KEEPING THE VISION
A presentation made by the OPADD Co-Chairs Sandy Keshen and Margaret Ringland to representatives and Co-Chairs from the eight OPADD regions October 30, 2006.
It is a pleasure to be here today with you. Thank-you for your dedication to the agenda of aging and developmental disabilities.
It is through your leadership that older adults with a developmental disability will be enabled to enjoy continuing quality of life during the aging process. Yesterdayevening and into tomorrow you are learning more about what OPADD is doing across Ontario and
your role in the regions. The many information, training and dialogue sessions over these three days have been developed to provide as much opportunity as possible to bring us together as a team and to help us focus on the work ahead.
GENESIS OF OPADD
The partnership did not grow out of a mandated or legislated requirement. The partnership was conceived as staff and managers
in the developmental services and long term care systems noticed that they lacked the training and experience to support older adults with a developmental disability.
OPADD developed out of professional concern for:
- The well-being of older adults with a developmental disability.
- The capacity of the service system to respond to the needs of an aging population with
Our partnership formed around a vision where all older adults with a developmental disability have the same rights as any
Ontario citizen to access long term care services and programs.
Our partnership also grew from a sense of stewardship – as stewards of the resources within the service system we have
a responsibility to ensure they are used wisely and with effectiveness. As the needs of our clientele change we must
change to meet them.
1999 – symposium on aging and developmental disabilities in Toronto funded by Health Canada:
- Experts shared their research findings about aging with a developmental disability.
- People working in the long term care and developmental services systems rubbed shoulders.
- As people shared in the same learning experience they identified the need to move forward
together because each sector held part of the knowledge and experience required to address
the issues of this population.
2000 / 2001 - Four workshops held across Ontario to explore the issues and test the readiness for
cross sector partnering:
- Kingston, London, Orillia and Thunder Bay
- Workshops resulted in continuing investigation and formation of partnerships:
o Formation of committees to provide cross sector training (e.g. the Orillia group formed
the Central East Cross Sector training Committee that organized and delivered training
sessions on a regular basis)
o Formation of committees to develop a cross sector planning process (e.g. Huron
County established a committee that developed principles and protocols for cross
sector transition planning).
o Development of cross sector service delivery (e.g. Community Living in Wingham
partnered with an adult day service to create access to day program services).
2002 – Work continued on building the partnership across all of Ontario.
2003 – Funding submission to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for a five year project to develop the partnership.
2004 – Five year project initiated.
2004 /2005 – building of infrastructure to support partnership activities (regions, newsletter, web site, task groups.
2006 - We are now midstream in the realization of our five year partnership-building goal. All regions will soon have had an initial or follow-up workshop and be moving forward on projects to develop cross sector planning capacity, service delivery and best practices.
VISION VALUES AND GOALS
OPADD is about:
- Equal treatment for people with a developmental disability as they age.
- Professional relationships among people working in the sectors.
- Changing the system so it can accommodate the vision of equal treatment for all older adults
with a developmental disability.
- Moving the system forward in a flexible way so it can adapt to the changes and pressures it faces.
- Relying on our ingenuity and our capacity for responsible stewardship to make limited resources work for people.
- Dignity for older adults with a developmental disability.
- Well-planned transitions to services for seniors that ensure the individual’s social circle and support systems remain intact.
- Relationships that are respectful and lasting.
- Building solid working relationships among local projects and regional tables, across regions and between the regions and the provincial table.
OPADD is not about:
- Institutionalizing people.
- Creating a parallel system that effectively excludes older adults with a developmental disability from accessing the wide range of services for Ontario seniors.
- Hoping for a solution from the influx of large amounts of funding.
- Abandoning people on the long term care doorstep.
- Working within our old silos.
Changing the system is a multi-faceted project that requires lateral thinking and visionary leadership from all of us.
What is lateral thinking? What did you think about when you locked your keys in your car? You not only searched all
possibilities for solving your immediate problem but likely planned ahead so the same thing could not happen again.
It is this kind of creativity that we must bring to the task at hand. If you find yourself lacking for ideas just pretend
you are locked out of your car and see if the creative juices don’t start flowing again.
What is visionary leadership? Its why we are here – because we understand something needs to be done even though
many others do not yet share our vision or our commitment to it. Your leadership is evident in the fact that you have
stepped forward and have taken the time from busy home and work schedules to come together in building out
partnership and ensuring a viable regional presence across Ontario.
As leaders in this important project we must keep sharing the vision so others can see and understand it. We must be
encouraging, persistent, articulate and mindful of the importance of this work so that older adults with a developmental
disability enjoy the same rights to accessing seniors services as all older adults.
Systemic change must occur on several levels:
1. Service delivery – new models that work for people.
2. Research – Evaluating what works, searching for new knowledge
3. Academic – training workers, managers and various professionals in the new reality of aging
with a developmental disability.
4. Policy – shifts in policy and regulation to allow us to work outside of our silos and in partnership.
The change that is required on these several levels requires that we engage a multitude of players over the long term.
