- 10. Promote and Sustain/Expand Value
10. Promote and Sustain/Expand Value
Investment and opportunities do not stop once the LC is up and running.
- 7. Identify and Connect Post-Secondary Education Faculty and Long-Term-Care Teams
7. Identify and Connect Post-Secondary Education Faculty and Long-Term-Care Teams
People are the greatest asset in Living Classrooms, as in many other businesses and collaborations.
- 8. Integrate Curriculum and Long-Term-Care Activities
8. Integrate Curriculum and Long-Term-Care Activities
A curriculum is the heart of any given educational program.
- 9. Define Communication and Coordination Mechanisms
9. Define Communication and Coordination Mechanisms
Open and ongoing communication is encouraged and valued.
- 4. Formalize the Collaboration
4. Formalize the Collaboration
A business relationship focused on collaboration is optimal for our Living Classroom.
- 5. Commit to the Physical Space for the Living Classroom
5. Commit to the Physical Space for the Living Classroom
There are many items that go into making the LC an inviting and interprofessional working
- 6. Create Standard Operating Protocols and Formal Agreements
6. Create Standard Operating Protocols and Formal Agreements
There are many Standard Operating Protocols that have to be considered between both organizations when
a Living Classroom is developed, but only two formal agreements are recommended.
- 1. Agree on the Living Classroom Definition
1. Agree on the Living Classroom Definition
This is an important first step to promote a full and shared understanding of the Living Classroom.
- 2. Determine Operational Viability
2. Determine Operational Viability
Operation viability involves the “make or break” elements that determine if a Living Classroom is possible.
- 3. Identify Win-Win Opportunities and Develop Shared Values
3. Identify Win-Win Opportunities and Develop Shared Values
The Living Classroom offers many opportunities for both a Long-Term Care home and a Post-Secondary Educator.
- Living Classroom
Unlock the potential. Open the door to the living classroom.
Promote and Sustain/Expand Value
Investment and opportunities do not stop once the Living Classroom is up and running. Rather, the focus of the work shifts from development and implementation to promoting the LC, sustaining momentum, and building on that base for continuous innovation and quality improvement.
This building block describes four strategies to promote and maintain the momentum of the Living Classroom:
- promote the LC and develop strong connections with community organizations;
- monitor success of the LC and leverage shared learning opportunities to understand how to build on strengths;
- examine potential to grow; and
- expand the LC concept to other programs.
Each of these strategies is described below using examples from our own experience.
“Forecasters predict there won’t be enough staff to meet the health care needs of our growing aging population. From our experience, Living Classrooms are a successful workforce development strategy to address this upcoming challenge. We are experiencing increasing student interest for the Living Classroom programs and have more graduates seeking employment in LTC. I’m optimistic that Living Classrooms are heading us in the right direction.”
— Mary-Lou van der Horst, Director (2013-2016), Ontario Centre for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging
From the initial discussions to a fully operational LC, we have asked ourselves if our work in developing, implementing, evaluating and sustaining the LC was worth it. The answer is a resounding yes.
The LC has brought tremendous value to many stakeholders including the students, LTC team members, faculty, and most importantly, the residents and families. Students, faculty, and LTC team members have told us that the LC has had a substantial impact on their personal learning, and desire to work in LTC. Many of the graduates from the LC have gone on to careers working in LTC, demonstrating the capabilities that are directly relevant to the work environment of LTC. Some organizations, including Schlegel Villages, are refining their staffing models to align better with a learning culture that benefits both students and those working and living in LTC. The gerontology content in all of Conestoga’s programs has been enhanced substantially, with lessons learned in the LC initiative. Not only is Conestoga College producing graduates that have a stronger interest and are better prepared for careers working with older adults, but the college has also established strong professional development and continuing education programs to enhance the skills of those already working with older adults.
We truly believe that the Living Classroom has the potential to create a system-wide impact in not only seniors’ health care, but all education of future health care professionals working with a rapidly aging population. It’s our hope that this guide inspires others to embark on a future Living Classroom endeavor.