Anyone who works in the long-term care sector can agree: the daily challenges faced by providers are numerous. The Think Research team, together with partners and clients in our network, has been working to develop tools in standardizing care. One example is a General Resident Assessment tool, which standardizes processes at a fundamental point in a resident’s journey: admission.

The point of admission is critical in a resident’s journey, both for a resident and for care providers. It’s at this time that a 24 hour comprehensive care plan needs to be created, with risks fully outlined and understood. Admission is often accompanied by a considerable amount of manual data entry, and often this data entry is duplicated, resulting in workflow inefficiencies and administrative burden. To address this, Think Research is developing a General Resident Assessment tool that will standardize admission across long-term care homes. While the exact framework of the tool is still being developed, the overarching vision is clear- standardize the admission process and thereby allow registered care providers more time to spend on what counts: caring for residents.

In an effort to gather essential input from our community, Think Research recently hosted another successful workshop, which provided a forum for long-term care providers and front line staff to exchange their views on the resident admission process. The purpose of this workshop was to present the prototype to clinical partners, clients and stakeholders, with the goal of incorporating feedback into the development of the tool. 28 leaders from across our long-term care network were in attendance, plus 3 additional experts, including skilled facilitator Dr. Barbara J. Zarowitz, Professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, along with Chris Brockington, Partner at In Initiative Inc. and Vinita Haroun from the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA).

To obtain a full spectrum of perspectives, the Think Research team invited a range of leaders from various long-term care homes and organizations within the sector, including Directors of Care, Quality Improvement Coordinators, nurses, frontline staff and others. Various regions were also represented, with attendees flying into Toronto from northern Ontario and other areas in the province. The workshop lasted all day, with a welcome breakfast, admission assessment comparison and analysis, along with discussion of the admission content. Finally, breakout sessions allowed groups to review and provide feedback on a specific section of the GRA assessment.

The day was truly about sharing stories, different perspectives and insights – with a shared goal of improving resident care. The atmosphere was one of high energy, with lots of passionate debate, useful feedback and attendees agreeing on the value of the GRA tool.

A dominant theme that emerged, and an ongoing challenge within the sector at large, is the need to consider the unique specificities of individual homes and their workflows. Long-term care homes often have different care tools and services; it’s this variance in resources, technologies and clinical practices that provides the greatest challenge (and opportunity for us at Think Research!) in designing a solution that can effectively bridge these variances and improve daily workflows.

The provided feedback is being gathered and synthesized. It will then be incorporated into the GRA tool, which will be initially deployed in a few homes, and scaled thereafter. We’d like to thank all of the workshop attendees and facilitators, and look forward to bringing this tool to the long-term care sector. It’s an important step in supporting our shared mission: to provide excellence in long-term care, from the very beginning of a resident’s journey and throughout each step of the way.