Southampton Care Centre receives prestigious award

The Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) recently recognized the Southampton Care Centre with a prestigious award.

The OLTCA is the largest and only association representing private, not-for-profit, charitable, and municipal Long Term Care Providers. They represent nearly 70% of Ontario’s 630 long-term care homes. Annually, the OLTCA presents awards to homes that have excelled in their field.

At the end of September, it was announced that the Southampton Care Centre received the Innovation of the Year award, which is presented for having achieved early results from change ideas, research project or collaboration with other health care stakeholders that has a positive impact on residents, staff or the home.

Southampton Care Centre, through its Life Enrichment department and Cultural Diversity Committee, has been proactively seeking to strengthen and elevate diversity-focused programming. “Our initial and primary focus was to create a culturally safe environment for our First Nation’s residents. We started with activities and staff education. The Quality Improvement project has evolved into something much larger and benefits continue to be realized across departments”, says Andrea Prentice, QI Project Lead.

Southampton Care Centre has witnessed an improvement among Indigenous residents’ Social Engagement Scores, a reduction in the Depression Rating Scale and in some cases, a decrease in Responsive Behaviours. There is a verified increase in the Resident Social Harmony Score from 90.2% in 2017 to 94.4% in 2018, and 95% of residents surveyed stated they were “very” or “extremely” likely to recommend Southampton to others in 2018.

Both the Management team and Behavioural Support staff participated in the 8 week San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training. The course provided management with the knowledge framework to reduce cultural bias through active role modelling. Monthly staff education was then developed to encompass topics like; Cultural Safety, Terminology, Historical facts, Colonization, the Indian Act, Treaties, Indian Agents, Residential Schools, Indian hospitals, MMIWG, Health Disparities and Racism in Health Care and Wartime Contributions of Indigenous people.

Through the integration of Indigenous philosophies like the Medicine Wheel, Tree of Life, the 13 Moons and 7 Grandfather Teachings, Southampton has been able to shape meal planning, programs, crafts and staff and resident education.

The team has networked with and utilized resources from organizations such as, the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre, local First Nations Band office, Indigenous Cognition & Aging Awareness Research Exchange, The Manitou Kwe Consultation, resident family members, an Elder’s Group, the Historic Saugeen Métis office and Historica Canada. Managers have also attended Indigenous Health Care Conferences, a Healing from Trauma workshop, Indigenous Senior Fair and have sent recommendations to the Community Legal Education Ontario to publish the Resident’s Rights booklet in Ojibway.

The home has created an area entitled Pathway to Reconciliation, which through education promotes principles of respect, engagement, understanding and action with regards to Indigenous culture and history. They are working to complement the space with an Indigenous Healing Garden, which will eventually feature the four sacred medicines.

Months prior to the announcement of the OLTCA’s Quality Improvement award, the team at the Care Centre created a Best Practices presentation to share with their corporate team and 13 other Jarlette Health Services homes. “The core concept of the best practise is education,” says Prentice. “Because improvement can only come from acknowledging the past and present, and reconciliation can only come from the truth and understanding that, there is always more to be done.”