From part-time RPN to administrator

Neil Peterson reflects on his career path at West Lake Terrace

November 25, 2013 — Deron Hamel

When Neil Peterson took a part-time registered practical nurse (RPN) position at West Lake Terrace in May 2012 he didn’t anticipate he’d become the Prince Edward County long-term care home’s administrator less than a year and a half later.

But that’s exactly what happened. Five months after Peterson started his RPN position he was promoted to part-time clinical care co-ordinator. On Oct. 28, 2013, he became the 47-bed home’s administrator, filling the vacancy left by Mary Lynn Lester, who recently retired.

As clinical care co-ordinator, Peterson worked with team members on interventions to improve several aspects of resident care, wound care, continence care, and to reduce urinary tract infections (UTIs). His ability to work with others and develop buy-in for interventions was soon noticed by OMNI management.

“I had the opportunity to tighten procedures and show some initiative in getting the staff behind me in what I wanted to accomplish, which was reducing wounds, reducing UTIs and increasing compliance with incontinence programs,” Peterson tells the OMNIway.

Through interventions Peterson and West Lake Terrace staff members worked on reducing the home’s incontinence rate from 86 per cent to 54 per cent.

“We worked with all the departments to let the entire team have a part in the process, because you need to have a solid team,” says Peterson, who worked in information technology before embarking on a nursing career.

Peterson says what he has liked best about his new role is “being able to see the entire picture” of life at West Lake Terrace. He adds he also likes bringing the OMNI vision and values to the home.

“(OMNI) has really worked well — and worked hard — to have systems that work well as a corporation,” he says.

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

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

Frost Manor shows OMNI pride during local parade

Participation in event draws attention from community

November 22, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Once again, Frost Manor participated in the annual Lindsay & District Chamber of Commerce Santa Claus Parade, which served as an opportunity to bring the home to the forefront in the Lindsay community, while offering a good time for some residents and staff members.

The Frost Manor team poses in front of the OMNI van during the Lindsay & District Chamber of Commerce Santa Claus Parade.

The Frost Manor team poses in front of the OMNI van during the Lindsay & District Chamber of Commerce Santa Claus Parade.

Decked out in costumes, the management team from the Lindsay long-term care home marched in front of the OMNI van, carrying a banner reading, “Frost Manor, Long-Term Care, Our Passion is People.” Other staff members and residents rode in the van during the Nov. 17 event.

Initially, the home planned to build a float, as it did last year, but because inclement weather was forecasted, the group decided to march in front of the van instead, notes life enrichment co-ordinator Vi O’Leary.

The home entered a float in last year’s parade, which was the first time Frost Manor had participated in the event in 20 years.

It’s an event O’Leary says she wants to see the home continue participating in because it brings positive exposure from the community.

“And it’s a lot of fun,” she adds, noting the three residents who joined staff members also had a fun day.

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

Small donations have large impact in Philippines recovery: Forest Hill staff

Forest Hill and OMNI reaching out to help those affected by typhoon

November 21, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

A simple fishing boat costs about C$100 in the Philippines. With a fishing boat, people in coastal regions of the country can earn a decent living, and fishing boats will be the starting point for many Filipinos as they rebuild their lives in the wake of the devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan on Nov. 8.

Working with the Forest Hill team, OMNI Health Care has agreed to match donations dollar for dollar, and the Government of Canada is doubling every individual donation. In other words, every dollar donated to Forest Hill will be turned into $4.

Working with the Forest Hill team, OMNI Health Care has agreed to match donations dollar for dollar, and the Government of Canada is doubling every individual donation. In other words, every dollar donated to Forest Hill will be turned into $4.

Given the low cost of a boat, small donations — even a few dollars — will go a long way in helping people recover from the disaster, which claimed about 4,000 lives and displaced about four million people.

Many boats were destroyed in the typhoon. Once people in the coastal regions in the country’s north — where the devastation was most felt — have boats, they can start fishing again. The money they make fishing will help rebuild homes.

A small donation will be a long-term investment. This is the message Jocelyn Geraghty and Laarni Casiple want everyone to know.

Geraghty, a personal support worker, and Casiple, a registered nurse, work at Forest Hill. Both are originally from the Philippines and both have friends and family members impacted by the typhoon — Geraghty has relatives whose house was destroyed and Casiple has a friend whose brother is missing.

Geraghty and Casiple say they hope money raised at Forest Hill can help even just one family in the rebuilding process. In fact, Geraghty was speaking with her mother on the phone after the typhoon struck the archipelago to inquire about how she could help.

