On the hunt for a fun intergenerational experience


Pleasant Meadow Manor hosts 10th annual Easter celebration

Friday, April 25, 2014 — Lisa Bailey

Residents, staff members and their families found more than sweet treats at Pleasant Meadow Manor on Easter weekend.

There was also fun and fellowship for the Norwood long-term care home’s extended family, as they enjoyed the 10th annual Easter egg hunt.

“Easter is one of those occasions that is family time,” life enrichment co-ordinator Chris Garden says.

Balancing the deep and serious meaning of Easter with something light and appealing like the egg hunt engages all generations.

“It’s nice to have something where the kids are getting involved and excited and the adults are watching them have fun,” Garden says. “It just brings everybody together as one big family because after the hunt everybody gathers in different areas of the home and has their visit.

“So even if residents can’t get out to their families’ homes for Easter dinner, they’re still part of an Easter celebration,” Garden says.

Before the hunt, held on the sunny Saturday morning of April 19, residents helped staff members place treats inside plastic eggs that were then hidden around the grounds of Pleasant Meadow Manor, also with the help of residents.

Using the plastic eggs makes it easy for residents to participate, and reusing the eggs year after year is cost-conscious and environmentally-friendly, Garden says.

She initiated the Easter egg hunt so staff and their families could engage in an activity at the home and come together with residents for an intergenerational experience.

Approximately 30 youngsters, including residents’ and staff members’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren, participated in this year’s hunt.

“The residents just love watching the kids run amok,” Garden says. “They laugh because it takes so long to hide the eggs and it only takes maybe 10 minutes for them to be all scooped up.”

Garden, who brought her son and baby grandson to the event, says it’s also a chance for residents to see staff members outside of their caregiving role, as members of a family. “We talk about our kids and grandkids with residents all the time so it’s nice for them to be able to put faces to the kids,” Garden says.

“It makes it feel like even more of an extended family.”

Also present at the Easter egg hunt was the Easter Bunny, who had his photo taken with many people.

Seeing him, along with other longstanding Easter symbols, was also particularly special for residents with cognitive challenges. Garden saw them light up, indicative perhaps of a memory or something familiar. “It’s great to see that recognition,” Garden says.

Now that it’s become a much-anticipated tradition, the Pleasant Meadow Manor Easter egg hunt is likely to continue. Garden notes it continued even when she went to Maplewood, another OMNI home, for two years.

“Staff made sure it kept going,” she says, expressing gratitude for their effort and pledging to keep it going

If you have a story to share or feedback on this article, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 25, or e-mail lisa(at)axiomnews.ca.

Dementia expert highlights impact of language on people


Dr. Sherry Dupuis sheds light on how people with dementia react to certain words

Thursday, April 24, 2014 — Deron Hamel

TORONTO – The language we use when referring to people with dementia directly impacts how the disease and those living with it are perceived. Therefore, we need to think carefully about the words we use.

This was dementia expert Dr. Sherry Dupuis’ message to caregivers attending a panel discussion on quality at the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA)/Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) 2014 Together We Care convention and trade show.

Dupuis, an Alzheimer’s disease and dementia expert at the University of Waterloo, underscored that many people living with cognitive impairment are aware of negative language surrounding their condition – and hearing such language can have a detrimental impact.

Words like disruptive, screamer, wanderer, non-compliant and aggressive cast a light on the disease and not the person affected by it, Dupuis told the audience at the April 1 session. In short, Dupuis says that when these types of words are used to describe people living with dementia, their humanity is taken away. The picture we’re left with is not of a person but of a body to be managed.

“Persons with dementia are very much aware of the implications of this approach on their lives,” Dupuis explained. “The consequences (of using negative language) are profound and harmful in many ways.”

Through her research, Dupuis has heard first-hand from people living with dementia about the frustration they have surrounding language that negatively labels people.

“As one person with dementia said, ‘(People) think I can’t do anything. Until they get used to me (and see) what I can still do, many try to take over. (Caregivers) also give me meaningless activities, like tip over all the pens and pencils on the table, mix them up, and then ask me to sort them. That made me really angry. ‘ “

So what can be done to change the perception of people living with dementia? Dupuis says it all comes down to making simple adjustments to the words people use.

