Over 800 delegates have descended upon the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the 2015 Together We Care conference taking place March 30th to April 1st. Daniel Fontaine is attending for the first time since taking over as CEO of the BC Care Providers Association. The conference is jointly hosted by the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) as well as the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) [the Ontario equivalent of the BC Seniors Living Association (BCSLA)].
The event kicked off with a special “Leadership Dinner” on Monday evening which was attended by both service provider and commercial members. The trade show attracts well over 300 commercial vendors, many of whom will also be showcasing their products and services at the upcoming BCCPA Annual Conference being held May 24th-26th in Whistler.
On Tuesday, one of the highlights for Fontaine was attending the TD Leadership Panel: Wants, Needs, Demands: Seniors of 2035 panel discussion. The focus of the discussion was on what services and programs the seniors of the future and their families will be demanding of care providers. Dr. Peter Coyte, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, told the audience he anticipates seniors will be looking for “customized care”. He characterized this as the care required by the individual, not merely the bundle of services offered by the provider. The one-hour dialogue was moderated by Steve Paikin, host of The Agenda on TVO.
“There have been some very thought-provoking comments and ideas being discussed here in Toronto,” says Fontaine. “But what I’m struck by most is the fact that care providers in BC are not much different than their Ontario counterparts when it comes to the challenges they face and the opportunities at-hand to further enhance the current care delivery model.”
Panelists were also asked to discuss how they thought the funding of care would change heading into 2035. Economist Finn Poschmann, CD Howe Institute, was opposed to expanding the current universal programs. Fellow panelist Susan Eng appeared more convinced this was the right path to take arguing that Canada has a proud history of working collectively for the common good.
All of the panelists agreed that the current funding model will face significant pressures due to a rapidly ageing population. Some of the ideas floated by the panelists included supporting a major expansion of the Canada Pension Plan, long-term care insurance and the introduction of asset-testing.
“The panelists were all in agreement about one thing,” says Fontaine. “The demographic of the Canadian family is quickly changing and with some families having only one or possibly no children to care for them as they age, this will pose a whole set of unique problems for seniors and government policy makers.”
Later in the afternoon Fontaine also attended “New Era of Transparency: Welcome to the Nude Beach”. The session was moderated by Andre Picard, columnist with the Globe and Mail. The discussion centred around what the impacts would be to residents and care home operators when government requires even more public reporting of outcomes and statistics. There were representatives from Government of Ontario, the Canadian Institute for Health Information as well as Health Quality Ontario.
A number of questions and comments directed to the panelists from the delegates focused on how care providers are often required to collect and report similar data from different government entities.
It was noted that there appears to be a serious lack of coordination between those asking for the information. One delegate said more should be done to get “all the players” around the same table to make sure they don’t add unnecessary red tape to operators.
On the final day of the conference, delegates will be attending a plenary session titled “Living Labs: The Nursing Home of the Future, Aalborg, Denmark – Integrated Seniors Housing Models for the Continuum of Care”. A series of other concurrent workshops will focus on the issue of technology in long term care, cultural diversity and unlocking the potential of specialized services.
If you would like to earn 9 MOC 1 credits and attend the 38th Annual BCCPA Conference, please click here. This is the largest continuing care sector event of its kind west of Toronto.