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  • Living Classroom

Unlock the potential. Open the door to the living classroom.

Explore the Potential for the Living Classroom: (1) Agree on the LC Definition, (2) Determine Operational Viability, (3) Identify the Win-Win Opportunities and Develop Shared Values

Determine Operational Viability

Operational viability means the ability to sustain a business and the LC is no different than any other business in this regard. These considerations are the “make or break” elements to help you understand if a collaborative LC is even possible.

The educational institution must be willing to deliver a PSW program in a long-term care home. This brings with it the requirement to operate in accordance with provincial standards for admission and fees, to deliver in accordance with the approved program standards and curriculum, to support students enrolled in the program in accordance with expectations of the PSE, to staff the program according to PSE practices and policies, and to operate in a fiscally prudent manner.

At the same time, the LTC home must be willing to host delivery of the PSW program. This brings with it the requirement to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements impacting the LTC home, including municipal zoning, infection control, respecting the privacy and dignity of residents, safety, etc. It is also important to understand readiness of staff and the resident/family culture in relation to supporting the proposed development and the expectations for collaborative work.

If you have these two essential elements, you are ready to look more closely at the following operational viability considerations outlined in Table 3 below.

We recommend that, as a PSE-LTC collaboration, you discuss these considerations through several formal meetings to arrive at a common understanding of each organization’s expectations within the collaboration. Our experience indicates that clarity on the following parameters, including discussions with regulatory authorities to ensure mutual understanding, is critical to LC development – and future operation.

Table 3: Operational Viability for the Living Classroom

Table 3: Operational Viability for the Living Classroom

ConsiderationLTC HomePSEBoth
Legal ViabilityLTC Homes Act and Regulations
The LTC home is responsible for outlining expectations of students and faculty in relation to LTC regulations, and sets expectations for student engagement.
Provincial Program Standards (MTCU, OCQAS)
Programs delivered in the LC must adhere to the provincial education standards and any accreditation or regulatory requirements from MTCU for the program to ensure that graduates from the LC meet provincial standards.

Provincial Colleges
Binding directives define fees charged to students.

AODA Standards
The LC must be situated in an environment that is physically accessible.

Counselling and other services must be available to students requiring accommodation.
Public Health Act and Regulations
Infection Control Operating Protocols for the LC need to be aligned with both the LTC home protocols and Public Health expectations related to student and faculty engagement inside and outside the LTC home.

The LC design needs to contemplate implications of closure of care units and/or the LTC home to the public in case of infectious outbreaks.

Occupational Health and Safety Legislation
The LTC home is responsible for the environment in which the LC is located; the PSE is responsible for ensuring that the facility and all practices support safety for students and faculty.

Municipal Zoning By-Laws
Both parties need to ensure that zoning by-laws are supportive of the LC use.
Market ViabilityClinical Placements
The LTC home provides access to placement
opportunities within the LTC home.
Enrollment Capacity
The PSE determines enrollment capacity for the LC and ensures sufficient enrollment for financial viability.

The PSE ensures sufficient placements exist both in the LTC home and the surrounding community.
Research and Evaluation
The LTC home and the PSE should consider participating in research studies and evaluation procedures to support sustainability of the LC to ensure future success.

Programs in the LC
The LTC home and PSE should jointly discuss which and how many programs should operate in the LC and how many students can enroll in each program.
Operational Viability and ReadinessPotential Operational Barriers
The LTC home determines human resource readiness and capability for engagement in the proposed collaboration.

The LTC home communicates with residents and family to promote understanding and engagement in the LC.
Potential Operational Barriers
The PSE assesses any operational barriers to
delivery off-site from the main campus (including
human resource considerations, IT connectivity,

The PSE assesses ability to meet program outcomes
in the proposed location.
Physical Resources and Financial ViabilityStart-up Considerations
The LTC home provides required space and contributes to ensuring an appropriate environment.

Direct Costs and Gains
There may be opportunities to re-purpose existing space or capitalize on renovations to create collaboratively used space for LC programming.

Financial benefits accrue from reduced recruitment and orientation costs hiring LC graduates.

Staff roles in the LTC home are expanded to support and mentor students.

The LTC home pays for required updates to safety systems, if any.
Start-up Considerations
The PSE defines learning space needs for the program including parking and one-time start-up costs to support quality delivery.

Direct Costs
Revenues (from enrollment) should cover direct costs for instructors, program materials, and LC materials.

The PSE pays rent for the LC learning spaces.

The PSE pays for general operating expenses associated with the LC such as electricity, housekeeping, security monitoring, internet, phones, and maintenance services.
Additional parking spaces may need to be developed in order to accommodate the students and faculty in the LC.

Public Transportation
Municipal authorities may be open to additional transit stops or relocation of existing ones.