Introducing Anna Slawski

Every day at Think Research, we have the opportunity to work with a number of inspiring clinicians who have dedicated their lives to transforming care. We’re honoured to work with these exceptional clinicians, and to share their success!

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Anna Slawski, Director of Resident Care at Kensington Gardens, a leading, non-profit 350-bed long term care home in Toronto, Ontario. Born in Poland, Anna’s entire 27 year career has been dedicated to fostering a culture of excellence in the long term care setting. She began her journey in a small, 80-bed long term care home as a Registered Nurse. After 10 years she moved to Kensington Gardens in 2002, as a Resident Team Coordinator, and in 2004 she assumed the role of Director of Resident Care. Anna has gained a wealth of experience in seniors’ care and has been leading a dynamic care team which supports quality improvement practices and evidence-based approaches.

When asked about her driving motivation for working in long term care, she replied “it is the passion for innovation and wanting to make a difference in seniors’ care”.

In our discussion, Anna explored some of the complexities surrounding long term care, citing resource challenges, and the ongoing effort to reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations, which can be very stressful for residents with complex care needs. For Anna and the team at Kensington Gardens, the Palliative and End-of-Life CST has enabled them to standardize their assessments. Anna explained that “any new tool can be overwhelming at first, but deploying this CST has definitely been worth it.” She continued, “the Palliative and End-of-Life CST brings an extra level of expertise, best practice and reassurance (for residents, families and care teams) that we are providing the best possible care.”

Switching gears, our discussion then moved into the daily realities of long term care. Anna explained that when a resident moves into a long term care home, it’s not always a welcome change, but often arises out of necessity. It can be very distressing for someone to realize that they will spend the last years of their life outside of their home. Anna’s goal, along with her team, is to ensure that each resident experiences a high quality of life, in a safe and home-like environment at Kensington Gardens. Creating this home-like environment happens to be the most rewarding aspect of her role.

Anna maintains that care is “not always about clinical tasks such as administering medication or providing treatments. It is about getting to know a resident and treating them as an individual, with respect and compassion. It is about listening to their life story and providing reassurance in difficult moments. Making someone comfortable, providing assistance with a drink or a meal, and holding a hand – these small details, these everyday caring moments, often mean the most.”

Long term care providers have an incredible capacity to make a meaningful impact in the lives of residents, and Kensington Gardens is one of several Ontario long term care homes making important change in the sector. We’ve been grateful to work with the Kensington Gardens team, and Anna’s impressive experience and empathetic leadership is truly inspiring. We’re proud to have her as part of our network.

This blog is the fourth in a series. Click here to read the firstsecond and third posts in the series.