Trillium Villa’s Kelly Batson receives OLTCA Nursing Leadership Award

LTC community’s manager of resident care recognized for her leadership with medicinal cannabis program
10/7/2019  - Deron Hamel
Kelly Batson (centre) received an OLTCA Nursing Leadership Award for Trillium Villa’s medicinal cannabis program.  

Trillium Villa manager of resident care Kelly Batson has received an Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) Nursing Leadership Award for her work with the Sarnia long-term care community’s medicinal cannabis program.

Kelly was recently presented with the award during the OLTCA’s 2019 This Is Long Term Care conference in Toronto. The award recognizes nurses who are “currently working in an active member home who (have) demonstrated excellence in leadership and advancing nursing practice in long term care,” according to the OLTCA website.

Kelly was one of four Ontario nurses to receive the accolade.

Trillium Villa launched its medicinal cannabis program in February 2018. The program was created in partnership with a local physician, Dr. Blake Pearson, to administer medicinal cannabis to treat residents who are living with chronic pain and other afflictions, and eliminate the use of fentanyl, an opioid analgesic.

As a result of the program there are no Trillium Villa residents being prescribed fentanyl.

Replacing opioids with cannabinoid medicine helps improve the quality of life for residents, since there are side effects associated with fentanyl and other opioids.

Side effects associated with fentanyl include confusion, altered heart rate, hallucinations and weakness. Cannabinoid medicine does not present these side effects.

Kelly says she’s honoured to have received the award but underscores that it was a combined effort from everyone at Trillium Villa that made it possible for her to help make the medicinal cannabis program successful.

“It was definitely a team effort; the cannabis project was pretty robust, so when I was dedicating my time and attention to getting the project up and rolling, the team just fired on all cylinders and were able to fill in where I would have originally been, so I can’t take all the credit,” Kelly tells S&R Today.

“I think we’re a pretty humble team, but it was so beautiful to be recognized for looking at alternative (treatments) that weren’t necessarily supported by the sector at first, so we were pretty proud of the work that we had done and the outcomes that our residents were experiencing, so it was lovely to have a nod (for the program).”

Administrator Kim Van Dam says the Trillium Villa team is proud of Kelly for receiving the award.

She notes that Kelly worked hard on the project and was able to help facilitate positive results. Kelly receiving the award also draws attention to the potential benefits long-term care residents can receive from medicinal cannabis, which has a stigma attached to it as an “alternative medicine.”

“The results speak for themselves, but the award was really about Kelly’s leadership on this project,” she says.

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