There’s potential to find dementia cure in next decade: OMNI CEO

Canada is the only country in the G8 without a comprehensive Dementia Strategy.
Patrick McCarthy responds to G8 commitment to cure dementia by 2025
January 14, 2014 — Deron Hamel

OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy says the commitment made by G8 health ministers in December to find a cure for dementia by 2025 is not unreasonable, given the progress that has been made into treating other serious conditions.

“I think it has potential,” McCarthy tells the OMNIway, when asked about the probability of finding a dementia cure by 2025.

He adds that research has unearthed many discoveries about Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, which is also promising.

“It has been said in the past that a cure or a treatment is in sight — they’ve isolated several causal effects but haven’t really found ways to deal with that,” McCarthy says. “They have developed medications that help slow the progress and help speed up neuronal transitions.”

There’s another reason to believe that a cure for dementia might not be too far away; the fact that a lot of progress has been made into finding treatments for diseases such as cancer.

Meeting at a G8 conference in London to address the issue of dementia and what can be done to find a cure, health ministers from Canada, Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan agreed to create a “dementia envoy” dedicated to promoting research into finding a cure.

The first step to finding a cure for dementia will be to appoint the envoy, who will be tasked with assembling international expertise and obtaining research funding from public and private sectors.

The conference drew attention to the fact that $12 billion worldwide has been spent on research to cure dementia, yet there has been little success in the process.

With the populations of G8 nations aging at a fast pace there’s more need now than ever to find a cure, the ministers concluded.

McCarthy says he commends the G8 health ministers for their commitment to finding a cure for dementia, adding any inroads that will prevent or manage dementia will have a positive impact on society.

“Because it’s not a disease that’s easy to live with,” he says.

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.

Learn why early Alzheimer’s diagnosis is crucial

Alzheimer Society of Canada CEO Mimi Lowi-Young is seen here giving a speech at the Economic Club of Canada on the need for a national dementia plan.

Alzheimer Society of Canada CEO Mimi Lowi-Young is seen here giving a speech at the Economic Club of Canada on the need for a national dementia plan. Photo courtesy Alzheimer Society of Canada.

January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Monday, January 13, 2014 — Deron Hamel
The Alzheimer Society of Canada is promoting the importance of early diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia in its campaign Early Diagnosis Keeps Your Life from Unravelling.

The campaign was launched at the beginning of January to mark Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in Canada. The Alzheimer Society is encouraging Canadians to visit the campaign’s website, http://www.earlydiagnosis.ca, to learn more about dementia. By visiting the site, people will learn about symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as well as about why early diagnosis is important.

With early diagnosis, people who have dementia can access needed supports earlier and even avoid potential crisis situations. Unfortunately, people often don’t get early diagnosis. The reason, the society explains, is largely due to stigma about the disease. According to one Canadian survey, 60 per cent of respondents said it would be difficult for them to tell others they had had dementia because of preconceived notions about mental health.

The Alzheimer Society estimates 747,000 Canadians — many of whom live in long-term care homes — have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and the number is expected to climb to 1.4 million by 2031.

“Seventy-four per cent of Canadians know someone with dementia and more and more Canadians will continue to develop the disease. We want to make sure they’re getting the help they need at every stage of the disease,” says Mimi Lowi-Young, the Alzheimer Society’s CEO, in a statement.

“As devastating as the news can be, early diagnosis brings relief to families, gives them control over their situation and adds more years of living active and fulfilling lives.”

The campaign’s launch comes on the heels of a conference in London in December, where G8 health ministers pledged to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. The conference was held to address concern about the increasing number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia worldwide.

Related story: G8 health ministers commit to curing dementia by 2025

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.ca.

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

Home manages issue of resident’s unwanted advances

Safety and Sexuality Lead Image Jan 10 20142

Willows Estate reinforces behaviour isn’t appropriate: Mazzuca

Friday, January 10, 2014 — Natalie Hamilton

When confusion related to a medical condition such as dementia impacts a long-term care resident, it can sometimes fuel inappropriate behaviours.

In some cases, these actions may be sexuality-based and despite being unintentional, they present safety and other considerations.

Willows Estate is managing a situation at the Aurora long-term care residence involving a male resident of the home.

A man who is very confused occasionally tries to grab or touch staff members inappropriately, life enrichment co-ordinator Teddy Mazzuca says.

“We know he’s not of sound mind so you can’t take it personally but you have to make it very clear to him that that’s not appropriate,” Mazzuca says.

If this situation escalated, Mazzuca says the next steps would involve organizing a team conference, calling in the families and together arriving at an action plan.

Men and women living together, coupled with cognitive impairment, can present a host of moral, ethical, safety and security issues.

“It is a fact. It happens and it’s bound to happen at some point and with families that doesn’t even enter their minds,” Mazzuca adds.