For instance, “hoarding” can become “collecting.” “Wandering” can be “exploring.”  Being “disruptive” can be changed to “communicating.”

“Words, gestures and actions have meaning,” Dupuis says.

The annual OLTCA/ORCA Together We Care convention and trade show, which ran March 31 to April 2, is Canada’s largest gathering of long-term care and retirement home professionals.

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.

Visit from DOC’s baby granddaughter sparks program

Lunch with Lady Violet a favourite event

When Burnbrae Gardens director of care (DOC) Lesley Dale’s daughter Emily and baby granddaughter Violet stopped in to visit the Campbellford long-term care home recently a brand-new program was born. Read more

BSO helping Riverview keep antipsychotic administration low


Psychotropic medication usage 20% below provincial LTC home average

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 — Deron Hamel

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – When front-line staff members approach a Riverview Manor resident who has advanced dementia to provide her care needs, the resident often prefers to be left alone. So that’s just what staff members do.

They will approach the resident later, and if the women still does not want her care needs implemented, staff will again leave her. Only when the resident says it’s OK will staff members provide her care needs.

This is one example of how the Peterborough long-term care home’s number of residents on antipsychotic medications is only 12.28 per cent, well below the provincial average of 31.5 per cent.

While the resident does exhibit behaviours, this simple approach of giving her the space she needs ensures that medication doesn’t need to be administered.

Riverview Manor is involved with the province’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) initiative. BSO is a $40-million provincial initiative to enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions causing agitation.

Through funding allocated through the Central East Local Health Integration Network, Riverview Manor staff members have accessed education and training in BSO interventions. The home has a “BSO team” of staff members trained in these interventions, which include Montessori techniques and gentle persuasive approaches (GPA). The team is called in to help personal support workers when they are caring for this resident, should the need arise.

Staff members have even taken time to learn simple phrases in the resident’s native language to make her feel more at ease.

With interventions like these, the resident doesn’t exhibit behaviours, eliminating the need for psychotropic medications, explains administrator Mary Anne Greco.

“At Riverview, our philosophy of the utilization of medication, especially for any antipsychotic medications, is that it’s used very wisely and very judiciously,” she says. “We try that really as a last resort.

“We monitor (residents on antipsychotic medications) to make sure they’re not having any adverse side effects to the medication, we liaise with the family to see how they are doing and we’re always incorporating our Behavioural Supports Ontario team to assist with that so that all the staff are aware of the (best) approaches for residents so we don’t have to be looking at medication as a first line of care.”

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.

VIDEO: Antipsychotic medication: the exception, not the rule


Thursday, April 17, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Riverview Manor has firm policy surrounding the administration of antipsychotic medication to residents affected by dementia. These medications are used sparingly and only as a last resort when other non-medical interventions have not helped calm a person who is exhibiting aggressive behaviour.

In fact, only 12.28 per cent of residents are on antipsychotic medications at the Peterborough long-term care home. This is well below the provincial average of 31.5 per cent.

A recent article in the Toronto Star accuses Ontario long-term care homes of “drugging helpless seniors at an alarming rate with powerful antipsychotic drugs.” Not only is this not the case at Riverview Manor, but stories like this are detrimental to the entire long-term care sector. Riverview Manor staff members explain in this video.

Reducing unneeded antipsychotic usage a shared goal: McCarthy


Recent media coverage isn’t telling the whole story, says OMNI CEO

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 — Deron Hamel

OMNI Health Care is involved with several initiatives to reduce the administration of antipsychotic medication in its 18 long-term care homes, says president and CEO Patrick McCarthy.

Recent media coverage of antipsychotic medication administration in long-term care homes is fair, he says, but notes reporters had the opportunity to delve deeper into their subject rather than scratching its surface.

McCarthy cites a front-page story in the April 15 Toronto Star that refers to Ontario long-term care homes “drugging helpless seniors.” McCarthy says this is hyperbole, but credits the Star for spotlighting an issue that deserves attention across the health-care spectrum, in hospitals, psychiatric settings, the community and long-term care homes.

