Finding a Better Balance: Implementing Family Presence in Ontario LTC Homes
Long-term care (LTC) homes have experienced the worst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in Canada, with residents of these homes accounting for nearly 80% of all Canadian COVID‑19 deaths. Between March and April of 2020 when outbreaks and deaths intensified in Canadian LTC homes, provinces across the country implemented strict blanket “no visitor” policies as part of their LTC infection prevention and control (IPAC) strategies. In response, members of our implementation science team (IST) published National Institute on Ageing (NIA) guidance in July 2020 on the reopening of Canadian LTC homes to family caregivers and visitors during the COVID‑19 pandemic. This guidance was widely disseminated, and led to several provinces updating their visitor policies. Reports from residents and family caregivers collated by our team suggest an inconsistent and incomplete implementation of this updated family presence policy. Our multiphase project will accomplish the following objectives: 1) Update provincial data collection tools to capture metrics on caregiver and visitor access to LTC homes and LTC resident absences and their relation to relationship with COVID‑19 outbreaks in LTC homes; 2) Conduct an analysis of provincial quantitative data on caregiver and visitor access and qualitative LTC home data on the barriers and facilitators to implementing family presence; and 3) Execute and study an implementation strategy at our partner LTC homes, and create a learning collaborative on the implementation of family presence in LTC homes across the province.