Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital supports Senior Friendly Care through ongoing education initiatives.

Smiths Falls, ON – To date over 100 staff of the Perth & Smiths Falls District Hospital have participated in specialized training developed by Advanced Gerontological Education Inc. called “Gentle Persuasive Approaches (GPA) in Dementia Care: Responding to Persons with Challenging Behaviour”.  The Hospital is embarking this program to enhance quality of care for patients.  The curriculum was developed so that professional caregivers could enhance their compassionate and effective techniques to help persons with dementia when they are very upset and frustrated.  GPA has been proven to help professional caregivers and health care workers intervene in an effective manner that is non-punitive, respectful and self-protective.  Vice President, Patient Care Services/CNE Linda Bisonette notes that this program, “also supports the educational requirements outlined in Bill 168, Occupational Health and Safety Act which deals with Violence and Harassment in the Workplace.”

Patient Care Manager, Susan Roberts, who coordinates the educational program, notes, “At PSFDH a mix of nursing, allied health, dietary, housekeeping and management staff from all units on both sites of the hospital have benefited from these full day training sessions.”  These workshops involve a review of effective verbal and non verbal communications, strategies to de-escalate behaviours, as well as to teach enhanced assessment skills in order to identify and address possible triggers to challenging behaviours.  The afternoon portion of this full day training involves learning hands-on, practical redirection techniques.  Dealing with a potentially aggressive patient due to dementia or other conditions can be one of the most uncomfortable and sometimes frightening situations a staff person can find themselves in.

In order to provide this valuable training, the hospital has partnered with the Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant for Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, Debbie Steele who is a certified GPA coach.  Staff feedback of this training has been overwhelmingly positive with each session having a waiting list of staff hoping to secure a spot in the training.  Ms. Bisonette indicates that, “two additional programs are currently being planned with the ultimate goal of ensuring that all staff members have this training opportunity.”  Staff who have had the opportunity to participate have consistently indicated that the workshop has improved their confidence and competence with responding to challenging behaviour as they are better able to identify triggers, to communicate more effectively with the patient and to identify appropriate and respectful responses to potentially escalating behaviours.

Positive comments from family members of these patients indicate that they are seeing an improvement in care which is focused on ensuring that situations are avoided which might cause an escalation of challenging behaviours.

Todd Stepanuik, President & CEO supports the hospital plans to continue to provide this training on an ongoing basis as it “supports a never ending pursuit of excellence and efficiency in patient care and quality services.”  He stated that this program is yet another example of how the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital is investing in and supporting staff to provide quality care for patients with increasingly complex medical needs.

For more information contact:

Todd Stepanuik,President & CEO

Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital

613-283-2330 ext. 1130

Great War Memorial Site
33 Drummond Street West
Perth, ON K7H 2K1
Tel: (613) 267-1500
Smiths Falls Site
60 Cornelia Street West
Smiths Falls, ON K7A 2H9
Tel: (613) 283-2330

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