Conference Board of Canada Prescribes Innovation for Long Term Care Sector

CALTC’s Ontario Long Term Care Association says its quality agenda is pushing need for innovation

A new Conference Board of Canada report concludes a more innovative long term care sector would deliver both improved care for an aging Ontario population and cost savings for a cash-strapped provincial healthcare system.

The report, Elements of an Effective Innovation Strategy for Long Term Care in Ontario, was commissioned by the Canadian Alliance for Long Term Care (CALTC)’s Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA).

The report finds the sector can best meet its current and future challenges through innovation. It states innovation will enable the sector to find new and improved ways to deliver care and other services, and develop new products and services that respond to the changing "aged care environment." A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Success for provincial aging and healthcare strategies depends on actively engaging the long term care sector. It will require a concerted effort and investment by government and the sector itself to realize its full potential," said Dr. Michael Bloom vice-president of The Conference Board of Canada (CBoC).

Christina Bisanz, CEO of the OLTCA said the sector's "quality agenda is driving the need for innovation. Our members currently demonstrate innovation in both delivering quality care and in providing value for healthcare dollars," she said. "We recognize there is more we can do, especially by pursuing improved relationships and integration with others in the out-of-hospital healthcare continuum who deliver care to an aging population." Ms. Bisanz discussed the innovation potential in long term care, during a presentation this week at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. She was joined by Jeff Lozon, President and CEO of Revera Inc. and Camille Orridge, CEO of the Toronto Central LHIN.

The report highlights a number of innovations the sector can build on, including implementing new technologies to streamline administrative functions, introducing new recreational and therapeutic activities, exploring new ways to recruit and retain staff, and leveraging existing strengths and expertise of skilled staff to reduce the strain on acute care services.

BC Care Providers Association CEO Ed Helfrich said, “In addition to making recommendations directly related to Ontario’s system, the report may present opportunities for other long term seniors care Associations across Canada. We will be looking the report very closely.”

The CBoC found that underfunding and over regulation are barriers to the potential promise innovation brings. Innovation may be stifled because employees and managers focus much of their time and energy on regulatory compliance and reporting, rather than on finding new and improved ways to deliver care. As well, long term care operators often struggle to find funding to meet current demand, let-alone meet future demand, acuity levels and resident preferences.

The OLTCA has announced the formation of a Long Term Care Innovation Expert Panel to assist the sector develop a innovation plan for three areas: internal innovation, sector-wide innovation and innovation for integration and health system transformation.

Co-Chairs for the panel are Bill Dillane, President of Responsive Health Management and a member of the OLTCA Board of Directors, and Dr. William Reichman, President and CEO of Baycrest. Panel members are currently being recruited from a wide range of fields. The panel is to make its report to the OLTCA Board in late 2011.

To watch the conference presentation, click here.


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