“I think the key is education so you don’t overreact because it is a fact of life.”

The OMNIway is taking a closer look at sexuality and safety in long-term care.

Through a series of stories, interviews and videos, Axiom News is exploring the rights, risks and regulations related to the issue of sexuality and safety.

The news team is exploring the supportive measures in place to support those who are confused, while protecting their dignity and maintaining a safe environment for all people who reside in the home.

Confusion as a result of cognitive impairment is an issue that is growing as homes receive more residents with complex conditions, such as mental health and dementia-related behavioural challenges.

Stay tuned to the OMNIway for stories unpacking these issues.

If you have feedback on this article or a story idea to share, please e-mail natalie(at)axiomnews.ca or call Axiom News at 800-294-0051.

Osteoarthritis expert offers advice to enhance quality of life

Woodland Villa resident Wally Taillon and life enrichment aide Brenda McLaren are seen here in 2011 during a visit to the Cornwall Aquatic Centre. Residents are seeing benefits from the home's aqua-therapy program. (OMNIway archives)

Woodland Villa resident Wally Taillon and life enrichment aide Brenda McLaren are seen here in 2011 during a visit to the Cornwall Aquatic Centre. Residents are seeing benefits from the home’s aqua-therapy program. (OMNIway archives)

Physical activity, not medications, the key to controlling and preventing joint disease

Thursday, January 8, 2014 -- Deron Hamel

A leading researcher who has been studying osteoarthritis for 25 years says physical activity is the No. 1 thing people can do to prevent the degenerative joint disease as well as the best way to treat it.

In an interview with the OMNIway, Dr. Gillian Hawker, chief of medicine at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, notes that people with osteoarthritis, which is common in long-term care home residents, are often prone to depression, anxiety and other mood and physical disorders.

In fact, about one quarter of people who have osteoarthritis have symptoms compatible with depression, Hawker says.

Given the negative impact osteoarthritis can have on elderly people, caregivers need to be aware that physical activity, not medications, is the key to improving quality of life for those with the disease.

“Research shows that the primary approach is not drug-related; it’s a self-management approach,” Hawker tells the OMNIway. “Physical activity, in particular, is extremely effective at improving function, reducing pain and improving mood.”

Hawker suggests that caregivers get people mobile to stave off or prevent osteoarthritis. Simple walking can be an excellent way to stay mobile — and that includes walking with a cane or walker.

For those who are immobile, Hawker suggests a warm pool of water.

“Warm pools are good because the heat is soothing and the buoyancy of water removes the stress of weight-bearing,” she says. “If someone has been really physically inactive for a long time, getting them into a pool is a great way to get them started in physical activity.”

Hawker says walking and pool therapy can show better results in relieving pain than medications, which can have negative side effects, especially in an older population.

“In fact, physical activity, put head to head with Tylenol and anti-inflammatory drugs, et cetera, does just as well if not better in clinical trials,” she says.

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.

Streamway Santa provides gifts for 40 residents

Mr. And Mrs. Claus are seen here at Streamway Villa.

Mr. And Mrs. Claus are seen here at Streamway Villa.

Janet Kellar brings Christmas cheer to home

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 — Jennifer Neutel

Streamway Villa staff feel it was the best Christmas gift-giving festivities yet for the home’s 59 residents, in large part thanks to the work of an unexpected “Santa.”

Janet Kellar, a Mary Kay consultant, contacted the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Verleysen at the beginning of November saying she’d like to provide gifts for the residents. Kellar had no previous connection to the home.
Kellar says she decided to contact Streamway to take part in Mary Kay’s Adopt a Grandparent Program, which is a way to get out into the community and meet people in the Cobourg area. She picked Streamway Villa as she thought some residents may not have family close by or be able to leave during the holidays.

“I thought anything to lighten their day, brighten their eyes, get the excited because that’s what it’s all about,” says Kellar.

She visited 160 local businesses and asked for their support of $20 towards a resident’s gift. Some businesses who declined said they may be interested in future years if they receive the request earlier.
Of those that took part, some provided the donation through the business while others made a personal donation.

On Dec. 23, Kellar and her husband delivered the basket-wrapped gifts to Streamway Villa. Each basket included a Mary Kay product as well as different items such as mugs, socks, deodorant, candy and razors.

In addition, the home received gift certificates for residents to attend a movie at the local Northumberland Mall Theatres and a $25 gift card to grocery store Metro, which was used to purchase treats for a New Year’s Eve celebration. No Frills donated boxes of President’s Choice cookies.

Verleysen says Kellar’s contribution was unbelievable and heart-warming.

“I’ve never encountered anything like this before,” she says.

On Christmas morning, each resident had at least two gifts to open. Staff members picked about 45 resident names off a list in the staff room to purchase gifts for, and local company Limpact provides gifts for 10-15 residents each year.

