Sharing leadership expertise: connecting worker safety and resident care in a long-term care home

Sharing leadership expertise: connecting worker safety and resident care in a long-term care home

Written by Malton Village long-term care home

In March 2017, the Region of Peel initiated a pilot project investigating the Butterfly™ model of dementia care at one of its long-term care homes, Malton Village. Butterfly is a model of dementia care that originated in the United Kingdom and has been in existence for over two decades.

The Butterfly model of dementia care is based on the principles of a social interaction model. This means that the main objective is to build up the awareness, skills and responses of those caring for people living with dementia in order to improve the overall experience for both people living in the home and workers. Basically, workers become like family members to people living in the home, with intimate knowledge of people’s pasts, interests, strengths and challenges in order to make their day-to-day lives richer and more fulfilling. Boredom is one of the most common causes of expressive or responsive behaviours for people living with dementia. The Butterfly Model leads to a reduction in boredom necessary to reduce distress expressions and ‘violence’ towards workers. Structural and design changes to the home are also required to reduce anxiety, confusion and exhaustion for people living with dementia; all possible contributors to expressive behaviours that may result in workplace violence incidents.

For example, painting the walls in bright colours with sharp contrast between colours helps people to find things and go where they want to go thereby reducing the fear and anxiety associated with feeling lost. Two decades of measuring outcomes of the Butterfly model implementation support that this person- centred approach, involving all levels and types of staff (e.g. housekeeping, dietary, facilities, management and care staff), reduces boredom and anxiety for the person living with dementia, increases the overall job satisfaction of the people working there and proactively supports a violence-free workplace. The pilot project at Malton Village saw a decrease in responsive behaviours towards staff and a reduction in injuries. The pilot also observed a considerable increase in meaningful engagement* for people living with dementia, an increase in staff job satisfaction and a reduction in incidental sick time.

For workers, the butterfly model translates into knowing the work they do really makes a difference in someone’s life, a difference that can be seen and felt every time they work, while proactively supporting a violence-free workplace. A workplace win/win!

*: the term ‘meaningful engagement’ is a term and outcome indicator used by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and is a required measurement through Resident Assessment Instrument Minimum Data Set (RAI MDS).