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Positioning Occupational Therapists as Leaders in Seniors Health & Well-being

Positioning Occupational Therapists as Leaders in Seniors Health & Well-being

As treasurer of OSOT, Lesya Dyk contributed the following article to OSOT members via “A Monthly Message from the OSOT Board of Directors” regarding seniors aging in palace which is a current focus of interest as June is National Seniors Month.

Occupational therapy has a significant role to play in helping seniors lead healthy and productive lives. OSOT is working hard to support our members with several initiatives to address the aging population in Canada.

Aging Population Chart

According to Statistics Canada – by 2038, a quarter of our population will be over the age of 65. This will mean that there will be 4.8 million more people over the age of 65 than there are now. The current resources available in health care will not be able to gear up to meet this need.

The reality is that the crisis of how to meet the health needs of the aging population is here. What is certain, there will be more of a role for Occupational Therapy – if we are careful and ready ourselves . This BoardTalk is dedicated to how OSOT is working toward this goal. Consider the following 5 examples of our commitment.

1. Home Modification Canada Steering Committee (HMC)

OSOT was a founding member of the Steering Committee of a consortium called Home Modification Canada (HMC) that was struck by Don Fenn of Caregiver Omnimedia in 2015 to address the “Ageing in Place” issue. While it is clear that a lack of long term care resources will necessitate seniors aging in place, that is, in fact, where research tells us they want to be. HMC was focused on promoting the need to better organize and integrate the home modification marketplace to best meet the needs of that growing aging population who wish to age in place.

In the spring of 2017 HMC made a presentation to the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) with a proposal to develop a multi-faceted national partnership approach that would;

  • support builders/contractors, manufacturers, retailers and set standards, accredit and ensure the quality and value of home modifications

  • coordinate information about existing funding/financing mechanisms for home renovations/modifications

  • support the Canadian Licensing of the CAPS (Certified Ageing in Place Specialist) programme to include a re-written section on Occupational Therapy

  • foster more dynamic public conversations about aging in place and home modifications

  • encourage the application of research and innovation in the fields of smart home technologies, practical products and solutions for home modifications and accessibility

  • support national, provincial and local policy makers to remove barriers, facilitate and incent home modifications for seniors

HMC’s report and recommendations were well received by the CHBA which has moved forward to develop a national Home Modification Council. The best news? Our early work and representation and advocacy with HMC has resulted in occupational therapy being the only health profession represented at the Council table!

I have had the pleasure of representing OSOT at the HMC Steering Committee, experiencing the respect and support of our colleague stakeholders in the home modification marketplace, and am delighted to continue this representation at the CHMA Council Table as CAOT now takes on the professional representational role at a national level.

2. OSOT’s Seniors Advisory Council

Two years ago, the Board of Directors engaged a group of members to advise on how best the Society could advance the profession as leaders in seniors health and well-being. As a strategic priority, a focus on seniors has informed initiatives OSOT has undertaken in advocacy, promotion and professional development in virtually all sectors of OT practice, however, our ability to move the needle in terms of leadership and recognition in seniors health is something we wished to advance more fully. Under the chairmanship of Dr. Barry Trentham, our council includes Christie Brenchley, Barbara Cawley, Dr. Catherine Donnelly, Dr. Colleen McGrath, Aaron Yuen and Dr. Briana Zur.

3. A Vision for Enabling Healthy Aging in Ontario – a knowledge mobilization too initiative!

Approving a recommendation and proposal of the Seniors Advisory Council, OSOT is embarking on a new project initiative which aims to promote the evidence-based value of using an occupational lens to respond to the needs of a growing older adult population. Focused on the development of a dynamic website that features modules focused on key life course occupational transitions and profiles the work that occupational therapists are doing and/or could be doing to enable aging well, the project is focused on knowledge mobilization both within and external to the profession.

An enabler of this project has been the successful application of the Society to become a partner of AGE-WELL, Canada’s Aging and Technology Network.

AGE-WELL’s co-funding and resource support to the project both recognizes the value of promoting and enriching occupational therapy as a resource to aging well, but also provides access to knowledge translation resources to support OSOT members who share a practice interest in seniors health and well-being. Watch for our formal launch of this partnership later this month!

Meantime, see our posting for a Post-Doctoral Trainee for a position commencing September 2018 and running to August 2019. This full-time position will take a leadership role in the development, facilitation and evaluation of this knowledge mobilization project. There’s still time to apply! See call for applications.

