Epilepsy Ontario, long-term care providers collaborating to enhance resident care

August 14, 2014

Two long-term care providers have agreed to assist Epilepsy Ontario with a survey to help determine caregivers’ knowledge of seizure disorders.logohover

The intent is to gain a better understanding of their familiarity with epilepsy, its characteristics and the prevalence of seizure disorders in long-term care.

Managers at homes owned by Peterborough-based OMNI Health Care and the Sarnia-based Steeves & Rozema Group will soon be asked to complete a 10-minute electronic questionnaire about the prevalence of epilepsy in long-term care homes. The information provided will help Epilepsy Ontario and community epilepsy agencies better understand the needs of residents and staff members, and assist homes in finding needed resources.

The survey, which was created by Epilepsy Ontario and Bramm Research, is being conducted as part of an Ontario Trillium Foundation-funded project called From Isolation to Inclusion, which aims to enhance the capacity of community epilepsy agencies across the province to ensure people with seizure disorders have adequate access to resources and information.

Nikki Porter, Epilepsy Ontario’s project manager for the From Isolation to Inclusion initiative, emphasizes that the survey aims to discover opportunities to enhance resident care.

“Our goal in this survey is to achieve an accurate understanding of current levels of awareness and understanding,” she says. “This information will help Epilepsy Ontario and community epilepsy agencies across the province help support long-term care homes, schools and workplaces to accommodate people with epilepsy.”

About five per cent of residents in Steeves & Rozema’s seven long-term care homes have been diagnosed with a seizure disorder, says Jane Zoeger, the company’s vice-president of long-term care.

Zoeger says a key reason for Steeves & Rozema’s participation in the Epilepsy Ontario survey is because the organization understands the impact seizure disorders have on people’s lives and wants to improve quality care wherever possible.

She adds that the company welcomes opportunities to engage long-term care home staff members in epilepsy education to enhance care quality.

“Epilepsy is a diagnosis in long-term care for some of our residents and we are looking to enhance our care and knowledge in this area,” Zoeger says. “Our senior population is getting more complex over time and epilepsy is part of this complexity in long-term care.”

OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy says his organization agreed to participate in this initiative because seizure disorders affect some residents in OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes.

McCarthy says OMNI is also dedicated to creating partnerships with other community organizations, adding he sees the collaboration with Epilepsy Ontario as an opportunity to make a difference.

“Many of our homes have residents diagnosed with seizure disorders, including epilepsy, and I believe that by working together we can help to identify areas where OMNI homes might be able to benefit from education and support services provided by Epilepsy Ontario,” McCarthy says.

“In turn, (this will) help Epilepsy Ontario develop knowledge of prevalence of seizure disorders in long-term care and of the particular support needs of residents living in long-term care homes.”

Writer: Deron Hamel

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