Cold and flu season is here

‘It only takes 20-30 seconds of your time to clean your hands’

October 31, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

With the arrival of cold and flu season comes the reminder of how important proper hand hygiene is in the effort to keep residents and staff members safe in long-term care homes.

Twenty to thirsty seconds of handwashing? Priceless. Thanks to healthandlifestyle.ca for the photo.

Twenty to thirsty seconds of handwashing? Priceless. Thanks to healthandlifestyle.ca for the photo

Long-term care home residents can be particularly vulnerable to infections. While homes are equipped with many hand-sanitizers and staff members do their best to keep their hands clean, it’s worthwhile, especially this time of year, to remind people about proper hand-washing techniques.

While environmental services departments work tirelessly to keep tables, doorknobs, handrails and other commonly-touched areas of long-term care homes clean, the most important defence is keeping hands bacteria free.

The Health Canada website explains proper hand-washing techniques:

– Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand cleansers are useful when soap and water are not available. In most cases antibacterial soap is not necessary for safe, effective hand hygiene.
– Remove any hand or arm jewellery you may be wearing and wet your hands with warm water. Add regular soap and rub your hands together, ensuring you have lathered all surfaces for at least 15 seconds — approximately the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.”
– Wash the front and back of your hands, as well as between your fingers and under your nails.
– Rinse your hands well under warm running water, using a rubbing motion.
– Wipe and dry your hands gently with a paper towel or a clean towel. Drying them vigorously can damage the skin.
– Turn off the tap using the paper towel so that you do not re-contaminate your hands. When using a public bathroom, use the same paper towel to open the door when you leave.
– If skin dryness is a problem, use a moisturizing lotion.

Oct. 21-25 was International Infection Control Week. The week, which has been recognized since 1988, is aimed at raising the awareness of ways to prevent infections in health-care environments.

“Cleaning your hands is an ordinary procedure and does not take a lot of time and effort,” the Community and Hospital Infection Control Association of Canada says in a statement.

“You can use soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub. It only takes 20-30 seconds of your time to clean your hands.”

Just Clean Your Hands, a Public Health Ontario initiative has education and training information for long-term care homes looking for ways to maximize hand-hygiene practices. Click here for the website.

What is your home doing to promote hand hygiene? If you have a story you would like to share, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Almonte Country Haven honours staff at awards ceremony

Long-time service and dedication to home recognized

Almonte Country Haven recently recognized several dedicated staff members at a ceremony where service pins and gifts were given as a token of gratitude. Read more

OMNI LEA wins prestigious caregiver award

‘At the end of each day I feel like it’s my life that has been enriched by the residents,’ says Kellie Bennett

October 29, 2013 — Deron Hamel

It may be Kellie Bennett’s job to enrich people’s lives but she says it’s her life that’s made better through her work with Garden Terrace residents.

Garden Terrace LEA Kellie Bennett (centre) is seen here after winning the 2013 Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award.

Garden Terrace LEA Kellie Bennett (centre) is seen here after winning the 2013 Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award.

A life enrichment aide (LEA) at Garden Terrace, Bennett was honoured on Saturday (Oct. 26) with the 2013 Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award. It was presented in Ottawa during the You and Me for Memories Evening to Remember Gala.

“At the end of each day I feel like it’s my life that has been enriched by the residents,” she tells the OMNIway. “This means the world to me; I’m very honoured.”

The Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award is given out annually at gala to front-line caregivers in the Ottawa region who have shown outstanding performance in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

While she says she’s “honoured” to have won the award, Bennett notes the impact has yet to sink in. As happy as she is to have won the award, Bennett says she’s even more proud that the selection committee chose a life enrichment worker, adding LEAs play a major role in the lives of long-term care residents who have dementia.

Bennett was nominated for the accolade by administrator Carolyn Della Foresta. Like Bennett, Della Foresta comes from a life enrichment background and knows first-hand the difference LEAs make in residents’ lives.

Della Foresta nominated Bennett because of the LEA’s personalized approach to working with residents affected by cognitive impairment. The administrator saw that when Bennett worked with residents they would often enjoy an activity they didn’t think they wanted to do, simply because of Bennett’s kind, caring approach.

“With Kellie, nothing is done for show — every decision that is made in her day is about what is good for the residents,” says Della Foresta.

You and Me for Memories is a grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research. It was started in 2008 by families of Garden Terrace residents.

This year saw three front-line workers from OMNI Health Care long-term care homes. They were Bennett, Garden Terrace personal support worker Birru Firew and Almonte Country Haven LEA Jessica Lynch.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Ont. doctor underscores importance of end-of-life care plan

Summary explaining futility of aggressive treatment in some cases would help people make informed decisions

October 28, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

The chair of the Ontario Medical Association’s section on general internal medicine is suggesting health-care stakeholders develop a written summary of end-of-life goals and information explaining the futility of aggressive treatquality-endoflife-care_630x440ment in some cases to enhance palliative-care practices.

