Volunteering beneficial to cognitive health in older adults: study

Decreased symptoms of depression, increased longevity amongst findings

If you’re an older adult and you want to maintain good cognition and other health benefits, consider volunteering.

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OMNI team raises $500 for ALS research, gets soaked in the process

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – After being challenged by some of OMNI Health Care’s homes, 11 people from head office participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge Aug. 25. Read more

Four West Lake Terrace managers get soaked

Home raises $300 for ALS research

Four West Lake Terrace managers took the Ice Bucket Challenge Aug. 21 in an event that engaged residents and raised money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research in the process. Read more

Kentwood Park administrator and daughter participate in Ice Bucket Challenge

Kentwood Park administrator Tina Cole and her daughter Skyler recently took the Ice Bucket Challenge after being nominated by students at Nicholson Catholic College in Belleville where Skyler is a student. Read more

Hands-on care, warm atmosphere, good food are Country Terrace’s strengths: family member

Country Terrace

‘The care my mother receives is A-plus,’ says Peter Welsh

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When Peter and Grethe Welsh visited Country Terrace for the first time on a tour, one thing stood out for them: the warm atmosphere.

The Welshes were touring the home, where Peter’s mother would soon be living. The couple was looking for a long-term care home that would provide the best possible care for Peter’s mother. When resident services co-ordinator Heather Davidson was showing the couple around, Peter says “90 per cent of the residents were saying hi to us and smiling — this is what makes the difference to me in a (long-term care) home.”

Peter and Grethe say their first impression has remained long after Peter’s mother moved into the Komoka long-term care home. Not only does the home offer a warm, welcoming environment, the care is exceptional, they say.

“The care my mother receives is A-plus,” Peter says. “The staff there is on top of everything.”

Peter, who visits his mother regularly, adds that the home provides regular updates on how his mother is doing and to inform him of any changes in her care.

“This is the type of care we like,” he says.

Peter and Grethe note that they’re not alone in their admiration of Country Terrace. The mother of a friend of the couple’s also lives at the home. Before moving, the resident wasn’t eating well but that’s changed.

“Her mother has gained 20 pounds,” Peter says, adding the meals prepared by nutritional care manager Alex Achillini and his staff are top notch.

The home’s wide variety of resident programming is another bonus, the Welshes say, noting staff members in the life enrichment department engage Peter’s mother in activities.

“Her quality of life is much better (at Country Terrace),” Grethe says. “Her memory is declining, but the second she remembers something, those are the seconds that count for her.”

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

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

Woodland Villa the first OMNI home to have a physician assistant


Nancy Bonaparte bringing unique skill set to home

Monday, August 18, 2014 — Deron Hamel

SOUTH STORMONT, Ont. – Nancy Bonaparte is bringing a unique set of skills to Woodland Villa. Since May, she has been the only physician assistant working at an OMNI Health Care long-term care home, and her work is helping both residents and the home’s physician.

As a physician assistant, Bonaparte provides quick assessments and sometimes treatments for residents’ conditions which can avoid hospital transfers. This is important because transfers can have a detrimental effect on quality of life. Secondly, by having an in-house physician assistant, Bonaparte’s position lessens doctors’ heavy workloads.

The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants describes physician assistants as “academically prepared and highly-skilled health-care professionals who provide a broad range of medical services.”

There are some differences between physician assistants and nurse practitioners, which several long-term care homes utilize.

Firstly, physician assistants and nurse practitioners work under a different scope of practice. Nurse practitioners are much like “independent practitioners,” notes Bonaparte, while physician assistants work under defined supervision.

“It’s a new position,” says Bonaparte, who works half days at the home. “We’re basically physician extenders, so we always work under a scope of practice under the supervision of a physician. We assess and diagnose, we prescribe some medications, perform biopsies, we order lab and x-ray tests and interpret them.” I work here half days and in the clinic in the afternoons, except Fridays.”

Prior to coming to Woodland Villa, Bonaparte worked in a Kingston long-term care home. There, she says her position was well received

“The families and the residents loved the fact that they were getting seen quicker and probably more frequently, because we have more time than the doctors,” she says. “In long-term care, everybody loves having an extra set of hands.”

Janna Sabourin, Woodland Villa’s director of care, says Bonaparte adds an important contribution to the home.

“Every home should have a Nancy,” she 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.com.

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

Residents applaud care provided at Country Terrace


Ann Pus and Mac Grant underscore value of care provided at Komoka home

Friday, August 15, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Ann Pus was always thankful for the high level of care her husband, Anton, received when he was living at Country Terrace 10 years ago.

So, when Ann, 89, decided in July 2012 that it was time for her to move into a long-term care home, she didn’t hesitate about going to Country Terrace.

“I’m here because my husband liked it here,” Ann says, adding the care staff members provide at the home has remained consistent since her husband was a resident. “They do an honest-to-goodness good job of taking care of me. . . . And I want to stay here.”

Since coming to live at Country Terrace, resident Mac Grant says he has only seen and heard good things about the home. Staff and residents, he says, treat each other with respect, and the care provided is excellent.

“Everything is fine and dandy for me here,” Grant says. “There’s good staff, and the caregivers are quite good — the people who look after the building do a very good job as well.”

Country Terrace administrator Karen Dann says a key strength found at the Komoka long-term care home is the staff. Staff members, she says, put residents’ needs first and go above and beyond to ensure their experience at Country Terrace is as enriching as possible.

“I have wonderful staff, both personal support workers (PSWs), registered and managers who truly want each and every resident to have the best possible experience at Country Terrace,” Dann says.

“I see staff sitting holding hands of distraught residents, sitting beside a resident who is dying offering comfort and companionship, laughing with residents and making every effort to meet every request that comes their way.”

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.

