Sydney care home successfully admitting residents with challenging behaviours

Shannex manager says pilot program is helping take some pressure off overcrowded hospital beds

A long-term care home in Cape Breton is admitting residents with challenging behaviours, such as aggression, who would otherwise have to take up space in a hospital bed.

It’s part of a provincially funded three-year pilot program through the Department of Seniors and Long Term Care being carried out at the Harbourstone Enhanced Care Facility in Sydney, N.S.

Harbourstone is having great success using wearable technology and trained staff to track residents and direct them toward positive activities, when needed, said Harbourstone manager Kyle Richardson.

It starts with an assessment involving the resident, their family and their care team.

“So what does the resident like? What makes them happy? What creates joy in their life or what has created joy in their life?” Richardson told Information Morning Cape Breton. “We use that to couple with some of our recreation programmers and our recreation therapist to create specific programs to basically improve on their happiness.”

The long-term care home uses technology to track resident movements and interactions, creating a record of their social habits.

Data from that helps staff design individual care plans, Richardson said.

Data helps staff, residents

“We have resident-specific interventions in place to deal with each individual person to avoid that situation from escalating to a point of aggression,” he said.

The challenging behaviours program is just one example of what data can do for long-term care, said Kathleen Norman, senior director of performance and innovation at Shannex.

The care home gathers information and analyzes it to improve staff efficiency and provide better care for residents.

It’s necessary because it is impossible to have a staff member be with a resident all hours of the day, said Norman.

“If we were providing one-on-one care all the time, then those team members would see those insights when they’re spending time with the residents,” she said.

“So we’re really just trying to find ways to have the data tell us those things that we can’t see all the time.”

For example, the data could tell staff which residents are getting out a lot and which ones may be spending too much time in their room, Norman said.

The entrance to the Harbourstone facility is shown, with a stone wall on the left and a driveway leading to the care home in the distance.
Richardson says the Harbourstone facility in Sydney has admitted more than 30 residents with challenging behaviours over the last three years and has not had a single negative incident. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Richardson said the province is waiting for the results of an independent review of the program, but Shannex is hopeful it will be made permanent.

“We’ve had no staff incidents that have resulted from resident aggression or residents toward staff,” he said.

“We’ve had no negative resident-to-resident interactions and we’ve had zero refusals for our facility and we’ve taken in and supported over 30 individuals that were previously unable to be supported in a long-term care environment.”


Link to article: