The OARC Togetherness Training Workshop unites administrators, Council leaders and council assistants
Bridging the gaps
The importance of giving a strong voice to residents with
ong-term care homes serve a diverse population of
residents, many of whom live with cognitive changes
or impairments. A higher proportion of residents has
cognitive challenges than 10 years ago, raising an important question: Since critical that all residents have a say
in their day-to-day well-being, how can staff and fellow
residents find a way to connect with them and ensure they
are being heard?
Building bridges with residents with cognitive changes is
a responsibility shared by everyone within a home, says
Dee Lender, Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Councils (OARC). Resident leaders and
Councils are particularly influential in creating a
welcoming environment for all residents. They can educate
their peers on how to work and communicate effectively
with residents with dementia and similar impairments.
ability to be the collective voice of
all residents is directly related to the efforts made to build
bridges with people who have cognitive says
Lender. Taking this to heart, OARC has launched several
initiatives to foster engagement among residents with
cognitive impairments and to prepare councils.
Togetherness Training Workshop, for example, is a
program that unites home administrators,
Council leaders (residents), and council assistants for a
two-day training workshop.
Participants in the workshop share engagement techniques
for residents, including those with cognitive changes, and
learn new strategies that they can take back and implement in their own homes. They also dig deep into the
issue of creating an inclusive and representative
Council in each home and sharing ideas among peers.
To that end, one of the main goals is to help
establish peer networks for ongoing support and
Another program, called Through Our Eyes: Bringing the
Bill of Rights Alive, builds on existing
Bill of Rights education by creating facilitation teams
composed of residents and long-term care staff members.
Supported in part by a financial donation from the Ontario
Long Term Care Association, the program offers tools and
techniques to support the inclusion of residents with cognitive changes in the facilitation model.
Through Our Eyes was created to ensure that every resident, no matter where they are in the spectrum of cognitive health, can be a part of a teaching opportunity that
finds its strength in the personal experiences residents
have in their own home. our Eyes is all about
making teaching teams, consisting of a staff member and
home residents, that can link up and develop an
education session that they can then deliver to the
A stronger connection
An OARC Workshop building paper towers with (from left) an
administrator, Council president and activation aide
To date, Togetherness Training Workshop has been
piloted and supported through a Schlegel Centre for
Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care
research paper. The Through Our Eyes program is
LONG TERM CARE TODAY