Hillel Lodge is a jewel in the Ottawa Jewish community. But, even after 60 years of operation, there may be aspects about the Lodge that you do not know.
Hillel Lodge continues to be recognized by Accreditation Canada as a home that delivers quality care and services. Accreditation is a process that measures the Lodge on a scale of standards with similar long-term care facilities in Canada. Hillel Lodge gained its first official accreditation in 1987. It was then the smallest home in Ontario to achieve that designation.
How Hillel Lodge has retained its long standing for quality care and services is explained by the dedicated team of professionals and care providers. The average full-time staff person has been with Hillel Lodge 11 years. Excellent leadership is paramount in building and retaining a great team. Elizabeth Richard, a 37-year veteran, is Hillel Lodge’s director of Environmental Services and co-ordinator of Quality Management. Elizabeth has been responsible for guiding almost every accreditation process since its onset. Elizabeth will be retiring in the spring of 2016. It is an understatement to say that Hillel Lodge will miss her. Elizabeth is working with her fellow management team to bring about an orderly succession.
There is a uniform charge rate for all residents set by the Ontario government. Even though Hillel Lodge is a kosher facility, which entails significantly higher food costs than other facilities, the Lodge cannot increase its rate to residents. Funding by the province provides no allowance for kosher food.
In recent years, the Ontario government has changed its funding methodology. This has resulted in decreased funding. The Lodge has seen its annual funding decline by $450,000. When one considers that nursing care and specialized services and equipment costs are the most significant expenditures of operating a long-term care facility, we can understand how the rapid decline in funding has put extreme pressure on maintaining the highest quality care for which the Lodge is known.
This funding reduction came at a time when many new residents entering the facility are in a more vulnerable condition – with increasingly serious health issues, which directly affect the required level of individual care. While virtually every other long-term care facility in Ottawa has cut staffing levels in the past three years, the Lodge’s board of directors only reluctantly began to make reductions in part-time staffing shifts in 2016 to cope with the reduced funding. We are currently trying to find ways to reinstate those staffing levels. We are focussed on our mission to provide the highest level of resident care, but this is extremely challenging under the current funding model.
The Lodge never could exist from year to year without the generosity of the Ottawa Jewish community. The Lodge receives assistance through the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Annual Campaign. We are also grateful to the Hillel Lodge Auxiliary for its annual telethon and tea. Biking for Bubbies, under the leadership of Seymour Mender and Adam Schacter, is also a vital fundraiser. Endowment funds are growing, and we are extremely thankful to the endowment fund contributors. They have made the decision to invest in the long-term future of the Lodge.
Please think of Hillel Lodge. We need your assistance more than ever. Donations and endowments are made through the Hillel Lodge Long-Term Care Foundation.