Daily learning experiences come with being on Riverview Manor’s BSO team: BSO-RPN

Three of the members of Riverview Manor’s BSO team: From left to right, PSW Karlie Phillips, RPN Sarah Plumpton and BSO lead Becky Dennie.

Applying BSO education is reducing agitation and enhancing the quality of life for residents

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – Registered practical nurse (RPN) Sarah Plumpton says working with Riverview Manor’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team is providing her with new learning opportunities every day.

The concepts Sarah and other BSO team members learn about and apply are having a positive impact on residents in terms of reducing agitation related to cognitive impairment, notes BSO team lead Becky Dennie.

“It’s different all the time,” Sarah says of her learning experiences. “I’m learning a lot about the residents’ history as a whole.”

Sarah, who has been working with the BSO team since September, has been a staff member at the Peterborough long-term care home for three years. She came to the BSO team with some background working in mental health, having done BSO consolidations at the home, which she says introduced her to the role.

Aside from on-the-job learning, Sarah and the other BSO team members have also participated in educational sessions provided by the Central East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) focused on P.I.E.C.E.S. (physical, intellectual, emotional, capabilities, environment and social) and U-First training.

Sarah says she sees a lot of value to the BSO program at Riverview Manor, not only because it’s helping curb agitation and improve quality of life for residents, but also because team members can provide extra support to their colleagues.

“A lot of the staff doesn’t have as much time, so it’s nice to have the extra support, and that’s where we come in,” she says.

Becky says Sarah and personal support worker Karlie Phillips, another new BSO team member, have been “quick learners” and have brought excellent communication skills to the table.

Becky adds that Sarah and Karlie are working well with Laura Johnstone, a social worker who is currently working with the BSO team.

Together, Sarah, Laura and Karlie have been sharing information with the BSO team and working collaboratively to stem agitation in residents affected by cognitive impairment.

“I think the new team is working very well, and our RAI (Resident Assessment Instrument) stats are showing that; our worsening behaviours have gone down,” Becky says.

BSO is a provincial initiative that’s enhancing quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that can cause agitation. The funding, which is provided to long-term care homes through the province’s 14 LHINs, is largely put towards staff education.

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