Verleysen matched Kellar’s gift baskets to residents. One resident who enjoys taking baths was given a fall mat for the bath tub, which “she loved.”

Two residents dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Claus called out the gifts and who donated the gift. Many staff took video and photos as they saw the “joy and excitement” on the residents’ faces, says Verleysen.

Kellar says that though the project took a lot of time, seeing the gratitude of Verleysen and knowing the appreciation made it worthwhile.

“You don’t even think about the time and the effort because that’s what it is about — is helping other people,” Kellar tells the OMNIway, noting she wishes she could have been a fly on the wall on Christmas morning to see the residents’ reactions.

“It was quite a rewarding effort, I felt really good about taking those gifts down for all of the seniors,” she adds.

This year, Kellar hopes to start asking businesses to get involved earlier and be able to provide gifts for all Streamway Villa residents.

Verleysen would like to extend her thanks to Kellar, Limpact and the following businesses who took part in the Adopt a Grandparent program: Northumberland Mall Theatres, Metro, Medigas, No Frills, a gallery in Cobourg, Marlin Travel, Lawn Care, Frenchies Deli, United TV Stereo, Stanley’s Fish and Chips, Gypsy Cece Tattoo, Serenity Day Spa, Rental City, Party Lines, Soula’s Tea Garden, Tugg’s Furniture Gallery, Jim’s Pizza Palace, Kelly’s Homelike Inn, House of Attitudes, Insurance Services, Erika Sorensen, Pizza Pizza, All Creatures Great and Small, The UPS Store, TNS Health Food, Lucinda, and MacCoubrey Funeral Home.

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 and Wildwood Care Centre learning from each other

Wildwood Care Centre

Wildwood Care Centre

Managing St. Marys home opens opportunities

Monday, January 6, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Since OMNI Health Care began managing Wildwood Care Centre in July, the long-term care provider and the St. Marys long-term care and retirement residence have embarked on a fruitful symbiotic relationship.

One of the strong points of the relationship, says OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy, is that OMNI has been learning about some of Wildwood’s best practices that the organization can share with its other 17 homes.

Likewise, Wildwood has been adopting many of OMNI’s policies, such as supportive measures training, in an effort to introduce the organization’s culture to the home’s staff members.

“We’re sharing policies with them and moving them on to a platform where they can get full access to our policies,” McCarthy tells the OMNIway.

McCarthy says OMNI has been garnering valuable information from the 60-bed Wildwood Care Centre that can be shared within the organization.

For instance, Wildwood has a policy on needle-stick injuries that McCarthy says is “much more expansive” than OMNI’s current policy.

“(Wildwood’s needle-stick injury policy) is more inquiring, so it’s a much better system,” he says.

Wildwood Care Centre also uses a point-of-care tool, whereas OMNI homes do not, “so it’s a great opportunity for us to observe the positives and the negatives . . . we can learn from that when we start to roll it out in our homes,” McCarthy says.

Wildwood Care Centre’s administrator is Scott Walsh, whose family owns the home. McCarthy says OMNI is happy to be working with Walsh and is proud to have Wildwood Care Centre as a part of the OMNI family.

“We are really pleased to be working with him; it’s a great home in a great town in a great part of Ontario,” he says.

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.

Accreditation, health record platform, managers’ forum some of 2014’s highlights

CEO Patrick McCarthy discusses what’s on the horizon for OMNI in coming year

 

OMNI-Brochure-image

Friday, January 3, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Preparing for accreditation, moving each of its 18 long-term care homes to the MED E-care health record platform and the seventh annual spring managers’ forum are some of the major highlights at OMNI Health Care in 2014.

In a recent interview, OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy enthusiastically spoke about some of the key events to look forward to in the coming year.

At the moment, homes are busy preparing for Accreditation Canada surveyors to visit March 23-28. This is the third time OMNI has sought accreditation — three-year accreditation was granted to the organization and its homes in 2008 and 2011. The purpose of accreditation is to increase transparency and demonstrate that national standards of excellence have been met or exceeded.

“(Surveyors) will be visiting our homes and visiting our office, and we’re looking forward to a very positive outcome from that,” McCarthy tells the OMNIway.

OMNI has teams at each of its homes preparing for the surveyors’ visits and “they’ve done a great job,” he adds.

Another milestone OMNI will reach in 2014 is moving all but three of its homes to the MED E-care platform by the end of the year. The web-based platform helps long-term care homes provide better information around key quality indicators which, in turn, positions providers to maximize case mix index scores.

The tool also helps homes better manage resources to ensure the highest quality of care delivery.

“Our applications are designed to minimize care staff’s time documenting so that they have the opportunity to better assist their residents,” MED E-Care says on its website.

