Defining the ‘Art of the Possible’ in Long-Term Care

OLTCA honours Schlegel Villages and the RIA with Quality and Innovation award

By Kristian Partingon

Candace Chartier was among the many guests on hand when the Governor General of Canada officially marked the opening of the Schlegel Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Aging at the end of October.   

Group of RIA and Schlegel Villages members posing for a photo
The RIA and Schlegel Villages received special recognition at this year's 
OLTCA Quality and Innovation Awards Gala event.

She recalls the emotion she felt as the honoured speakers highlighted the many angles of partnership that led to the centre’s opening, and she says she was “a little awestruck” when Ron Schlegel, the catalyst behind the Centre of Excellence and the Research Institute for Aging housed there, shared his vision for the future of aging.

As the CEO of the Ontario Long-Term Care Association and a devoted caregiver who has made a career out of serving seniors, Candace is well-versed on the strengths of the long-term care sector and the challenges society faces in meeting the complex needs of an aging population. So as she sat in that room, hearing and seeing firsthand how the Centre of Excellence intertwines research, education and practice, she swelled with pride knowing that a member of the association she supports is at the heart of an idea that became a reality, which now has the potential to influence unlimited innovations in the world of aging. She knew then that the OLTCA must recognize the achievement of the Schlegel Villages family and the team at the RIA. So it was that at the annual OLTCA Awards Gala in November, Ron Schlegel accepted a special Quality and Innovation Recognition award on behalf of both organizations.

The Quality and Innovation awards, says Candace, “are really about trying to identify those people that are trying to make a difference in the work that they do and with the seniors that they love.

“We have to start teaching caregivers earlier to look after this changing population and they (Schlegel Villages and the RIA) have got this perfect little cocktail of opportunity to be able to delve into that a little deeper.”

The awards gala, she adds, which is held during the organization’s annual This is Long-Term Care forum, is the perfect place to highlight achievements from across the sector because a wide range of stakeholders are on hand to learn from each other.

“When Ron was explaining the magnitude of what they’ve done, you could see people in the audience just shaking their heads – they couldn’t believe it – so this is about sharing those best practices on a larger scale.”

The future needs of an aging population will continue to grow more complex, Candace adds, and long-term care must be seen as a valuable part of the health-care system. “Schlegel Villages has laid the foundation for that,” she says. “It’s a big dream, what they’re doing, and a big vision and they’re pulling it off.

“They’ve showed what the art of the possible for long-term care can be for the future.”