Earlier this week, Daniel Fontaine, CEO for the BCCPA, attended the LeadingAge conference in Boston, Massachusetts. It gathered over 8,500 people from across multiple continents to discuss the issue of seniors care. The event had been recommended by several BCCPA members who indicated it was one of the best of its kind in North America.
On Sunday, Nov. 1 he attended several workshops on a variety of topics. In the morning, there was a session on emerging technologies and business practices in home health and home care. What became clear is that a number of long-term care operators are already in or considering a move into the home care business.
“I was struck at how many long-term care providers were seriously looking at expanding their suite of services to incorporate home care and home support,” says Fontaine. “While this trend doesn’t quite yet appear to have caught on in Canada, it may well be the business model of the future.”
The largest single event of the conference was the general plenary which featured keynote speaker Dr. Atul Gawande. His presentation covered many of the ideas and concepts put forward in his best-selling book “Being Mortal”.
Gawande cited an example of two separate cohorts of individuals diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. One group was provided with access to palliative care, the other was not. In the end, the patients who received adequate palliative care not only lived longer, they were able to improve significantly the quality of the end of their life.
Fontaine also attended a session on the issue of merger and acquisitions as they pertain to the non-profit sector. This was an excellent presentation which highlighted the important need for care providers to develop new affiliations, collaborations and partnerships. A number of case studies were reviewed which exposed various pathways and hurdles to developing sustainable and functioning partnerships.
“It’s even clearer to me that we need to get the BC Continuing Care Collaborative up and running as soon as possible,” says Fontaine. “There are so many issues our sector could assist government and the health authorities if we can establish more meaningful, effective and on-going dialogue.”
The conference was also brought to life with the addition of a massive commercial exhibition hall with hundreds of vendors. Many of the same vendors also attend the BCCPA annual conference in Whistler.
One of the unique ideas was the development of a “Shark Tank” whereby groups of care providers and students developed ideas to improve seniors care. They were required to pitch them to four expert panelists in front of a live audience. Delegates were encouraged to vote for the “people’s choice” with a panel from LeadingAge presenting a $5000 award to the overall winners.
“I really enjoyed how they started the conference by demonstrating how important innovation is for our sector,” says Fontaine. “By mixing seniors, providers and researchers together they were able to come up with some interesting concepts in a short period of time.”
Fontaine will be reporting back to the BCCPA Conference Committee regarding which ideas and concepts it may want to replicate when the industry gathers in Whistler in May 2016.
“There were some stellar speakers and ideas we will want to try and bring into this market,” says Fontaine. “But what I’m most impressed by is how our conference stacks up against the one I just attended. While it can’t compare in size, I believe provides our members with access to high quality and interesting speakers on par with those I heard from in Boston.”
On the final day of the conference Fontaine was able to meet with Katie Sloan, incoming CEO of LeadingAge based in Washington, DC. Sloan was extended an invitation to attend the upcoming BCCPA conference next year. There were also discussions on how the Canadian Alliance of Long-Term Care (CALTC) and the various provincial associations could be more involved with LeadingAge in the years to come.
Some of the more memorable quotes from the conference speakers included:
- “Some is not a number. Soon is not a time. And hope is not a strategy”
- “Baby boomers helped change the way we gave birth. They will end up doing the same thing to the way we age.”
- “Make sure you live your life as a person, not as a patient. Right up to the end of your life.”