As the days get longer and a little milder, we may have only a few weeks left to deal with the colder weather that has kept many of us inside more than we would like. Hopefully, we have only a few months left to the worst of the pandemic too. The federal, provincial, and City of Ottawa governments are working to procure vaccines and organize vaccination programs. I have added more information about that below.
In the meantime, please continue to stay safe. Wash your hands, keep physically distant from others, and limit your trips to busy stores or malls. The isolation hasn’t been easy for anyone, and especially for those who live alone or who haven’t been able to see family or friends. But we will all get through this better if we all continue to follow the rules that will keep us all safe.
I will continue to keep you informed about vaccinations and the pandemic response so we can all get together again soon.
Catherine McKenney City Councillor, Somerset Ward
We all want to know when vaccination will become available for ourselves and our families.
While we don’t have a complete picture yet (and it remains dependent on the federal government’s vaccine procurement), Ottawa Public Health and the City’s Emergency and Protective Services department recently laid out a plan, which includes community vaccination clinic sites.
Bookings are now available for COVID-19 vaccinations for some Ottawa residents. Residents who were born in or before 1941, or who are adult recipients of chronic home care, and who live in the following communities are eligible to receive their vaccine starting Friday, March 5: • Emerald Woods • Heatherington • Ledbury • Heron Gate • Ridgemont • Riverview • Sawmill Creek
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that we have lost focus on our collective responsibility to Long Term Care and the residents who reside in these homes. The issues of low-wage Personal Support Workers who must move from home to home just to make a living wage, inadequate care in too many homes, and other health a safety issues existed long before COVID-19 began. However, now more than ever and within a pandemic environment, there is a pressing need to change the system so that residents in LTC homes are safe, comfortable, and live a dignified life.
It was for this reason that I was compelled to bring areport to the Community and Protective Services Committee recommending that the City make it a priority to improve the care in the City's four Long Term Care Homes by adopting an innovative model of care for people living with dementia. Without a transformative culture change, no amount of additional staff, home inspections or more Personal Protective Equipment will remedy the failings in the system.
These new innovative models of care are relationship-based where residents, staff and families feel part of a community and are treated with dignity and respect. Residents know and feel like they are living in a warm, caring environment which looks and feels like home. Staff deliver person-centered care which enables them to get to know who their residents and families are - and what their life was like before they entered long-term care. It means schedules and routines are flexible to match the resident’s preferences and needs. It means residents are involved in many meaningful activities according to their abilities and what brings them joy.
There are several innovative models of care that have been implemented in LTC homes in other countries with a few here Ontario such as Malton Village in Peel, Henley House in St. Catharine’s, and most recently Henley Place Home in London. Eight other long-term care homes in Ontario are in the process of implementing innovative models of care including two in Renfrew County and one here in Ottawa at the Glebe Centre.
The Glebe Centre has begun implementing The Butterfly Model of care and are committed to putting the well-being of residents first and to provide the type of care and services that connect people to where they are in their life journey.
The first step was to pilot one of their home areas into a more 'home like' place that reflects the people who live there. They painted the walls bright colours and every resident has their own personalized front door. They created stimulating wall murals, some interactive, so that there would be things of interest to look at and engage with. They created nooks and spaces throughout the home area so residents could have quiet spots to sit and be engaged with an activity or just watch the goings on around them. They filled the house with the stuff of life, things that people could be active with, books, magazines, puzzles, things to sort and rummage through, music and art and couches to sit in next to a friend.
They have reported that key indicators for adopting this model includes decreasing pain levels, decreasing the use of psychotropic and sedative medications, seeing an increase in resident wellness and quality of life through meaningful engagement, a reduction in resident distress, a reduction in falls, reduced staff turnover, and higher staff engagement scores.
It is time for a shift in our thinking about how we address the systemic problems in LTC homes that have been exposed by the current pandemic and the tragic loss of so many lives of long-term care residents in Ottawa and Ontario. I am committed to ensuring that our city-operated homes adopt these models of care to ensure a life of dignity and meaning for people living with dementia.
Summer 2021 Patio season
Council has again waived the 2021 restaurant patio fees in an effort to support economic recovery. Venues will still be required to obtain a patio permit and the fee for the permit will be $68.
As the Province has relaxed their requirements for the 2021 season, we will continue to support expanded patio footprints with more flexible options for restaurants to design their patio space while always ensuring a minimum 2m pedestrian clearway.
Prince of Wales Bridge
The City of Ottawa is holding an online engagement until March 8 to present the Prince of Wales Bridge Environmental Assessment study and proposed options for a new interim multi-use pathway. This link would become an interprovincial active transportation crossing over the Ottawa River, where residents would be able to walk, cycle and cross-country ski.
This online engagement opportunity provides details on the project and an opportunity for residents to provide feedback on the study. Interested participants are encouraged to visit the City’s Prince of Wales Bridge Multi-use Pathway project webpage for further information and to access the online engagement opportunity.
The Environmental Assessment will be presented to City Council following completion. Construction will begin after all required funding, permits and approvals are in place.
I was excited to announce this week that the City has struck a deal with the federal government to add 6.3 acres of federal land to our Gladstone Village public housing development.
This land will provide space for a new public park along the Trillium line, along Gladstone Ave north of Preston St. This area is expected to grow significantly over the next 25 years, guided by the Corso Italia Station District Secondary Plan. Height and density will be concentrated along the Trillium Line, so adding new park and green space in this area is vital. The acquisition of 1010 Somerset will permit the extension of Plouffe Park and will provide recreation opportunities for existing and new residents.
Buy Nothing Group
A resident asked me to pass along a useful tip. People often throw out a lot of good and still-useful items with their garbage. There are some Buy Nothing Groups on Facebook that allow people to give away items or to ask the group for an item before they buy.
Some of the groups are specific to areas of town, such as the Golden Triangle Group. My family uses our local Buy Nothing group frequently allowing us to purchase items that are gently used and give away items that we no longer need. It also helps to introduce you to many of your neighbours as an added bonus!