Afton Park develops program to strengthen staff members’ BSO knowledge

Creative Thinking Challenge aims to enhance quality of life for residents with cognitive impairment

Pictured above is the winning team from Afton Park Place's April 14 Creative Thinking Challenge.

Afton Park Place’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team has introduced a new, fun way to build capacity within the Sarnia long-term care home’s front-line team to develop interventions to enhance quality of life for residents with cognitive impairment.

At the heart of the Creative Thinking Challenge is the goal of enhancing front-line staff members’ critical thinking skills and creativity, and encouraging people to “think outside the box” to develop interventions for residents experiencing agitation before consulting the BSO team.

The first Creative Thinking Challenge was April 14. Staff from two areas of the home were presented with the same scenario after breakfast and given time to work through it on their shift as a team. Submissions from both teams were then collected for review and scoring by the BSO team.

Some of the ideas the teams came up with included consulting the BSO handbook for interventions as well as meeting with staff members in other departments, including dietary and housekeeping, to discuss ways to work best with individual residents, explains Danielle Rogers, a registered practical nurse (RPN) and BSO team member at Afton Park Place.

“We asked that the ideas presented by staff reflect the BSO and GPA (Gentle Persuasive Approach) strategies, which are non-pharmacological interventions, and (to) use correct behavioural terms, avoiding labels and assumptions typically made about behaviours,” Rogers says.

One of the teams was declared “winner” of the challenge. The teams then reviewed their successes with their colleagues.

“This proved to be a valuable learning experience as we found that sharing their ideas with their peers created ‘a-ha’ moments and therefore built capacity amongst the staff,” Rogers says.

“After discussion with staff, we found that the challenge was well received. Several other team workers who hadn’t had the opportunity to participate in the initial challenge approached (the BSO team) to inquire about the next challenge date, which is on April 21.”

The BSO team plans to continue the Creative Thinking Challenge each month.

BSO is a provincial initiative that’s enhancing quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that can cause agitation. The funding, which is provided to long-term care homes through the province’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks, is largely put towards staff education.

Rogers and personal support worker (PSW) Alyssa Vermeersch are the home’s internal BSO team. RNs Shelly Hazzard, RPN Renata Rabideau, PSW Tanya Pietens and PSW Kristina Podolinsky make up the external BSO team.

This story was provided to the Steeves & Rozema Group by Axiom News and originally appeared on the S&R Today website. Republished with permission.

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