Grove shifting to social model of care

ARNPRIOR – It’s a simple idea, but one that highlights the Grove long-term care centre’s shifting focus on providing a social model of care instead of a medical model.

Last Thursday (May 21), the Grove’s Family Council chair Marilyn Colton, a Panmure resident in West Carleton, dropped off $100 worth of flowers and gardening products at the long-term care centre donated free by Rona, Arnprior Building Supplies.

The plan is to get those residents who are interested, out in the courtyard gardening and beautifying their home.

“RONA did not hesitate at all,” Colton told West Carleton Online from the Grove last Thursday. “I didn’t even give them a price. They were very generous.”

It’s an opportunity for residents to get outside, get their hands dirty and socialize in a way familiar to them.

“It’s very therapeutic,” Colton, who spent nine years as the administrator at Almonte’s Country Haven long-term care home, said. “I thought they needed something to plant.”

The Grove has been positively conspicuous in its absence from the media during the pandemic. It’s not news to report how hard long-term care homes have been hit by COVID-19. Many, many long-term care homes throughout Ottawa and the Valley have been tragically devastated by the coronavirus, several battling outbreaks with hundreds of deaths among residents and even staff. There has not been one case of COVID-19 reported at the Grove.

“They’re a model here,” Colton said. “They’re a model for Ontario. The leadership has been amazing. They were taking temperatures of staff before a lot of other centres started enacting their own policies.”

On March 13 Arnprior Regional Health (ARH) which operates the Grove, enacted new policies at their facilities even before the provincial state of emergency was declared.

At the time (or shortly before) ARH cancelled Seniors Active Living Centre programming (including the Men’s Shed) and the Adult Day Program indefinitely for the safety of members, clients and staff.

ARH implemented active screening at the Grove entrance for staff, family and visitors and limited the number of visitors. Shortly after that, the Grove restricted visitors to essential visitors only – a family member of a patient or resident who is very ill or dying.

Meanwhile, the Grove is right in the middle of a huge expansion. The construction project is about 15 per cent done and will add 36 new long-term care beds in a new facility adjacent to the original building. The construction project is led by West Carleton construction company McDonald Brothers Construction. ARH is live-streaming the construction so the community can watch the build.

The new construction is also marking a new style of care provided by the Grove and its team.

“With the new build the Grove has adopted the social model of care instead of the medical model,” Colton said. “It will make a big difference in the lives of residents. It’s a model with the residents in charge. It’s their home, they choose to be here.”

Colton says the team isn’t necessarily waiting for the completion of the construction project to enact some of these changes.

“You start by getting to really know the residents,” Colton said. “Enhancing their experience and allowing them to get involved in the look and operation of their home.”

Doing the gardening themselves is just one of those projects – one that does not have a huge financial cost. Getting interested residents involved in the operation of the home is another method.

“One resident wanted to deliver the mail,” Colton said. “They want to help with the operation. We were able to get that started but had to temporarily suspend it due to the pandemic. But I’m just so excited about it.”