Although the COVID-19 crisis did not start until the end of our fiscal year, in mid-March 2020 – it has since dominated our daily life and changed how we operate our organization now and in the future.  It is hard to look back and not reflect on its impact.

Since the pandemic began, Kerry’s Place has been focused on keeping our supported persons and staff safe, pivoting our community programs to a virtual delivery platform so we could stay connected, and has relied on public health guidelines to help us follow the best available evidence to cope with the COVID pandemic.

And although much of what is covered in this Annual Report happened before the coronavirus crisis was declared in Canada, it is obvious that we needed to acknowledge it.  So much of what we now do and cover in this report has been adapted to respond to the impact of COVID-19. In many ways this Annual Report is unlike previous reports in that there is not a hard stop at the end of March, and much of what was influenced by our response to COVID is presented in these pages.

A look back at 2019/20 

This past year we welcomed five new residents, for a total of 251 residents, and with the help of Kerry’s Place Residential Services, bought two new homes. We continue extensive renovations on many of our eighty homes and apartments.

As part of our strategy to better support our older population, we launched our Advanced Care Project.  All of our supported persons over the age of 50 will soon have an Advanced Care Plan that will support families and guide Kerry’s Place staff as our residents age. Due to COVID, this project was put on hold, but we have accomplished the majority of our plans for our supported community over the age of 50.

Our focus on the clinical support and improved behavior interventions for our residents has been demonstrated by increased involvement of our behavior therapists with the front-line staff. To improve medical and mental health oversight and intervention, we hired our first Nurse Practitioner. And, with the onset of COVID, our Nurse Practitioner led the Infection, Protection & Control team and together they provided 24/7 advice to staff related to the management of public health guidelines.

KERRY’S PLACE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Mary Lowe, Board Chair | Stephanie Ameis, Director | Roland Beauregard, Director | Jane Bullbrook, Director | Garry Chan, Director | Enza Dininio, Director | Ali Ladha, Treasurer | James Stellick, Director | Jan Stewart, Director | Karen Sullivan, Director | Tom Whelan, Director | Carobeth Zorzos, Director | Robert Hart, Chair Emeritus

Changes to the new Ontario Autism Program, as defined by the Ministry of Children & Community Support Services (MCCSS), drove considerable attention in 2019-20. In preparation for the province’s new approach, we developed a fee for service program to run parallel to our MCCSS funded services. We have revamped, defined and costed out our foundational family services, planned for individual and group sessions to be on a virtual platform, and revised all of our services and supports for the children and families. When COVID restrictions ease and in-person OAP services are offered, we look forward to providing our programs to children and families on the waiting lists.

Our adult community programs in Central East, Central West and Toronto have merged into one team. The one team approach is facilitating the use of best practice methods, the revision of educational content, and the consolidation of offices for increased efficiencies. Our young adults program continues to mature, grow and add new services. Last year we assisted 111 young adults in our employment programs.

This past year we embarked on our first accreditation process with Accreditation Canada. This journey will support improvement to the quality of our services and ultimately, better supports and personal outcomes for people supported by Kerry’s Place. Over the next year we will be reviewing and adjusting our approaches to leadership, governance and clinical standards as we prepare for our September 2021 accreditation survey.

Our employees have been truly amazing over this past year, especially navigating through the COVID crisis. We can’t thank them enough for their dedication and professionalism. And although we have progressed on many of our people-related measures, we have more work to do. We completed an employee engagement survey, embarked on a Health & Wellness initiative, and are revamping of our training and education programs. Through 2020/21, we want to better measure if these initiatives are indeed improving the work lives of our employees.

A look forward

We know the needs of people supported in our residences are changing. To help guide our understanding of the best possible residential care, we formally began work on a housing strategy for the future.

The plan includes consultation with all levels of staff, our families and external experts. The process will help us assess housing models that will best address the needs of the persons we support as they age, including improvements in the amenities they need. The plan will consider the balance of rural and urban settings, review the most efficient size of our homes, and look at international models that have proved successful for our supported persons.

December 2020 marks the end of our present 2017/2020 Strategic Plan. With the housing strategy work well underway, this autumn we are engaging our staff, management, board and external colleagues to participate in planning our next strategic plan. So much has changed in how we support our children and adults during this past year and will continue to change over the new few years. We will adapt to this new reality for Kerry’s Place as we enter a new strategic planning cycle.

With our thanks

We both would like to personally thank the staff and management team at Kerry’s Place for their dedication, resourcefulness, and kindness to our community, especially during these past challenging months. In addition, we would like to thank the board of directors and the board members of Kerry’s Place Residential Services for their volunteer hours, advice and guidance during this successful and challenging 2019/20 year. And we especially want to acknowledge the people and families supported at Kerry’s Place. Your spirit and enthusiasm to improve the personal outcomes of people with ASD is unmatched. It is a privilege to be a part of the Kerry’s Place community because of all of you.

Sue VanDeVelde-Coke
President and CEO

Mary Lowe
Chair of the Board of Directors