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Improving Care for Frail Seniors Thanks to Behaviour Success Agents

December 8, 2016

Behaviour Success Agents sitting around a table, planning.

Under the leadership of the new North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services Program, progress is being made to improve care for frail seniors.
In fall 2015, the LHIN led a project to understand why some patients were staying in North Simcoe Muskoka hospitals for long lengths of time.  One of the groups that was identified as needing better support was older adults with cognitive impairment and responsive behaviours.  These patients generally stay longer in hospital because of their behaviours which can include for example, wandering, aggression, restlessness or agitation, resistance to care, yelling or hitting.  As a result of the findings from the project, the LHIN provided funding to implement Behaviour Success Agents (BSAs) at each hospital site across North Simcoe Muskoka (Huntsville, Bracebridge, Orillia, Midland, Barrie, Collingwood and Waypoint in Penetanguishene).
The BSAs started in July and are working with patients, caregivers, and providers to continue to improve the quality of assessment and care provided.  The BSAs are also working with hospital staff and physicians to provide a more standard approach to care across all the hospitals.  Since their implementation, the initiative has seen positive results with customized care plans and standard tools being implemented across all North Simcoe Muskoka hospitals.
Deb Juniper, whose father was connected with a BSA during his stay at Georgian Bay General Hospital in Midland, says she saw an almost immediate improvement in his behaviour with the implementation of the care plan their BSA, Jennifer Radecki, put together. “He was able to start feeding himself, walking and was less agitated. The care plan helped my dad and gave him some of his independence back. Dad is back home with us now and we are managing pretty well.”

The pilot project, which runs until March 31, 2017, hopes to:

  • Build the capacity of health care professionals in NSM hospitals in the assessment and care of older adults with cognitive impairment and responsive behaviours;
  • Enhance self-management abilities of frail seniors and their caregivers;
  • Reduce caregiver burden; and,
  • Increase patient / caregiver satisfaction with services and outcomes
Through this work the BSAs will support 125 patients through 750 visits across North Simcoe Muskoka and hold 1800 education meetings with providers, seniors and their caregivers.