Older adults are ‘morning people’: study


Researchers emphasize importance of older adults completing cognitive tasks in the morning

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Older adults are shown to be higher functioning when given demanding cognitive tasks in the morning compared to later in the day, according to a recent Canadian study.

Research from the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences indicates that testing people in the morning also stimulates the cognitive networks that help younger individuals pay attention and reduce distraction.

The study’s lead author, John Anderson, a PhD candidate with the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences and University of Toronto’s psychology department, emphasizes the importance of time of day in the brains of older adults.

“Their improved cognitive performance in the morning correlated with greater activation of the brain’s attentional control regions — the rostral prefrontal and superior parietal cortex — similar to that of younger adults,” Anderson says.

Based on the study’s findings, Anderson recommends older adults perform their most challenging tasks in the morning.

The study examined 16 people aged 60 to 82 and 16 people aged 19 to 30. The people were given memory tests involving studying and recalling picture and word combinations at different times of day.

During the testing process, individuals’ brains were scanned to help scientists understand which areas were activated. A notable finding was that older people tested between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. were less likely to pay attention to distractions than those tested later in the afternoon.

Dr. Lynn Hasher, a senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute and psychology professor at the University of Toronto, underscores the importance of early-in-the-day testing of cognitive function for older adults.

“Since older adults tend to be morning-type people, ignoring time of day when testing them on some tasks may create an inaccurate picture of age differences in brain function,” Hasher says.

The study’s findings were published July 7 in the online edition of Psychology and Aging.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the 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.

OMNI participating in survey to enhance understanding of epilepsy


Initiative aims to enhance care, identify educational opportunities for staff

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Staff members at OMNI Health Care long-term care homes are invited to participate in a survey to help identify their understanding of seizure disorders as well as educational opportunities.

OMNI and Epilepsy Ontario, a Markham-based epilepsy support agency, are collaborating on the initiative to help ensure residents get the best possible care, says OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy.

Given OMNI’s dedication to forming partnerships with other community organizations, McCarthy says the organization saw this as an opportunity to make a difference.

“Many of our homes have residents diagnosed with seizure disorders, including epilepsy, and I believe that by working together we can help to identify areas where OMNI homes might be able to benefit from education and support services provided by Epilepsy Ontario,” McCarthy says.

“In turn, (this will) help Epilepsy Ontario develop knowledge of prevalence of seizure disorders in long-term care and of the particular support needs of residents living in long-term care homes.”

Managers and staff members will soon be asked to complete a 10-minute electronic questionnaire about the prevalence of epilepsy in OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes. The information provided will help Epilepsy Ontario better understand the needs of residents and staff members, and assist homes in finding needed resources.

An estimated one in every 100 Canadians has epilepsy.

Working with Bramm Research, Epilepsy Ontario has developed surveys for long-term care homes, educators and employers to gain a better understanding of their familiarity with epilepsy, its characteristics and the prevalence of seizure disorders in their workplaces.

Nikki Porter, Epilepsy Ontario’s project manager for the From Isolation to Inclusion initiative, emphasizes that the survey aims to discover opportunities to enhance resident care.

“Our goal in this survey is to achieve an accurate understanding of current levels of awareness and understanding,” she says. “This information will help Epilepsy Ontario and community epilepsy agencies across the province help support long-term care homes, schools and workplaces to accommodate people with epilepsy.”

Other Ontario long-term care providers will be participating in the survey.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the 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.

Strategy credited for reduced blood-sugar, skin-care issues


Comprehensive diabetes program enhancing quality of life at Pleasant Meadow Manor

Friday, August 8, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Since introducing OMNI Health Care’s comprehensive diabetes program in 2013, Pleasant Meadow Manor has seen improved blood-sugar control and skin issues have been eliminated, says Susan Towns, the home’s clinical care and RAI co-ordinator.

The Norwood long-term care home, along with Riverview Manor in Peterborough, piloted OMNI’s diabetes strategy last year, and the team couldn’t be happier with the results, Towns says, adding the protocols have significantly enhanced residents’ quality of life.

Having no residents with skin issues is significant, she adds, because people with diabetes tend to have higher rates of skin breakdown and healing time can be much slower than with people who do not have diabetes.

At the centre of the diabetes program is a group of evidence-based order sets addressing several aspects of diabetes care, including nursing assessment, dietary care, foot care and sick-day management.

The assessments can be used when residents enter long-term care homes as part of the admissions process.

Diabetes is a serious issue in long-term care, and its impact on quality of life is profound: fluctuating blood sugar brought on by diabetes can cause falls and the disease poses challenges for wound care. Diabetes can also lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

By having better control of diabetes, residents can avoid hospital visits, which in turn improves quality of life while helping to reduce the burden on the acute-care system.

OMNI received a grant from Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. and Eli Lilly (Canada) Inc. in February 2013 to help make this diabetes strategy possible.  Assessments were done in each of OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes in areas including hypoglycemic events, numbers of residents with diabetes, and the time required to resolve issues related to diabetes.

Physician buy-in crucial

When the diabetes strategy was introduced to Pleasant Meadow Manor, Towns says the greatest challenge was to get buy-in from the home’s physicians.

“And that’s the groundbreaking thing — you have to have your physicians on board,” Towns says. “You have to get them to agree to use the newer medications that are out there (and) they have to be willing to do the order sets.”

So, how does Towns recommend homes that want to introduce their own diabetes strategy get buy-in from physicians? She says it’s all about showing them solid results.

“With every improvement we made I just e-mailed the changes to our physicians,” she says. “It’s a work in progress but, for the most part, they’ve liked what we’ve done.”

On June 5, OMNI received the Innovation of the Year award from the Ontario Long Term Care Association for the organization’s diabetes program.

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.