4. Supporting members practice expertise & leadership relating to seniors health and well-being

Assuming leadership roles in seniors health and well-being requires a ready and informed membership. You have OSOT’s commitment to support your professional development to enable you to position your services to serve the needs of seniors and the health system that supports them.

OSOT’s Conference 2018, ADVANCE! Journey to Excellence,

provides but one opportunity to get involved, participate and learn. This year we will host a professional issues/leadership forum focused on advancing our profession’s roles in seniors health and well-being – plan to be a part! Reserve the Conference dates – October 19 – 20, 2018 now!

The Society continues to look at opportunities to host webinars and workshops to give our membership the tools that they need to work in this arena. Watch for the 2018 – 19 PD Program of Events and check out our listing of Archived Webinars that can support your practice in this area.

5. Advocacy to position occupational therapy in seniors health services

OSOT continues to advocate for occupational therapy services for seniors across Ontario’s health care system. Our advocacy document, Occupational Therapy Can Help; challenges of an aging population has been shared broadly with government and amongst MPPs at our annual MPP Luncheon. There are so many ways that OTs can contribute and make meaningful differences to seniors health and quality of life, however, Ontarians need increased access to OT services! We have active advocacy and government relations strategies relating to:

As the OSOT Board puts the finishing touches on our new Strategic Plan, we will reveal how we will continue to advance work that supports our members, senior citizen clients and their families to ask for Occupational Therapy Services… and to access them! Stay tuned!

Lesya DykLesya Dyk,
President and Director of Clinical Service,
LDOT Services.

360 Queenston Rd., 2nd Floor, Unit# 3
Hamilton, ON
L8K 1H9

Hamilton: 905-481-1122
Toronto: 416-907-6287
Fax: 905-481-2550
Email: info@ldot.ca

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Best Practices in Fall Prevention

Best Practices in Fall Prevention

Best Practices in Fall Prevention – When you want to make a change for your health, you want to know about best practices. Best practices are strong recommendations that clinicians (doctors, occupational therapists, etc.) use to provide their patients with an effective intervention (treatment or modification).

The clinicians base these recommendations on evidence in the clinical unbiased literature.  Evidence found that the intervention improved the health outcome, and the conclusion is that the benefits outweigh the harm.

This is a big deal. The evidence is what should guide all good practice. It is why you buy a car with safety ratings that are independently researched, and not just the word of the company that is trying to sell you a car.

Fall Prevention is a big thing. Here are a few startling statistics:

  • 1 in 3 older adults in Canada fall each year (over 65)
  • 50% of falls which resulted in hospital admissions occurred in those 65 and older
  • Falls cause more than 90% of hip fractures in seniors and 20% die within a year of the fracture

(Public Health Agency of Canada, Report on Seniors’ Falls in Canada, 2005)

So, when our team at LDOT Services were looking at Best Practices for Fall Prevention; we looked at the literature and found what the American and British Geriatric Society recommended as best practice.

With respect to ‘Assessment’ – the following is recommended:

A multifactorial fall risk assessment should be performed by clinicians with appropriate skills and training, (Occupational Therapists have this training) including a focused history, physical examination, functional assessment (watching clients actually do things) and an assessment of their environment.

With respect to ‘interventions’ or ‘treatment’ – the following should be “Best Practice”.

  • Assessment should include identifying hazards in the home, making recommendations to eliminate the hazards, and providing options to promote the safe performance of daily activities
  • Adaptation or modification of the home environment based on the assessment criteria above
  • Exercise, particularly balance, strength, and gait training

More importantly – the following was NOT recommended in that there was fair evidence found that the intervention is ineffective, or that harm outweighs benefits.

  • Education should not be provided as a single intervention to reduce falls in older persons living in the community

Other evidence that was strong was that vitamin D supplements should be taken by persons proven to have insufficient vitamin D intake. The only way to know whether this is an issue is to consult a doctor – and this is our recommendation.

Our practice is best practice. We provide a multi factorial assessment. We provide recommendations to eliminate hazards within the home and provide options to promote the safe performance of daily activities.

We can provide a list of vetted contracting companies that specialize in home adaptations.

We can work with the contractors to ensure you get what you need to make the living safer, and avoid what may put you in harm’s way.

We provide in home and pool exercise programs though our team of Occupational Therapy Assistants. And by using Occupational Therapy Assistants we ensure these programs are accessible and financially feasible for the participants. For information on these programs or any of our Occupational Services; please contact us directly; you will reach a live knowledge representative at either our  Hamilton Office: 905-481-1122 or our Toronto Office: 416-907-6287.

Alternatively, you can email us directly anytime and one of our helpful representatives will respond very quickly.

 

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