Results of BSO program 'incredible'

Documentaries deliver hope for long-term care leaders

May 2, 2013 -- Jeanne Pengelly

Behavioural supports, including Montessori, activities are making a huge dent in challenges presented by long-term care residents who have increasingly complex health needs, and the statistics are proving it.

Results of initiatives in three homes were highlighted yesterday in three Axiom News documentaries released by OMNI Health Care during the managers' retreat at Fern Resort in Orillia.

The videos highlighted Forest Hill, Riverview Manor and Streamway Villa, each of which submitted behaviour support programs to the Ontario Long Term Care Association's (OLTCA) annual award program.

“The long-term care population is becoming increasingly complex,” says OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy.

“As a sector, we need to respond with carefully planned, innovative measures that are focused on improving quality of life for our residents.

“What we see from these videos is that engagement in behavioural supports is making a big difference not just for our residents, but also for employees.”

He adds that community engagement is another product of the program.

“You can see with each home that the program not only engages all levels of staff but also the community as well – something we are always striving toward.”

At Forest Hill, intentional decisions to reduce the use of restraints to keep residents safe resulted not only in fewer falls, but also in reduced agitation and anxiety.

At Streamway Villa, use of Montessori activities with residents who have dementia helped reduce as-needed use of psychotropic drugs from 63 per month to one.

And at Riverside Manor, a combination of Montessori activities and a fully developed behavioural support program helped drop agitation and responsive behaviour by half.

Riverview Manor administrator Mary Anne Greco says the qualitative results are “incredible.”

"We have stories to tell about residents who were experiencing serious dysfunction to the point of disruption of the home,” she says. “By employing the behavioural support program and all its tools, we have enhanced knowledge and understanding of our residents.”

At Riverview, the behavioural support program involves a process by which new or escalating behaviours are noted, investigated, analyzed, addressed with supportive measures, and monitored.

From January to December 2012, new or escalated behaviours dropped by 30 per cent; use of as-needed medications to reduce behaviours dropped by 50 per cent.

Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO), a $40-million initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation, provided funding to a selection of Ontario long-term care homes in 2011.

The funding was earmarked for behavioural supports that would enhance quality of life in long-term care homes, particularly with a growing population with complex needs. Examples are Montessori activities specially developed for use with people who have dementia.

Kylie Szczebonski, administrator at Streamway Villa, says her home may have been the most challenging of those in the Central East Local Health Integration Network that received the first round of funding. An older home with the fewest beds, she says the drop in use of as-needed medication for responsive behaviours from 63 per month to one was “remarkable.”

She credits a new employee, Sarah Wilson, with leading the BSO initiative in the home.

“Without Sarah, I don't think we would have had the results we had,” Szczebonski says. Wilson is a registered practical nurse who has specific responsibility to manage behavioural supports at Streamway.

At Forest Hill, the results were equally significant. The use of restraints across all five units dropped by 38 per cent last year, and fall rates actually decreased 48 per cent – a result that provided a serious 'aha' moment for staff.

Managers from all 17 OMNI homes gathered at Fern Resort i yesterday for Day 2 of a three-day retreat, where the video documentaries were previewed for the first time. They will be available on the OMNIway website in the next few days.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 30, or e-mail jeanne(at)

This story was provided to OMNI Health Care by Axiom News and originally appeared on the OMNIway website. Republished with permission.

To learn more about how the Central East LHIN is working with providers to support the Behavioural Supports Ontario initiative, please click HERE.