Her mother’s suggestion was to raise money to buy people boats.

“And then I said, ‘Yes, we can help with a boat,’ ” Geraghty says.

Adds Casiple: “We thought that, amongst us here (at Forest Hill), maybe we can help one family, because at the moment there is so much of an influx of support coming from all over the world to help the victims,” Casiple says. “The recovery is a long process. If we could help one family get a fishing boat, it would help them start.”

To help raise money for the relief effort, Forest Hill hosted a pancake breakfast on two shifts Nov. 19. Continued donations are welcomed.

Working with the Forest Hill team, OMNI Health Care has agreed to match donations dollar for dollar, and the Government of Canada is doubling every individual donation. In other words, every dollar donated to Forest Hill will be turned into $4.

Geraghty and Casiple underscore their appreciation for the Forest Hill administration team and OMNI for their support for people affected by the typhoon.

“We are very grateful to everyone,” Geraghty says.

If you would like to make a donation to the relief effort in the Philippines you can contact Forest Hill at 613-599-1991.

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

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

Garden Terrace staff, OMNI come together for typhoon relief

Administrator commends resulting team effort

November 20, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Garden Terrace and OMNI Health Care have come together to support relief efforts in the Philippines in the wake of the typhoon that claimed the lives of approximately 4,000 people and displaced as many as four million others.

“The staff have been so kind and concerned about one another — it has really further brought to light the community we have amongst our staff members,”

“The staff have been so kind and concerned about one another — it has really further brought to light the community we have amongst our staff members,”

Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines Nov. 8. Garden Terrace has many staff members who are from the Philippines. Following the disaster, administrator Carolyn Della Foresta approached each team member from the Philippines to inquire about their families.

Fortunately, no team members lost family members to the typhoon, however, one personal support worker’s family lost their home.

Following the storm, one good thing did happen — staff members came together to support each other, Della Foresta says.

“The staff have been so kind and concerned about one another — it has really further brought to light the community we have amongst our staff members,” she tells the OMNIway.

To support people in the Philippines, the Kanata long-term care home has been raising money since Nov. 12 for the relief effort. At the time of this writing, $423 has been raised. OMNI has agreed to match donations dollar for dollar and the Government of Canada is doubling every individual donation. In other words, every dollar donated to Garden Terrace will be turned into $4.

If you would like to donate to the relief effort, you can do so by calling Garden Terrace at 613-254-9702, ext. 224.

OMNI has also teamed up with Forest Hill to raise money for relief efforts in the Philippines. Like with Garden Terrace, OMNI is matching donations raised at that home. In tomorrow’s OMNIway we’ll hear two Forest Hill staff members from the Philippines share their thoughts on events in their home country as well as about the support they’re seeing from their colleagues and OMNI.

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

What happens when you combine luck, fabulous people and even a small glitch?

Maplewood hosts ‘astounding’ live auction

November 19, 2013 — Michelle Strutzenberger 

The night before Maplewood long-term care home’s inaugural live auction, Rachel Corkery dreamed the event had raised more than $5,000. Though she knew there was no way that would happen, the life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) headed into work that day energized to think this could be a good omen for the event.

In total, the event raised, not $5,000, but close to $2,700, which, for a small long-term home in a small community is still very significant, says Corkery. Image courtesy of OMNI files.

In total, the event raised, not $5,000, but close to $2,700, which, for a small long-term home in a small community is still very significant, says Corkery. Image courtesy of OMNI files.

She shared her dream at the home, which fuelled the energy of the day as final preparations for the auction took place.

In the end, the evening event went off in a way Corkery now describes as astounding.

“We’re still glowing, days later,” she says. “We’re still getting feedback from people that they had such a wonderful evening.”

The evening began with a silent auction and a chance to sample “absolutely delicious” desserts and hot drinks prepared and served by volunteers.

A local band, the Bordens, struck up a mix of bluegrass, classic rock and folk music. “They were wonderful,” says Corkery, noting the home plans to have the band back for a resident birthday party.

About 7 p.m., it was time for the live auction, which featured a mix of about 30 items — from artwork to baked goods to a spa day pass.

The room at that point was so full Corkery had to run and find extra chairs in residents’ rooms.

Then she stepped up to the podium to announce the one hiccup in the otherwise perfect evening — that the auctioneer they had planned to have join would be unable to participate — and that she, Corkery, would be taking his place.

Admittedly nervous beforehand, Corkery says she found herself quite at ease once she started the bidding. She’s now thinking that glitch may have contributed to the event’s success. “I think my inexperience as an auctioneer allowed for the prices to go up a little faster than they might have,” she says with a chuckle.