In the commentary section of the Toronto Star on Oct. 24, Dr. Charles S. Shaver offers an interesting solution to a challenge found in the health-care system: that a group of doctors, nurses, ethicists and spiritual leaders could convene to draft a summary that would help physicians talk with families to help them make better end-of-life care decisions when their loved ones have no chance of survival.

Once completed, the information could be translated into several languages and sent to Canadian hospitals from coast to coast.

The issue of family members insisting on resuscitating their loved ones who have no chance of survival is often rooted in cultural and religious differences, Shaver points out.

In other cases, Shaver writes, a person’s son or daughter who lives far away from their parent has feelings of guilt and will insist that doctors use aggressive treatment to prevent their mother or father from dying.

However, having information available explaining how aggressive treatments to individuals who are dying can often be detrimental could help ease these situations when they arise, Shaver proposes.

“A physician dealing with a difficult situation — especially when the patient is of a different ethnic background — could speak to family members, hand out this document for them to discuss among themselves, and then meet again to make a more reasoned end-of-life decision,” he writes.

Shaver adds: “Communication would be further enhanced if the physician could enlist the help of a physician, nurse, pharmacist, etc. who was of the same cultural group as the patient, and could meet with family members and answer any questions in their own language.”

In his commentary, Shaver proposes that the Canadian Medical Association could scrutinize the process to prevent the information as being perceived as a tool to save money in provincial health budgets.

Obviously, this is an issue the long-term care sector has a stake in. If you would like to comment on this issue, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Click here to read Shaver’s full commentary.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

‘Perpetual smiling staff member’ lives the OMNIway

Jessica Lynch nominated for Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award

From picking flowers with residents to helping them make fresh fruit smoothies, Jessica Lynch “lives” the OMNI values of honesty, integrity, creativity, and fun and laughter. Read more

Kellie Bennett’s caring approach to programming recognized

‘Her respect and genuine regard for each individual resident comes through clearly in both her words and actions’

October 24, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Creating meaningful programming for residents affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia is a challenge for most programming departments, but one Garden Terrace life enrichment worker embraces that challenge — and gets positive results.

Because of her tenacity and resident focus, life enrichment aide (LEA) Kellie Bennett has been nominated for the Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award, which will be announced Oct. 26 during the You and Me for Memories Evening to Remember Gala in Ottawa.

In her letter to the nomination committee, Garden Terrace administrator Carolyn Della Foresta praises Bennett’s ability to engage residents and get a positive reaction.

“I have watched as Kellie has sung her heart out as she walks around a room, reaching forward and clasping residents’ hands in an effort to engage them — I have watched those residents respond to this gesture in a way I have never seen them respond to other staff,” says Della Foresta.

“She can elicit a smile, a wink, a hug from people that many would consider unreachable. . . . Kellie shows incredible patience with residents as they try to complete a task for themselves during a program — she doesn’t rush them — she encourages them and then she celebrates with them.”

Bennett takes a personalized approach when working on an activity with residents affected by cognitive impairment, often changing her methods until she finds an intervention that works. Often, a resident will enjoy an activity they didn’t think they wanted to do, simply because of Bennett’s kind, caring approach.

And Bennett always upholds residents’ dignity, Della Foresta adds.

“Her respect and genuine regard for each individual resident comes through clearly in both her words and actions,” she says.

The Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award is given out annually during the You and Me for Memories and Evening to Remember Gala to front-line caregivers in the Ottawa region who have shown outstanding performance in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

You and Me for Memories is a grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research. It was started in 2008 by family members of Garden Terrace residents.

— More to come

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Think pink: Willows raises breast cancer awareness

Home hosts its first Pink Day

October 23, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Given that the majority of staff members and residents at Willows Estate are women, it was fitting for the Aurora long-term care home to host Pink Day to support breast cancer research and awareness, says life enrichment co-ordinator Teddy Mazzuca.

Because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, administrator Linda Burr suggested at the start of October that the Willows team reserve

Willows Estate residents Joan Caldwell and Margaret Cunningham are seen here during the home's Oct. 11 Pink Day.

Willows Estate residents Joan Caldwell and Margaret Cunningham are seen here during the home’s Oct. 11 Pink Day.

a day to raise awareness of breast cancer, a disease that will affect approximately one in every nine Canadian women in their lifetime.

“It was nice to be able to give our support,” Mazzuca tells the OMNIway, adding that this is the first Pink Day the home has hosted.

Residents and staff members began organizing the Oct. 11 event. The first thing the group did was make pink tie-dyed T-shirts. Residents and staff members also baked cupcakes frosted with pink icing that were sold on Pink Day.

