and additional CCA staffing.  Since receiving the funds, 53 floor lifts and 125 ceiling track lifts have been purchased and installed in facilities across the region.

Region leadership decided to focus enhanced staffing on these four Model Line Homes with the overall goal of  demonstrating how more CCAs can improve resident-directed care and choices, their quality of life and their satisfaction levels.  The model line homes include Last Mountain Pioneer Lodge in Strasbourg, Pleasant View Care Home in Wadena, Porteous Lodge in Saskatoon, and Sunnyside Adventist Care Centre in Saskatoon.

“We felt the additional resources for staffing provided by the government’s Urgent Issues Action Fund would have a bigger impact if we focused it on a handful of homes, rather than spreading it thinly across the entire region,” said Donna Bleakney, director of Seniors’ Health and Continuing Care. “We also thought that by focusing on just four homes, we could definitively show the impact these additional dollars have made on residents’ lives.”

The anticipated impact of the enhanced staffing was that it would give residents more flexibility, allowing them greater choice when it comes to bathing preferences, sleep and wake times, meaningful activities and interactions, meal time experiences, and improving staff response times to care requests.

And that impact has been felt.

For example, care staff at one home indicated that the enhanced staffing has enabled them to have two CCAs in each neighborhood on day shifts. The result of this, the staff feels, has been to improve their response time to assist residents to the washroom, as they do not have to wait for a CCA from another neighborhood to help them with the transfer.

Also, all four homes have indicated that residents who require assistance with their meals are being provided with that help while the food is still warm. Care staff is also able to provide the necessary time for residents to eat.

Staff at another long-term care home indicated that they very much appreciated the additional four ceiling track lifts that were installed in one of the neighborhoods, as resident rooms in that home are quite small, resulting in little space for movement or extra equipment. The ceiling track lifts have enabled resident transfers within the room to be less cumbersome. They are also able to transfer the resident with very little effort and strain, which makes both the staff member and resident more comfortable during that process.  The ceiling track lifts also mean team members no longer have to wait for a lift to be available or have to find one in the neighborhood before they are able to move a resident.

Showing these improvements at these four homes will assist the Region in building a business case to support additional CCA funding for the 26 remaining homes in the Region, Bleakney explained.