In total, the event raised, not $5,000, but close to $2,700, which, for a small long-term home in a small community is still very significant, says Corkery.

“It’s about double what we raise in a typical fundraising event.”

Glitch aside, she attributes the evening’s success in large part to a group of “hardworking, fabulous” volunteers.

“At Maplewood we’re very lucky,” she notes. “We have a lot of volunteers who are committed to Maplewood and making sure that no matter what we do, we’re successful at it. It’s almost like they own Maplewood too.”

In addition to the volunteers, there were many community members who attended and showed their support of the residents of Maplewood by bidding — sometimes surprisingly high — on items.

The event would also have not been possible without the contributions from local businesses for the auction, says Corkery, who is a strong advocate of shopping local and supporting local businesses.

Local businesses have consistently demonstrated their eagerness and willingness to support the long-term care home, as well as other similar organizations, she says. “We wouldn’t be able to do our fundraisers without them. I can’t speak highly enough about shopping local.”

All of this support — from the long-term care home, volunteers, community members and local businesses — demonstrates to residents that they’re valued members of the community, Corkery says.

“There are some unique qualities about being a small home in a small town,” she adds. “We don’t get lost in a big city; we don’t get lost in a big home

“Our community takes care of us and we do our best to take care of the community.”

All proceeds from the fundraising will be directed to the residents’ council. A portion will be used to enable all residents to participate in a variety of outings. Residents’ council also sponsors part of the highly anticipated annual Maplewood family/resident barbecue and resident birthday parties.

The hardworking volunteers of the night Corkery would like to recognize include: Marg Catney, Carol Leadbetter, BJ Brideau, Cindy Phillips, Ron Peppy, Robyn Dilworth, Marilyn Page and Marianne Muston.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 27, or e-mail michelle(at)axiomnews.ca.

Students and residents collaborate on Remembrance Day

The Willows hosts an innovative multisensory program honouring veterans

November 15, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Residents at Willows Estate collaborated with a group of York University nursing students Nov. 8 in an innovative, multisensory

York University students pose with a wreath made by Willows Estate residents for Remembrance Day.

York University students pose with a wreath made by Willows Estate residents for Remembrance Day.

program that honoured those who have served in the Armed Forces.

Residents were provided with visual and auditory PowerPoint presentations incorporating photos; John McCrae’s famous poem, In Flanders Fields; and a sounding of trumpets.

Afterwards, the students encouraged residents to share their memories of people who served in the military. As part of a question-and-answer session, residents explained to the group what Remembrance day means to them and why it’s an important part of our culture.

Residents also spoke about their family members who had served.

“They were talking a lot about their own parents and what they went through — a lot of the residents said that, in their homes, war was not to be spoken of,” Jacqueline Sands,one of the students, tells the OMNIway.

Aside from the program’s obvious cognitive benefits, the activity also focused on residents’ motor skills. The students guided residents as they made impressive memorial wreaths that were displayed in the Aurora long-term care home.

Sands says she and the other students were most impressed by the residents’ teamwork that day.

“What we were really fascinated to find was the high degree of respect for one another that was in the room — if one resident was having difficulties, another resident would step up to help,” Sands says. “That was very nice to see.”

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

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

Study claims singing show tunes may stave off dementia symptoms

“Popular songs help enhance cognition, quality of life for people with dementia, research shows”

November 14, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Musical activities are always popular in long-term care homes, and new research is suggesting that singing — particularly show tunes — can stave off the impact of dementia.

“The message is: don't give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

“The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

The results of the study conducted by U.S. researchers indicates that residents who are encouraged to sing show tunes, such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow and When You Wish Upon a Star, demonstrate improved cognition and enhanced quality of life.

During a four-month period, the scientists studied nine people affected by dementia who regularly sing show tunes at their eastern U.S. long-term care home. The residents are involved with a choir designed by the researchers. The residents were led in a 50-minute chorus of a variety of show tunes three times per week.

The original choir consisted of 18 residents. The nine residents who did not participate in singing during the course of the study observed those who did. Results between the two groups of residents were compared.

The study indicates that singing show tunes is particularly beneficial to residents with moderate to severe dementia.

Scans on residents involved with the study showed enhanced activity in various regions of the brain; a factor scientists believe is the result of singing songs from The Wizard of Oz , The Sound of Music, Oklahoma and Pinocchio.