The team also sold pink grapefruit flavoured Tic Tac mints. Pink Tic Tacs are sold in autumn in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the manufacturer, Ferraro, makes a $100,000 donation to breast cancer research.

According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, 23,800 women and 200 men in Canada will be diagnosed with the disease in 2013.

Click here for more information on the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Do you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway? If so, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

PSW praised for focus on ensuring people’s dignity

Birru Firew nominated for Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award

October 22, 2013 — Deron Hamel

On any given day, Garden Terrace personal support worker (PSW) Birru Firew can be found working with residents affected by cognitive impairment and going above and beyond his responsibilities.

Firew often takes on tasks that increase his workload, says administrator Carolyn Della Foresta. But because his No. 1 priority is residents he never shows an ounce of stress, she adds, noting he exhibits patience, kindness and genuine caring every day.

Ensuring residents living with dementia maintain their dignity is of utmost importance to Firew, says Della Foresta, adding she has seen the PSW encourage residents to complete tasks independently. When they do, Firew is standing there with a big smile.

This is why the administrator has nominated Firew for the Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award, which will be announced Oct. 26 during the You and Me for Memories Evening to Remember Gala in Ottawa.

“His respect and reverence for each of the residents entrusted to his care is evident in his words, his actions and his smile,” says Della Foresta in her nomination.

“His soothing and calm approach with his residents can be described as angelic.  Even though his workload is tremendous and his duties are taxing, no one around him would ever know and the residents he is caring for would certainly never feel that he is experiencing any stress.”

As a testament to Firew’s gift as a caregiver, Della Foresta says the PSW has amazing success working with female residents. This, she notes, is often challenging for male caregivers, but Firew’s caring nature overcomes this, she says.

“I believe that our residents see in Birru what each of us would so desperately long for if we were in their shoes — I believe they see comfort.”

Della Foresta tells the nominating committee that Firew doesn’t expect any recognition for his work — for him it’s all about the residents.

“Nothing with Birru is for show — it is genuinely who he is and how he desires to care for his residents,” she says.

“He can often be seen reassuring a resident, calming them down when they are upset for no apparent reason and in doing so preserving their pride and helping them back to a place of peace.”

The Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award is given out annually during the You and Me for Memories and Evening to Remember Gala to front-line caregivers in the Ottawa region who have shown outstanding performance in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

You and Me for Memories is a grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research. It was started in 2008 by family members of Garden Terrace residents.

— More to come

Roots of resident’s interests found in early station days

Frank Trombley’s latest endeavour: a wooden diorama

CAMPBELLFORD, Ont. – Frank Trombley has no problem finding something to occupy his time. The Burnbrae Gardens resident is enthralled by a wide variety of things. Read more

Country Terrace embarks on two new outings

Country Terrace residents are seen here enjoying a London Knights hockey game Oct. 5. at Budweiser Gardens.

Country Terrace residents are seen here enjoying a London Knights hockey game Oct. 5. at Budweiser Gardens.

Access to the OMNI van made everything possible, says

LEC

October 18, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Country Terrace residents got to go on two new outings recently, which was made possible by the Komoka long-term care home having access to the OMNI van.

It was an experience like no other for four residents and two staff members from Country Terrace when they travelled to Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. Oct. 5 to watch an OHL hockey game.

The residents had wanted to attend a hockey game for some time, but this had been challenging to organize because of transportation barriers. But when Country Terrace had access to the OMNI van the team booked tickets and the group got to see the London Knights beat the Guelph Storm 7-2.

While everyone was happy the home-team favourites won, it was the experience of once again being able to see a live hockey match that truly made the day special, says life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Christie Patterson.

“This was the first time we had gone to a London Knights game — the residents had asked about it last spring, during the playoffs, but we didn’t have the van at that time, so we made this a priority when we found out we’d be getting the van in October,” she tells the OMNIway, adding that having access to the OMNI van “makes a huge difference to our home.”

Patterson says being able to attend a live game made a big difference to residents. While they enjoy watching hockey on TV, it’s just not the same as being at an arena and in the thick of the action, she adds.

“And that’s what the residents said after — that (being at the game) was so much nicer,” Patterson says. “It’s many days later and the residents are still talking about it.”

Given the success of this trip, Patterson says she hopes to organize another hockey-game excursion in the future.

The hockey game wasn’t the only new outing at Country Terrace this month. On Oct. 16 the life enrichment team accompanied residents to a local theatre, which proved to be a special occasion.

In fact, one resident had not been to a movie theatre since her youth in England, Patterson notes.

“It was really neat to see their reaction when we went into the theatre,” Patterson says. “And the residents even said (the theatre) had the best popcorn ever.”

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.