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From Wendy  Birkhan of SWAG

SWAG Social Work in Aging and Gerontology Ottawa(SWAGOttawa)

Are you a Social Worker or Social Service Worker who works with seniors and their caregivers?

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Members of SWAG/OASW may post related events and notices to the group.

Any questions – Please contact Wendy, SWAG Steering Committee via messenger on our page or

SWAG meeting – Geriatric Psychiatry Community Services of Ottawa (GPCSO): Mental Health Support for Community-Based Seniors

SWAG’s next meeting–




43 AYLMER AVENUE near Bank and Sunnyside (3 hr on street parking)


Geriatric Psychiatry Community Services of Ottawa (GPCSO):
Mental Health Support for Community-Based Seniors

Geriatric Psychiatry Community Services of Ottawa (GPCSO) offers vital mental health services and supports to Ottawa seniors who live independently or with caregivers.

GPCSO social workers Amanda Masterson and Tiffany Dugas will present on services and supports offered by GPCSO to seniors living in Ottawa, in addition to the ways social workers can assist their clients in accessing these supports.

Core lessons on integrating Mental Health and Physical Health care across organizations

Harvey Rosenthal  of New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Inc.  summarized this New York state pilot of integrating Mental Health and Physical health care across organizations.  The broader context of the report can be read below the summary.

New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services

NYAPRS Note: Provider teams that participated in an eight-month state program to help them integrate primary and behavioral health care were able to improve communication between clinicians, standardize patient screenings and reduce wait times, among other positive outcomes, according to a report released by the Department of Health Thursday. They also identified a number of common challenges ranging from a lack of interest among some clinicians to a superficial understanding of data. Here’re some excerpts from the report.

Integrated behavioral and physical healthcare will be a featured topic at NYAPRS’ upcoming April 27-8 Annual Executive Seminar, “All Hands on Deck! Ensuring a Recovery Focus in a Changing Healthcare Environment” at the Albany Hilton. More program details and registration link next week.

“Street Outreach” by William Neuheisel is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Eight Lessons Learned About Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care Services

  1. Integration of care is about creating a whole new way of delivering care…not just adding another service. For years, service systems have been siloed because of funding, regulations and educational preparation. The change, to focus on whole health and wellness, challenges long-held assumptions and some very real contextual barriers. As teams begin to work together, to learn from each other, and to work towards a seamless experience for the patient, preconceived notions begin to break down. Being conscious of this shift in thinking has been a critical success factor in integration.
  2. Having a clear vision about why integration fits your mission will help you keep at it when the barriers arise. Vision is the stabilizing force when resistance and barriers arise. Organizations that identify the “why” of practice change, that commit to this as a way of delivering service, and make it part of the organizational mission, have the resilience necessary to overcome the resistance and barriers that will arise. The question then becomes, not “whether we will do this” but,  “how we will do this?”
  3. Recognize that culture drives practice. The transformation to an integrated practice requires creativity, courage and risk taking. In cultures where there is a top-down approach, where the contributions of everyone on the team (including the front desk, the medical assistants and others) are not recognized, the development of a team-based approach to care will be nearly impossible. A culture that recognizes the unique contribution of each team member is more likely to recognize the individuality of each patient, and to be engaging and inclusive in the care delivery system. This change requires new thinking and new practices, which in time create a culture of enhanced primary care.
  4. Data is the magnifying glass to identify whether what you are doing is working…for the patient and for your processes (i.e. how integration supports keeping people out of crisis). Healthcare is a demanding field to work in and each day brings another change and another challenge. Without a planned approach to collecting real data that reflects real practice and outcomes, the practice will continue to do the same things over and over whether they work or not. Data causes us to ask questions; it is in the questions that ideas for improvement of care emerge.
  5. Practice Champions are key and developing the overall functioning of the team cannot be overlooked. In an ideal world, everyone in a practice gets on board quickly and with enthusiasm about this change in the care delivery system. However, this is not reality and, as such, the role of early adopters and Champions becomes particularly important. The Champion is the one who keeps saying “yes we can” in the face of doubts and who continues to work toward solutions when others only identify barriers. The Champion(s) are also the people who help the team come together, who call out conflict when it exists so it can be resolved, and who keep the project moving forward.
  6. There is opportunity in understanding the effectiveness of leveraging staff outside of physicians and providers. The patient experience begins at the front door with how they are greeted, continues with how they are roomed, and ends with how they are checked out. At each step there is an opportunity to engage patients or to have them disengage. Often the staff who are involved in these key processes are overlooked and/or underappreciated. They don’t see their role as important and may not be treated as if it is. In an integrated practice they are critical in getting initial screenings completed, in communicating safety to patients, and in flagging for other staff when there may be an issue. They manage the waiting room and have a good sense of patient flow. For integrated care to be a success, these staff need to be included in huddles, in training and in process improvement.
  7. Persistence is required and tackling obstacles with small tests of change will keep you moving forward. Because there are so many moving parts with any integration effort, building a team and using data effectively to help you know what obstacle to tackle next, are key ingredients for success.
  8. Integration is a continuous journey, not a destination. One of the most critical hallmarks of a high-performing practice is the recognition that there is always more to do, always something to improve. The knowledge base in the field continues to expand, the team continues to improve, and the context changes – all of this requires continuous attention to growth, change and improvement


Details of Content of the Report

DSRIP: – Medicaid Accelerated eXchange (MAX) Series Program  (excerpts by NYAPRS)
Final Report
Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care Services
New York State Department of Health in collaboration with Joan King, Emmeline Kunst, essica Logozzo, Kara Kitts, Dr. Douglas Woodhouse

January 2017

Over the past 12 months, we have put an important focus on leading change at the front-line of patient care –where DSRIP becomes reality. The Department of Health has been proud to offer the opportunity for Performing Provider Systems (PPS) to participate in the Medicaid Accelerated eXchange (MAX) Series Program. The MAX Series Program has put front-line clinicians in a position to lead change. By enabling change at a grass-roots level, PPSs have been able to generate impressive results – Including:

  1. Measurable increases in screening rates and connections to services (as these relate to integrating behavioral health and primary care services)
  2. Capacity building in process improvement
  3. Development of meaningful collaborations among partners, both inside and outside of provider sites.

