Addressing Systemic Issues
With the realization that Covid-19 was going to impact our colleagues, clients and the environment we live in, we needed to act fast to be prepared. Our clients would need us now more than ever, and our workplace had to be ready to deliver. Below you will find some documents outlining the work behind getting ready for the pandemic of 2020.
The voices from the community are loud and clear: we need to address longstanding inequities in the access to healthcare. Each of us as individuals, and all organizations, must become engaged in this important work. In June, Toronto Public Health declared anti-Black racism a public health crisis. All the research continues to show race/racism is a social determinant of health. While we do not have all the answers, you can see the work we are doing below to try to make change in our community.
We made ourselves accountable to the following deliverables:
- Many of us have immersed ourselves in learning—webinars, books, documentaries, and articles—and the learning continues.
- We have conducted an education session on systemic racism for the leadership members of the Alzheimer Societies in Ontario (there are 29 local Alzheimer Societies in the province).
- Understanding: We are beginning to collect race-based data throughout our First Link program to help us better understand the demographics of our clients so we can ask the right questions about the groups of people we know are missing from the clients we serve.
- Open Conversations: We have discussed systemic racism and white privilege openly at our staff meeting—and this will be an on-going discussion.
- Training Programs: We will launch a training program in September for leadership across the province on understanding race.
Here are some additional references about the communications we’ve sent out and the materials we’ve based our plans around:
Health System Transformation
In partnership with local Alzheimer Societies, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario released this statement on their feedback of the Proposed Regulatory Changes Under the Connecting Care Act, 2019.
You can read their statement here:
In May 2020, the Canadian Armed Forces released a report outlining the unacceptable conditions found in Long-Term Care Homes across Ontario. The news shocked, but did not surprise what many already knew to be true. The Long-Term Care Home situation in Ontario needed a major overhaul. Read our response to the release of the report below, along with other actions we have taken to make real change.
As well, The Alzheimer Society of Toronto has formed an outreach team to gauge how we can better support our colleagues and mutual clients in the long-term care setting. The team is comprised of staff members who have intersected with the long-term care sector through their current and previous roles in supporting older adults and their families. On board we have a Public Education Coordinator; a Social Worker; and a Care Navigator. Their aim is to deepen the relationship with long-term care homes in Toronto and explore the ways in which they can come together to support staff, residents, and families in the journey of caring for people living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Currently they offer education and workshops, one to one counseling, care navigation, support groups, and active living programs. They are extremely interested in creating space for an open dialogue around your ideas, needs, feedback, and ways in which we can partner for continued resilience and person-centered care in long-term care.