Neuroscientist Dr. Jane Flinn of George Mason University in Virginia is one of the researchers involved with the study. Based on the study’s results, Flinn recommends long-term care homes consider encouraging residents with cognitive impairment to sing show tunes.

“Even when people are in the fairly advanced stages of dementia, when it is so advanced they are in a secure ward, singing sessions were still helpful,” Flinn told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

“The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

Click here for more information on the study.

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

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

Work placement steers students towards LTC

Willows Estate’s environment of respect helped one student decide on her career

November 18, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Three York University nursing students says their work placement at Willows Estate has been a guiding light in helping them choose a career when they graduate.

The students are currently doing their work placement at the Aurora long-term care home.

“All three of us can say that after doing this placement, yes, we are (looking into careers in long-term care),” one of the students, Jacqueline Sands, tells the OMNIway.

“From the moment we walked in, we have been embraced and respected, and the staff members have educated us on what the environment is like. We’ve just learned so much here.”

Sands says what cemented her decision to pursue a career in the sector is the environment she has found at Willows Estate.

“It’s the environment here and the respect between all the members of staff and the care that they show the residents — this is the biggest thing for me,” she says.

“If my parents were ever looking for (a long-term care home), this is the place I would consider.”

Another benefit to working in a long-term care home, she notes, is the skill set nursing professionals can develop.

This was evident to her and the other students on their first day. Being involved with developing resident activities, for example, is one aspect of working in a long-term care home that appeals to her, Sands says, adding that the Willows Estate team has empowered the students to take ownership of many of the things they are doing at the home.

“When we got here, we didn’t know what we would be doing, and the chance to help plan activities and educate has been awesome to be a part of,” she says.

“If you have an idea to make this place even better than it already is, (the staff members) encourage you.”

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

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

Pleasant Meadow flu-vaccination campaign rolling along

Most residents, staff members receive immunization

November 13, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Almost all of the 61 residents and about 80 per cent of staff members at Pleasant Meadow Manor have received the flu shot this year as

Getting the vaccination is especially important for residents 65 and older

Getting the vaccination is especially important for residents 65 and older. Creative Commons photo.

part of OMNI Health Care’s corporate-wide vaccination campaign.

Pleasant Meadow Manor registered nurse Shelley Vandenberg says all the residents who have consented to the vaccination have received the flu shot and the campaign is ongoing at the Norwood long-term care home.

Each year at this time OMNI Health Care’s 17 long-term care homes embark on the vaccination campaign as part of the effort to keep homes free of the flu. The program is important to any home’s infection prevention and control program and helps keep outbreaks ay bay, says Vandenberg.

“It’s not going to always stop people from getting sick, but (the vaccination) is going to make it less severe,” Vandenberg says.

Vandenberg says flu vaccinations are especially important for seniors living in long-term care homes.

“As with any medication there are pros and cons, but (with the flu vaccination) the pros far outweigh the cons as far as I’m concerned, especially for people who are vulnerable already,” the RN says.

The Health Canada website underscores the importance of influenza vaccinations and infection prevention.

“The most effective way to protect yourself from the flu is to be vaccinated each year in the fall,” the site says. “Regular hand-washing is another way to help minimize your risk. By washing your hands often, you will reduce your chance of becoming infected.”

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

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

Garden Terrace caregivers star in information video

YouTube video explores caregivers’ work

November 11, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Two Garden Terrace front-line staff members have helped create a YouTube video providing insight into experiences if working with people who have a cognitive impairment.

Personal support workers (PSWs) Ashley Astle and Dieune Simplice worked as actors in Caregivers, a video made by Interplay Creative Media on behalf of You and Me for Memories, an Ottawa-area grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research.

The video was screened during You and Me for Memories fifth annual An Evening to Remember gala Oct. 26. The gala raises money to further the research of Dr. Richard Bergeron, a neuroscience specialist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Astle provided English dialogue, while Simplice spoke French in the video. Actors Kent Goranson and Penelope Goranson portrayed long-term care residents affected by dementia.

The six-minute video delves into what front-line caregivers do in their work with residents who are living with a cognitive impairment; issues such as feeding and bathing are explored, and Astle and Simplice demonstrate how to hold a conversation with people affected by dementia.

“I take each day as it comes and I don’t have any plans when I’m working on an Alzheimer’s unit because when you come into work things tend to change,” Astle says.

In the video, Astle explains why she chose her career path and what her work means to her.

“When I go home at the end of the day I feel good about myself and I know that I’m in this because I’m passionate, caring and I understand how (dementia) affects (residents) every day,” she says

Click here to watch the video.

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

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