The work will depend on our capacity to establish and sustain solid provincial and local across sector relationships and
seek solutions together.
The challenge will be to remain engaged and engage others when there is no financial pay-off.
We are stewards on behalf of the well-being of older adults with a developmental disability.
PARTNERING IS THE WAY
OPADD is not about using partnerships as a means to an end it is about using partnerships as the way.
OPADD strives to reflect this in our committee structure and in how we approach our many projects since each sector
holds part of the knowledge. The partnership model is not based on an ideology but on the practical way we must look
at the challenges that lie ahead.
The developmental services sector does not have all the answers to the challenges ahead.
Seniors services are lot merely long term care homes. The majority of seniors want to age athome and the vast majority of
services are geared to supporting people in their own homes. However, the reality is that some cannot do so. Therefore it is
important that there be LTC homes able to address individual needs in a sensitive, dignified and caring manner with the knowledge
and expertise to meet the variance in resident need.
The long term care home sector has about 618 homes with over 75,000 beds. About 52% of these are for-profit beds while the
rest are not-for-profit run by charities, municipalities and non-profit corporations.
While I cannot speak for the for-profit operations, I can tell you that many not-for-profit homes have lead the way in
designing service to meet the needs of a variety of special populations: culturally/ethically unique, younger populations,
those with mental illnesses and severe dementias and in some places, those with developmental disabilities who require
24 hour support.
OANHSS has taken an active role in the Ontario Partnership because we believe that we can do more together to ensure
quality of life for older adults than we can ever accomplish on our own.
OANHSS is only one of many provincial associations that are members of OPADD. The Ontario Partnership has very significant participation from the two sectors. However, there is much work to do in bringing the message to others and to build the
WHAT WE HAVE DONE AND HOW WE SUPPORT YOU
Facilitated the establishment of eight regions across Ontario, which are now carrying the work forward through regional
cross sector workshops and pilot projects.
Regional committees provide a focal point for sustained cross sector dialogue and the evolution of cross sector planning
capacity. This is where you come in
How have we supported the field?
Developed methods for information sharing and knowledge dissemination:
- Newsletter – the OPADD Letter published quarterly.
- The OPADD Update – distributed monthly.
- OPADD website – large site with wealth of information and links to many sites within Canada and around the world.
- Regional web pages – the OPADD website has provision for large amounts of information from the regions – this resources remains under utilized and regions are encouraged to explore how they can use these pages to keep people within their regions informed as well as to share their knowledge with others so we can continue to build a solid provincial model
of cross sector collaboration.
Developed links with policy–makers and planners: More on this in a moment
Developing links with academics and researchers:
- Presentations to Developmental Service Worker students
- Exploring avenues for curriculum reform
- Developing links with the research community.
- Researchers are active members of the partnership
WORKING WITH THE MINISTRIES
Essential to an effective service delivery strategies is public policy support. To foster an such support we have build a positive relationship with the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. This partnership
has grown over the past few years. We have witnessed their growth in working together on the aging and developmental
disabilities file. Our communications now tend to be jointly to both Ministries and their responses are tending to be done jointly.
Some outcomes of this work has been:
- Providing input to government planning and consultation processes.
- Being invited to participate and present at internal ministry planning committees.
- The new joint Ministry Protocol for Access to Long Term Care includes provision for cross sector dialogue, planning and training; also acknowledges need for cross sector resourcesharing to provide for smooth transition planning.
- MCSS Transformation Initiative recognizes the contributions of OPADD to addressing the challenge surrounding supporting older adults with a developmental disability.
This is a significant shift for the Ministries and one we must continue to encourage at the provincial and regional levels. As Regional Co-Chairs and regional committee members you have the opportunity to reinforce what is now practice at the provincial level.
We are now well placed to move forward in our partnership with the Ministries and engage them in a collegial and constructive dialogue. We can be effective with this the more we keep one another informed – within regions, across regions and between the regions and the OPADD provincial table.
COMMUNICATION AND ACCOUNTABILITY
OPADD is only as good as the contributions each of us make to realizing the vision.
The key to our success is communication.
We are seeking to disseminate the knowledge that already exists within each sector.
While OPADD has established a variety of mechanisms, such as regional workshops, task groups, our newsletter and website,
it requires that we use these vehicles and that we ensure our respective organizations, associations, networks and colleagues
are connected through our communication to them.
It is not enough for each of us to be part of this and to receive and give information and knowledge.
We must stretch it out to others through every means available to us.
This accountability is not merely in the interests of spreading the word but is the essential element in moving understanding
and action to ensuring that older adults with a developmental disability realize quality of life throughout the aging process.
In summary OPADD has developed a model for cross sector collaboration.
CONNECTING THE PROVINCIAL AND REGIONAL TABLES
Just as none of us individually has all the answers, neither does one organization or sector hold all the knowledge. It is
imperative that we build our capacity to communicate – within regions, among regions and local projects, between the regions
and the provincial table. That is one of the important reasons we are here for this regional co-chair training event. We are here to make connections with one another and to think about how we can build connections that will further our work.