This spring, OMNI will host its seventh annual spring managers’ forum at Fern Resort near Orillia. The three-day event consists of workshops, presentations and activities for managers.

Prior to the forum, McCarthy says managers will be asked for their input about what they would like to see in the program to make it the most productive event possible where attendees walk away with valuable information they can use, McCarthy says.

He adds that the opportunity for managers to come together and network is one of the event’s strong points.

“I think people learn a lot from working with each other,” he says.

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.

Wayne Rostad makes resident’s dream come true

Entertainer accepts invite to play at Almonte Country Haven

Monday, December 16, 2013 — Deron Hamel
Pat Schlievert is the latest Almonte Country Haven resident to have a wish granted by the Lanark County long-term care home’s Never Too Late to Realize Your Dreams initiative.

Having learned about the program through a story in the OMNIway in March, Pam Schlievert, Pat’s sister, revealed to staff members that Pat is a big fan of Wayne Rostad and asked the team if they could bring the singer, who lives nearby, to the home for a performance.

Almonte Country Haven resident Pat Schlievert is seen here with singer Wayne Rostad during a Dec. 6 performance at the home.Almonte Country Haven resident Pat Schlievert is seen here with singer Wayne Rostad during a Dec. 6 performance at the home.

Almonte Country Haven resident Pat Schlievert is seen here with singer Wayne Rostad during a Dec. 6 performance at the home.Almonte Country Haven resident Pat Schlievert is seen here with singer Wayne Rostad during a Dec. 6 performance at the home.

Administrator Marilyn Colton made some calls to get the ball rolling and, long story short, Rostad came to the home to perform for residents on Dec. 6, giving a special tribute to Pat.

Almonte Country Haven connected with Rostad in the summer, but the entertainer had engagements for the next few months and was unable to make an appearance at the time. As fate would have it, a holiday-time visit was available in Rostad’s schedule, which suited Pat just fine — she’s a big fan of his Christmas album, Christmas in the Valley, which he played during his visit.

“This really made (Pat) feel special; he came to her at the beginning and said, ‘I’m here because of you,’ which made her pretty happy,” Pam tells the OMNIway.

The March 4 OMNIway story about resident Pat Taylor having her wish granted to ride in an 18-wheeler was the spark that got Pam thinking of ways to have a wish come true for her sister, who moved into Almonte Country Haven in February.

Pam cared for her sister at home before Pat moved into Almonte Country Haven. With her sister living in a long-term care home Pam says she’s limited in what she can do for her — but whenever she can make a difference, she will be there for Pat.

Pam says she’s thankful to the Almonte Country Haven’s team for their resident-centred focus.

“I have to give kudos to Marilyn and the staff at the home — they really go the extra mile for residents and families,” 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 e-mail 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.

Administrator underscores role of storytelling in strengthening health system

OMNIway stories capturing attention outside Ontario

December 13, 2013 — Deron Hamel

When a nurse in Nova Scotia was recently looking for information about the Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) initiative he did an Internet search and came across an OMNIway story about Streamway Villa’s success with the program that’s posted on the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) website.

Streamway Villa

Streamway Villa

From there, the nurse e-mailed Streamway Villa administrator Kylie Szczebonski to learn more about what the Cobourg long-term care home had accomplished through its involvement with BSO, a provincial initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation.

“And I gladly gave him everything that I had,” Szczebonski tells the OMNIway. “I sent him a lot about Central East LHIN and the whole (BSO) project, and then talked about Streamway Villa and OMNI and how OMNI is really taking off with our Supportive Measures program.”

Szczebonski says this illustrates the role OMNI Health Care and its 17 long-term care homes can play in addressing issues related to elder care in Canada.

Likewise, the administrator says the OMNIway, which is produced by Axiom News, can play a role facilitating this engagement via the success stories published on the website.

“We are in a media world. Google something you want to know and it will pop up, and that’s the way of the future,” Szczebonski says. “Because (the OMNIway) is online, the stories that are out there are going to catch on. A lot of the stories focus on our quality and that’s really what’s going to capture people’s attention — all everybody hears in health care is quality, quality, quality. That’s because quality is important.”

Szczebonski refers to the fact Canada is the only G8 nation without a national dementia strategy, an issue that’s received media attention this week due to the Dec. 11 G8 dementia conference in London. The administrator says OMNI’s homes and the OMNIway can play a part in bringing stakeholders across the country together through news stories showcasing what’s working.

Ideally, this information sharing could eventually lead to a nationwide strategy, Szczebonski says.

“We’re not copyrighting things because we want people to take what we’ve done and use it,” she says.

See the links below to read OMNI stories posted on the Central East LHIN’s website.

Documentaries deliver hope for long-term care leaders

Responsive behaviours, restraints, medication use decreasing at Streamway Villa

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.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.

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.