NEW GLASGOW, N.S.
In today’s world, the sharing of best practices at a national and even international is now a reality for many sectors and with increasing demands faced by facilities delivering continuing care within Nova Scotia, it is becoming more necessary to seek innovations that will pave a path to the highest of standards.
“Long-term care is very different than it was even 20 years ago,” says Lisa Smith, CEO for Glen Haven Manor. “Nova Scotians are living to more advanced years and seniors are often staying in their personal homes longer. When they enter a new stage in their lives that requires more support and come to a long-term care facility, the level of care required is often at a high level. We must be prepared to offer the very best of continuing care practices along with a high quality of life for our elders and to assure the well-being of each resident with a wholistic approach.”
She said that at Glen Haven they believe in investing in education and training as well as seeking out innovative and progressive care standards. In keeping with this approach, Smith along with Glen Haven’s Director of Quality & Resident Care, Heather Shepherd and Donna MacLane, Director of Community, Relationships & Engagement were invited to join a Canadian delegation that took part in a Healthy Aging Tour and best practices mission to Copenhagen, Denmark in the fall, organized by Healthcare Denmark and the Royal Danish Consulate in Toronto. This opportunity came to the forefront in association with Smith’s role on the National Seniors Council which provides advice to the federal Minister of Employment and Social Development and the Minister of Health.
Denmark is known world-wide for its progressive approach to health care but also as a nation with a high standard of living, well-being and happiness. A shared value set between Canada and Denmark in health care, the desire to have mutual learning in this important field, and a commitment to inspire each other were hallmarks of the tour which saw professionals from Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Denmark exchange information, network and establish partnerships.
“We have brought back information on the Danish approach to care, that not only encompasses many of the best practices we proudly already adhere to but also an inspiring overall way of life, and well-being,” says Smith. “We were also impressed by several innovative tools in therapeutic resources that we saw and are proud to say that the Nordic Wellness Chair and the Musicure Pillow have already been brought to Glen Haven residents with more to come.”
Smith cites “Hygge” as the most unique and motivating part of Denmark’s identity as a people and as a nation.
“Hygge is an experience that is core to the Danish way to live well and is critical to how they deliver continuing care. It is about an atmosphere and an uplifting way of being. In addition to providing the very best of personal care, it is about overall warmth, togetherness, harmony, comfort, and security,” she explains. “Hygge means creating a home for residents that is filled with light, making memories, contentment, safety and happiness and taking it to a new level. It is about the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures that make a place a home and is like a hug without touching. We have begun introducing more Hygge into our overall quality and resident care model and look forward to the benefits residents will receive from this world renown approach.”
Shepherd described the Healthy Aging Tour as an opportunity to experience and discover first-hand about European health care which is at the forefront of health care world-wide.
“It was inspiring to see the way Denmark invests in health care which results in such strong support for its older citizens, whom they describe as the backbone of their nation. Denmark is also a leader in high quality care and treatment within the field of memory care with a national dementia strategy introduced in April 2018,” she said.
“Continuously staying abreast of innovations such as these affirm Glen Haven's commitment to quality care that meets national and even international standards,” says Smith. “Challenges with communicating and performing everyday tasks can take a toll on elders with dementia. Supporting our residents who are dealing with memory care conditions relax through soothing music and tactile stimulation has a very positive impact on their quality of life. These new tools have been added to other therapeutic services we offer such as the Snoelezen Room, occupational and physiotherapy, music therapy, the mechanical pets, which all contribute to their well-being.”
Terry Richardson, who has a loved one at Glen Haven, says he is grateful Glen Haven is consistently pursuing leading edge therapeutic services. “I am very impressed that Glen Haven has chosen to invest in the latest of equipment that delivers therapeutic solutions to care and commend them.
Another standout from the tour for Smith, Shepherd and MacLane was the Living Lab they visited in Copenhagen. Citizens of Denmark are testing new tools and methods every day as businesses trial the latest in equipment and machinery. Continuing care workers are also being trained at the lab. Shepherd explains that the living lab is much more than a testing environment. There is also a social atmosphere and a feeling of welcome with lots of activity and stimulation. “Canadian health care is keeping apace and excelling on many fronts but in the areas of investment and research Denmark has a very progressive model,” she comments. “I was also impressed with Hygge and the whole Danish way of life which comes from this approach. This was demonstrated in the calmness and friendliness and exchange among people everywhere you went, whether in nursing homes or on the streets and sidewalks or in local businesses,” she adds.