The MAX Series focus on the integration of behavioral health and primary care services is important as New York’s behavioral health system is large and fragmented. The publicly funded mental health system serves over 600,000 Medicaid members, representing 12% of total Medicaid members across the State. This accounts for about $7 billion in annual expenditures or 13% of New York’s total Medicaid spend. With the overall goal to reduce avoidable hospital use by 25% through transforming the New York State health care system, DSRIP will focus on the provision of high quality, integrated primary specialty and behavioral health care in the community setting with hospitals used primarily for emergent and tertiary level of services.

This report highlights the work of 10 Action Teams who participated in the first year of the MAX Series Program, which focused on the Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care Services. Collectively, these 10 teams were comprised of over 100 clinicians, administrators and community providers. Over an eight month period, these individuals dedicated significant time to identify patients in need of behavioral health services; to develop innovative solutions to providing better care for these individuals; and to rapidly implement, test, and measure these improvements.

See the report:


Presentations on programs and changes – elder abuse, Health Links, CCAC

From SWAG list serve BREAKFAST & LEARN event, For Health Care Service Professionals

Guest Presenters

  • LHIN/CCAC – Pending Changes
  • Health Links – Bringing Providers Together To Ensure Better Coordination of Care
  • Visavie – How Visavie is expanding their services to better meet client needs and their partnership with Crisis Bed Program.
  • Elder Abuse Response & Referral Crisis Bed Program – Assisting seniors living in abusive situations to temporarily leave their home while service providers work on a permanent living arrangement.  This program is also available for Caregivers who are experiencing burnout.

Date:    Monday, February 27, 2017;  Time:   7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

                                                     (Presenters start at 8:15 a.m.)

                                      Venue:  Park Place Retirement Residence

                                                      120 Central Park Drive



Theory of change for an elder abuse program, CRECS Colloquium

For both front line workers and program evaluators there is value to bridge our practice and evaluation.   This presentation promises to help us integrate as well as guide the complexity of practitioner practice knowledge with organizational and program mission.

Colloquium: From the Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services (CRECS)

Representing well a case-management theory of change for an elder abuse program– implications for construct validity
Much attention is being given to using program theory as the foundation for making valid inferences in evaluation. However, case management programs offer unique challenges to valid representation. This research proposes a model for representing program theory validly in a case management program, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Response Services.

France Gagnon, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Education.

Friday March 10 – learn more here:
Registration details: Free. Light lunch will be served. Registration website:
Cost to attend: Free of charge

“Culture as a Catalyst: Preventing the Criminalization of Indigenous Youth.”

From Crime Prevention Ottawa 


Culture and Indigenous Youth: A Pathway to Wellbeing, Speaker Series event and research paper release

Crime Prevention Ottawa is pleased to release the research paper, “Culture as a Catalyst: Preventing the Criminalization of Indigenous Youth.” The paper targets professionals who work with young Indigenous people. Author Dr. Melanie Bania explores:

  • Key strategies for supporting Indigenous youth
  • Ways to ensure cultural safety
  • Strength-based approaches
  • Trauma-informed supports
  • Benefits of culturally competent staff and programming

The research, available on our website at, will be discussed at our upcoming Speaker Series event. The event will be held in partnership with the City of Ottawa Aboriginal Working Committee.


Are you a service provider who works with Indigenous youth? Do you want to learn more about the role of culture in promoting the wellbeing of Indigenous youth? Find out how at our upcoming Speaker Series event.


When:  Tuesday, February 14th from 8:00 am to10:30 am

Coffee at 8:00 am, program starts at 8:30 am


City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West

Andrew Haydon Hall (Council Chambers)


Melanie Bania, Community Engagement Consultant

Marc Maracle, Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Working Committee and Executive Director, Gignul Non Profit Housing Corporation

Équan Liberté, Youth Justice Case Manager – Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health 

Lynda Brown, Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre



Michelle Mann-Rempel, Lawyer and consultant specialized in Indigenous criminal justice


To R.S.V.P.:

Contact Crime Prevention Ottawa at or 613-580-2424 ext. 25393. Space is limited.


For more information about Crime Prevention Ottawa, please visit or follow us on Facebook at

Guardian article on the use of statistical data in politics and advocacy

Micheal Gurstein suggested this article

Rather than diffusing controversy and polarisation, it seems as if statistics are actually stoking them. Antipathy to statistics has become one of the hallmarks of the populist right, with statisticians and economists chief among the various “experts” that were ostensibly rejected by voters in 2016. Not only are statistics viewed by many as untrustworthy, there appears to be something almost insulting or arrogant about them. Reducing social and economic issues to numerical aggregates and averages seems to violate some people’s sense of political decency.