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City of Toronto launches CareTO pilot at Lakeshore Lodge – a new social model for long-term care

Syed Azam

On june 6th , Mayor John Tory was joined by Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre) to launch the 12-month CareTO pilot program at Lakeshore Lodge Long-Term Care Home.

CareTO is a made-in-Toronto, emotion-centred approach to care for long-term care (LTC) residents. A multi-year staff plan prioritizes the hiring of additional direct care staff to meet the complex and diverse needs of residents, with the aim to achieve four hours of direct care per resident per day.

These new staff – across the full spectrum of care, including nurse practitioners, personal support workers, rehabilitation assistants, recreation coordinators, cleaners and dining support – will be hired and existing staff will receive additional training and education to help guide the transition to the new social model of living.

The City will be the first to integrate diversity, inclusion and equity considerations directly and comprehensively into an emotion-centred approach to care framework. The 12-month pilot at Lakeshore Lodge will help ensure the success of the model before rolling it out to other long-term care homes in Toronto.

The CareTO emotion-centred approach:

  • Shifts away from the traditional task-oriented, schedule-driven model of care to a social model of living.
  • Ensures consistent caregivers for residents to enable relationships to develop and thrive, with emphasis on meaningful engagement, personal preferences and previously enjoyed life routines.
  • Redesigns the living spaces to be less institutional, more intimate, cozy and reminiscent of home, with improved access to the outdoors and safe places to wander.
  • Addresses the significant diversity of Toronto’s LTC residents, including by promoting resident-centred menus that accommodate culturally diverse and evolving preferences.

CareTO will be a jointly funded program, with $16.1 million invested over five years – $12 million from the Province of Ontario, and $4.1 million from the City of Toronto – for direct care staff and training. Funding includes approximately 272 additional permanent positions across ten LTC sites at Bendale Acres, Carefree Lodge, Castleview Wychwood Towers, Cummer Lodge, Fudger House, Kipling Acres, Lakeshore Lodge, Seven Oaks, True Davidson Acres, and Wesburn Manor.

An independent evaluation will be conducted by University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. Evaluation factors will include reduced staff turnover, resident and family staff satisfaction of care, and whether or not staff and residents believe that their relationships are meaningful.

People residing in the City’s long-term care homes are diverse and representative of Toronto, coming from 70 different countries, speaking 59 languages or dialects, and practicing more than 40 different faiths. Residents with moderate-to-severe cognitive impairments make up 69 per cent of the homes’ populations and 90 per cent use mobility devices.

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