Sometimes dreams do come true. Imagine a team of professionals banded together to develop working effectively and efficiently as an interdisciplinary team to improve the care of seniors. Located at the Élisabeth Bruyre Health Centre, the Élisabeth Bruyre Research Institute (ÉBRI ) aims to be the source of relevant and practical knowledge for those looking for leading edge research on fostering the quality of life of the elderly and efficient use of resources.
The ÉBRI Working Together for Long-Term Care project will bring together expert resources to develop and field test professional development resources that are aimed at helping teams work together to improve long-term care for the elderly. This will result in a more cohesive approach to the delivery of care to our residents at Villa Marguerite and Résidence Saint-Louis. The project will take place in four communities in Ontario – London, Hamilton, Huntsville and Ottawa and be completed by August 2006.
Lucie Vachon, Director of Care, Résidence Saint-Louis explains, “In long-term care, the time commitment by professional staff is counted. Staff are small in number and the time that physicians and pharmacists spend on-site is very limited,” says Ms. Vachon. “For example, a physician can visit once per week in the nursing unit. For a pharmacist it can be even less. We’re working to improve these working relations.”
The learning resources being produced and tested are designed to respond to the continuing professional development needs of interdisciplinary teams working with the elderly, including: family physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and nurse practitioners. The project has three phases:
- Phase One – Consultations with practitioners – started in the fall 2004 and was completed in March 2005.
- Phase Two – Design of the new learning resource to select content, learning modalities and internet technology application – is currently underway, and is expected to be complete in the winter 2005/06.
- Phase Three – Field testing and project report writing – once the learning resource is ready it will be field tested by interdisciplinary teams working in long-term care homes in the four communities.
“We need to support the collaborative practices of the health professionals in long term homes: physicians, nurse practitioners and other professionals need team training to learn to work effectively together,” says Dr. Larry Chambers, President, Élisabeth Bruyre Research Institute.
Marianne van Oosten, Working Together Project Manager adds, “This project focuses on teamwork which is an essential part of the work of professionals in the 600 long-term care homes serving their 75,000 residents in Ontario.”
In addition to educational experts working on the project, contributions to the development of the learning resource have come from a multidisciplinary team made up in part by a number of SCO Health Service employees. These individuals provide a variety of perspectives from departments such as palliative care, administration, pharmacy, nursing, and family medicine.
“We should do the best with the resources that we have and work more effectively together. If we develop a good collaborative approach (physician, nurse, and pharmacist) the resident care will benefit and result in better coordination of care by a more organized and more efficient team,” says Ms. Vachon.
Although the end result is still months away, positive elements are already being shown as a result of the research. For example, Dr. Chambers held a workshop on “Collaborative Practice in Long-Term Care” that attracted 50 gerontological nurses as part of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario’s International Conference on Elder Health and Elder Care held in Toronto in September, 2005. A list of physicians, pharmacists, nurses and nurse practitioners working in long-term care homes in Ontario has been compiled in order to inform them about the Working Together Project and other ÉBRI initiatives.
A Working Together newsletter has been developed to promote knowledge exchange, and report on the progress of the Working Together in Long-Term Care Project. If you would like to contribute to this newsletter, or be added to the distribution list, please contact the Élisabeth Bruyre Research Institute at (613) 562-6045. The Working Together project is managed by the Élisabeth Bruyre Research Institute under the leadership of Dr. Larry W. Chambers.