Clinical R&D

Dementia Care Workshop: Sharing Best Practices across the Ontario Network

November 13, 2017

By: Sarah Aterman

Think Research’s Clinical Research and Development team; a team comprised of nurses, pharmacists, and other health care providers; recently hosted a dementia care workshop collaborating with local leaders in long-term care earlier this fall. Think Research’s Knowledge Translation Specialists continuously develop evidence based research on dementia (amongst other ailments) into a library of clinical support tools.

Despite concerted efforts across the healthcare industry to pool clinical knowledge around dementia care best practices, there are observable gaps in translating these at the point of care. While this is a common challenge, it’s exacerbated in dementia care by the various stigmas, and lack of support for mental health conditions.

Attendees of this dementia workshop included:

  • Chase Everett McMurren – Physician Lead at PrimaryCare@Home Program, Taddle Creek Family Health Team
  • Suman Iqbal – Long-Term Care Best Practice Manager, RNAO
  • Andrea Moser – Associated Medical Director, Baycrest
  • Melanie Negru – Behavioural Supports Ontario RN, Chartwell Westmount Long Term Care Residence
  • Maria Nelson – Advanced Practice Nurse (Inpatient psychiatry, behaviour neurology and palliative care), Baycrest
  • Benoit Robert – Medical Director, Perley Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre
  • Anna Slawski – Director of Resident Care, Kensington Health
  • Marie Smith – Nurse at CAMH, Ontario Nurses’ Association Representative for Geriatric Mental Health Outpatient Program

The three main goals of this workshop were to:

  1. Discuss dementia care needs: Engaging and collaborating with healthcare providers to open up a dialogue for attendees to discuss behavioural symptoms of patients and residents in Long-Term Care Homes. As an often under-discussed area of care, this was a critical opportunity for members of our network to open up about their realities.
  2. Ensure content is real and relevant: It has been proven that non-pharmacological treatments can be effective when treating dementia patients. These treatments allow symptom mitigation for dementia patients by stimulating memory problems and could minimize aggressive behavior. Applying non-drug related treatments can often help patients and it is becoming a best practice to try at least 3 non-pharmalogical therapies such as routine exercise. Applying this kind of modern thinking to our Order Sets and library system will help ensure all facilities across our network, whether specializing in dementia or not, are able to apply these new approaches.
  3. Align Think Research’s content offerings to the needs of Dementia Care: Our tools such as Order Sets, eRefferals, Progress Notes, and Virtual Care are used in hospitals and clinics to enhance patient care. These tools are used to support Think Research’s platform of products that are utilized by clinicians across the continuum of care. The clinical content aligns with Health Quality Ontario’s Quality Standards handbook and is currently available across the province as part of the Quality Based Procedures (QBP) program. Think Research also works with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) and the Ontario Long-Term Care Association (OLTCA) to deliver these clinical tools.

Think Research’s Kirsten Lewis, Vice President, Research and Development, facilitated brain storming and an open discussion covering the current state of patients, identifying gaps in dementia care, and exploring how to bridge these gaps. Discussion around the appropriate terminology that should be used amongst caregivers and healthcare practitioners especially in Ontario was also explored.  One interesting example was the use of the term “training” within an Order Set, and how it was intended as “patient education on self care” might be mistranslated as “formal nurse training and certification”. These kinds of practical field-level insights were incredibly informative and sparked great interested amongst participants in the Ontario sector.

Want to join the discussion? If you would like to participate in further clinical workshops hosted by Think Research’s R&D team and impact the Canadian health care sector, please email