Newly released research from AdvantAge Ontario sheds positive light on a “made in Ontario” model of senior care that has been operating successfully for decades. Known as “campuses of care” or seniors’ villages, these are settings in which a mix of community-based health and social supports are offered in one location along with different types of housing and long-term care beds.
“Campuses offer a sustainable and innovative solution for a new generation of seniors’ care,” said Jane Sinclair, Chair of the AdvantAge Ontario Board of Directors. “They bring services, supports and care together in one setting, which is incredibly valuable. But more importantly they are vibrant, age-friendly communities that promote friendships, social inclusion, mutual support, and positive aging.”
AdvantAge Ontario initiated a multi-year, province-wide research study of campuses of care supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Health Systems Impact Fellowship and with in-kind contributions from the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) at the University of Toronto. The final report, recently published by BMC Geriatrics and titled, “Seniors’ Campus Continuums: Local Solutions for Broad Spectrum Seniors’ Care,” is the first academic research of its kind on campuses.
“This is tremendously exciting,” said Lisa Levin, CEO of AdvantAge Ontario. “Not-for-profit and municipal long-term care providers were early pioneers of the campus model, and this research has generated much-needed, evidence-based knowledge to guide the development of future campuses.”
The association’s research identified many important advantages offered by campuses, including built-in opportunities for providers and community partners working alongside each other to communicate, collaborate, and share expertise and resources. This promotes more integrated, person-centred care that avoids unnecessary long-term care placements and hospital admissions and ensures quicker discharges when hospitalization does occur.
Moreover, by building “critical mass,” campuses become attractive partners for municipalities, businesses, faith organizations, schools and universities to access new resources, create new opportunities for on-campus and off-campus communities, encourage volunteerism, and train new generations of care workers, clinicians, and researchers.
The association has also released an Executive Brief based on this research, titled “Campuses of Care: Supporting People, Sustaining Care Systems in Ontario”, which is intended for policy-makers, providers and others who are planning to build, scale-up or spread campuses of care.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the terrible toll it has taken on long-term care adds greater urgency to discussions on how to keep residents safe and healthy and to ensure that we have viable options for the vast majority of Ontario’s seniors who wish to continue to live as independently as possible for as long as possible,” said Levin. “Campuses are uniquely equipped not only to respond but also to lead the creation of new and innovative approaches to care that support people and sustain health care systems.”
AdvantAge Ontario is an association representing the full spectrum of the senior care continuum, including not-for-profit, charitable, and municipal long-term care homes, seniors’ housing, assisted living in supportive housing and community service agencies.