Campaign Launch Profiles Advances in Continuing Care Sector

WINDSOR, NS, Sept. 14 /CNW/ - The 6th Annual NSAHO-Sponsored Continuing Care Month kicked off in Windsor today with the launch of a campaign aimed at profiling advances being made in this important sector and recognizing the contributions of its employees and volunteers.

Mary Baldwin, Director of Public Affairs and Communications at NSAHO, officially launched the awareness campaign at the Windsor Elms Village for Continuing Care Society in Windsor with the theme Above and Beyond Because We Care: Enriching Lives Everyday. The campaign includes a website, TV ads, posters, and stories.

"Continuing Care Month is about recognizing the many dedicated individuals who are making a real difference in the health, well-being and quality of life of the people who access continuing care in this province. We also want to encourage people to learn more about the continuing care programs and services that are available to Nova Scotians across the lifespan," said Baldwin.

Baldwin added that this year's campaign will also profile the progress that is being made in the sector in response to the increasing complexity of care being provided in continuing care environments.

During the kick-off, Andrea Leonard, Senior Director Clinical Care, Northwood Homecare and Chair of the CCA Scope of Practice Committee, announced the launch of the Scope of Practice for Continuing Care Assistants in Nova Scotia. The Scope of Practice defines the roles, functions and accountabilities of CCAs in continuing care settings under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health.

"Nova Scotia was the first province in Canada to develop a standardized curriculum for CCAs. The next critical step was to define the scope of the work CCAs provide and to recognize the valuable role they play within our communities," says Leonard. "The CCA Scope of Practice will support everyone on the collaborative care team to understand the role of the CCA, which will assist the entire team to work to their full scope of practice. It will also improve client safety by promoting a consistent understanding of the boundaries for CCAs and the services they are qualified to provide."

The Scope of Practice Document was developed by a committee comprised of representatives from the continuing care and acute care sectors, government, the CCA Education Program, the CCA Entry to Practice Implementation Committee, and regulatory bodies, including the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia and the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia. The CCA Scope of Practice was approved by the Department of Health in April 2009. The Scope of Practice document will be available to the health sector and the general public this fall.

This year's campaign launch also highlighted the many ways that music and music therapy are positively contributing to the health and well-being of continuing care clients.

The Canadian Association for Music Therapy defines music therapy as:

"The skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Music has nonverbal, creative, structural and emotional qualities. These are used in the therapeutic relationship to facilitate contact, interaction, self-awareness, learning, self-expression, communication, and personal development."

Windsor Elms' Music Therapist, Ben Robertson, presented an overview of the music programs offered at the nursing home and explained how music therapy has become an integral part of the life of Windsor Elms.

"Music therapy goes far beyond entertainment. At the Elms, we deliver a variety of music programs designed to facilitate memory, exercise cognitive skills, promote social awareness and interaction, provide means of self-expression, increase self-esteem, encourage movement, provide comfort to the dying, and facilitate spiritual expression," said Robertson.

Two of the Elms' most successful programs have been the Spiritual Circle and the Residents' Chime Choir. Spiritual Circle is delivered jointly by the Chaplain and music therapist and is designed to provide a spiritual experience to residents who are no longer able to benefit from traditional church services due to dementia.

"Through skillful use of visual aids, selected Scripture readings, simple focused conversation, and especially the use of old-time hymns, we are able to reach residents who often cannot be reached in other ways. People whose memory is severely impaired, some of whom rarely speak, have been known to flawlessly sing hymns and recite prayers learned long ago, much to the astonishment of staff," said Robertson.

The Residents' Chime Choir consists of fifteen residents who have been playing beautiful music since 2005. Today's launch concluded with a performance by the Chime Choir who played a selection of their favourite songs.

More examples of how music is touching the lives of continuing care clients can be found by visiting the Continuing Care Month website at

The term, continuing care is used to describe a range of health-related services and programs that are offered outside of the hospital setting, either on a long-term or short-term basis. This can be in the home or a residential-based facility. Continuing care providers are also active in the community, delivering programs such as Adult Day or Meals on Wheels. The ultimate goal is to help people to live their lives to the fullest in the place they call home.

Thousands of Nova Scotians work in the continuing care sector in a variety of environments across the province, including nursing homes; homes for the aged; home care organizations, including both visiting nursing and home support services; residential care facilities; adult residential centres; regional rehabilitation centres; and community-based options such as group homes and small option homes.

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NSAHO is a non-profit, non-government, membership-driven association, representing health and community service organizations spanning the entire health continuum in Nova Scotia. Our members include the district health authorities and the IWK Health Centre; more than 90 continuing care organizations; as well as other health-related organizations. NSAHO makes a positive contribution to the health system of Nova Scotia by working collaboratively to promote health system improvements and by providing our members with responsive, value-added programs and services.

SOURCE Health Association Nova Scotia

For further information: For further information: Mary Baldwin, Director, Public Affairs and Communications, NSAHO, (902) 832-8513, (902) 292-2761,;

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