A joint Acquired Brain Injury and Long-Term Care Symposium was held on October 15, 2013. The Symposium was created in response to ongoing requests for support from long term care homes to meet the needs of their residents with ABI. Feedback was solicited using small group techniques, focusing on resources required to provide appropriate services and the development of action plans. Thirty-six representatives attended from the Long Term Care sector, Acquired Brain Injury Services, Psychogeriatric Outreach, and local Hospitals.
Although many systemic challenges were uncovered, there was tremendous passion and drive expressed by the attendees. We discussed the challenges inherent in supporting individuals in long term care homes, the limitations placed on community services, and the reality that sometimes more appropriate residential placements do not exist. Despite these challenges, many creative and practical options were identified. The solutions generated ranged from simple to complex; from care plans to frontline training; from admissions to daily activities. There was certainly no shortage of ideas and many expressed a willingness for ongoing collaboration to see these plans develop into real change.
There were two areas of focus with a high level of momentum behind them. The first was in developing education and training around ABI for frontline staff, in various forms including case-based learning, training modules in ABI that could be employed in-house, as well as programs and resources that staff could access from the wider community. The second was to consider how the admissions process could be fine-tuned to accurately capture and consider residents’ needs to allow for more proactive steps to be taken when helping someone transition to long term care. The commitment attendees felt to the residents of long term care was evident in their willingness to participate and develop solutions. Since the day, many participants have expressed a willingness to foster ongoing collaboration between these sectors and have volunteered their time to take it to the next phase of development.
In summary, the event allowed us to explore various concerns but more importantly allowed us to connect as allies to think big about how we can best meet peoples’ needs. Despite recognized limitations in funding and resources, we were able to focus our sights on many practical and feasible solutions. I look forward to sharing how these goals are met in the days to come.