Springdale administrator discusses importance of creating national dementia strategy
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 — Deron Hamel
When asked if Canada could have a national dementia strategy, Maureen King cites the province’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) initiative as evidence that widespread protocols and practices can work effectively.
King, the administrator at Springdale Country Manor, notes how OMNI Health Care has adopted many ideas and processes outlined in BSO, a $40-million provincial initiative designed to enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation.
The result has been reduced agitation and happier residents living in OMNI long-term care homes.
“Think of all the residents we have with Alzheimer’s — that’s a lot of lives we’re touching,” King tells the OMNIway. “Now imagine if the country had such a strategy, because just what (OMNI) has been able to do has been phenomenal and is changing lives of residents with Alzheimer’s who have responsive behaviours in our homes every single day.
“(BSO) has become a part of who we are and how we operate and how you can expect to be cared for if you come into an OMNI home. . . . OMNI is an organization that has taken itself to task and said, ‘We are going to be leaders.’ ”
So, if OMNI can enact a strategy like BSO, why can’t Canada create and implement a national dementia strategy, King says, noting Canada is the only G8 country without a strategy.
The lack of a national dementia strategy in Canada received significant media attention in December during a G8 conference in London, England focused on dementia.
With the populations of G8 nations — Canada, Britain, the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan — aging at a fast pace there’s more need now than ever to find a cure, attending health ministers concluded. The ministers vowed to invest resources to find a cure for dementia by 2025.
Until a cure is found, however, a national strategy is needed for Canada, King says. And creating one can start with bringing experts together to discuss what works best and how to implement procedures.
“If we can say, ‘Here’s how OMNI cares for residents with responsive behaviours,’ why can’t you take the same philosophies and principles and say, ‘This is how our country cares for people who have dementia,’ ” King says.
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