Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


RNAO holds 3rd international conference on elder care


To share solutions, push Ontario government to act on promise for elder-health framework

TORONTO, Sept. 21, 2004 – In keeping with its commitment to put elder care front and centre on the political and policy agenda, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) is holding its 3rd annual International Conference on Elder Care, Older People Deserve the Best! Building a Policy Framework and Innovative Services for Elder Health & Elder Care, Sept. 22-23.

“Elder care is not just ensuring that seniors have access to services when and where they need them. It is not just ensuring they get quality care in safe, stimulating environments - whether at home or in homes,” said RNAO president Joan Lesmond. “These are important and daunting demands, but we must also make it easier for older persons to continue to contribute to their communities and improve the quality of their lives.”

That’s why, for instance, this conference will include timely panel discussions on mandatory retirement and the need for the Ontario government to move on its promise to develop an elder-health framework as part of a new Ontario Seniors Strategy. Keynote speaker Réjean Hébert will call for a reconfigured health-care system – with stronger home and community care - based on the needs of the country’s changing demographics. At the provincial level, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health MPP Monique Smith will discuss her recent review of long-term care in Ontario, which led to her May 2004 report, Commitment to Care: A Plan for Long-Term Care in Ontario. Smith will outline the regulatory and legislative requirements needed to implement her report.

More than 200 people – experts in healthy aging including registered nurses, seniors and advocates, provincial policy makers, RN researchers, and administrators from across and outside the country - will participate in the conference. A wide range of topics will be covered, including:

  • How Durham Region is planning for a pending 30 per cent increase in citizens aged 75 and older;
  • How to spot and address elder abuse and neglect, and how to help older persons who have a problem with gambling;
  • How to improve elders’ transition from hospitals to long-term care – an example from Ohio, U.S.;
  • How mother-daughter relationships change with the onset of Alzheimer Disease;
  • How North York General Hospital, located in an area with the largest number of seniors in the country, is changing its mental-health services based on feedback from seniors;
  • How Help the Aged Canada, which targets the 602,000 seniors living in poverty, is improving the quality of life of older people, through projects in communities across Canada, including Ottawa and Toronto;
  • How one Winnipeg long-term care facility responded to complaints of abuse under the Manitoba Protection of Persons in Care Act;
  • How gerontological nursing is fighting stereotypes about the sector, finding its voice, and getting political – just ask keynote speaker Lori Schindel Martin from Hamilton’s Shalom Village Nursing Home or ask the Political Action Committee of the Hamilton Chapter of the Gerontological Nursing Association.

RNAO acting executive director Irmajean Bajnok said that as part of its work with the Elder Care and Elder Health Coalition, RNAO is urging the provincial government to act on the promise it made RNAO last spring to develop an elder health framework within a new Ontario Seniors Strategy. “As the province embarks on a major transformation of the health-care system, elder care and elder health must be woven into the plan for providing quality health services in Ontario. We are pleased the government has agreed to turn to the coalition for advice on the new Seniors Strategy and elder-health framework, and we are eager to work with the government to bring about results on this crucial piece of the health-care pie.”

WHO: More than 200 experts in elder care and healthy aging from across and outside of Canada – RNs, researchers, seniors, advocates, provincial policy makers including Minister Responsible for Seniors MPP John Gerretsen and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health MPP Monique Smith.

WHAT: 3rd international Conference on Elder Care: Older People Deserve the Best! Building a Policy Framework and innovative services for elder health & elder care.

8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 22
8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23

WHERE: The Westin Prince Hotel, 900 York Mills Road, Toronto

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.


For more information, please contact:
Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Phone: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext.209
Cell: 647-406-5605