The Star article, entitled “Use of Antipsychotics Soaring at Ontario Nursing Homes,” referenced Woodland Villa as having 65 per cent of its residents on antipsychotic medications without citing the source. The number of residents prescribed these medications currently is, in fact, 42 per cent. This is still above the 2012 provincial average of 31.5 per cent, but OMNI is working to continue to reduce the number of residents on psychotropic medications at all its homes through programs such as OMNI flagship programs Quality Matters and Supportive Measures as well as the province’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) initiative.

Other OMNI long-term care homes are significantly below the provincial average for psychotropic medication administration, McCarthy notes. For example, Garden Terrace has a rate of 18.9 per cent of residents on antipsychotic medications without a corresponding diagnosis. The number is 21.3 per cent at West Lake Terrace.  Residents may be admitted on antipsychotic drugs from hospital or other settings, and time is needed to carefully assess alternative medication or non-medication interventions that maintain safety.

In fact, Riverview Manor in Peterborough is an example of an OMNI home with a quality plan to reduce PRN (pro re nata, or medications prescribed as needed) antipsychotics.

“(OMNI homes) are working to reduce the (administration) of PRNs where non-pharmaceutical interventions are effective, as well as working with physicians and psychiatric outreach teams to reduce regular administration of the prescription pharmaceuticals,” McCarthy tells the OMNIway.

“The pharmaceuticals are often low dosages, and are assessed for effectiveness and reviewed with the prescribing physicians on a regular basis.”

The article points to the issue but doesn’t mention what OMNI and other long-term care operators are doing to curb antipsychotic medication administration.

“We are taking action on a daily basis, including benchmarking against the use of antipsychotics, and developing robust plans in conjunction with the doctors who do the prescribing so that we can manage the use of antipsychotics,” McCarthy says.  Residents and families are informed and consent obtained,  and resident care plans are reviewed on a regular basis, involving residents and families.

Behavioural Supports Ontario

BSO, a $40-million provincial initiative to enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation, has been successful at several OMNI homes with embedded staffing.

In its first year of involvement with BSO in 2012, Riverview Manor saw a 35.5 per cent decline in responsive agitation, while the rate of PRN (pharmaceuticals given on an as-needed basis, which includes antipsychotics) medication administration dropped 34.4 per cent.

Likewise, Streamway Villa in Cobourg has reported a significant reduction in incidents of responsive behaviours, such as aggression, wandering, physical resistance and agitation, after team members began applying their BSO learnings.

The Star article paraphrased McCarthy saying he attributed “a nurse shortage” to contributing to “an over-reliance on drugs to handle elderly patients with dementia.”

McCarthy says he never mentioned “a nurse shortage” but rather told the Star there are more effective ways of allocating resources to address aggressive behaviours in long-term care homes.

Investing provincially in BSO staffing embedded in homes, and providing front-line staff with BSO training is one such way, he says.

“We have found that we have had positive results where we have had embedded staff from Behavioural Supports Ontario, in terms of the administration of antipsychotics and a better way for allocating funding across the system that better recognizes the issue of behaviours,” McCarthy 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 contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Hawaiian Day kicks spring into gear

Streamway Villa residents and families enjoy Hawaiian Day.

Streamway Villa residents and families enjoy Hawaiian Day.

Streamway Villa residents participate in a day-long celebration

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 — Lisa Bailey

Bursts of colour and tropical sights, sounds and flavours catapulted Streamway Villa residents, families and staff members into spring recently.

“It’s been a fun day, and I’m sure we’ll have many more,” life enrichment aide Nancy Williams says, noting that Kick In Gear for Spring – Hawaiian Day made a successful return engagement after a three-year hiatus so even more residents and their families could enjoy a taste of the tropics.

The day-long celebration March 31 came as the Cobourg long-term care home completed its accreditation process. The party also provided a welcome boost from the winter doldrums.

“It’s just been a long winter,” Williams says. “We were all ready to just kick back and have some fun.”

There were plenty of things to enjoy, from a fun and fitness program with Calypso music and the distribution of colourful leis, to a Hawaiian-themed meal of ham with pineapple. In the afternoon, a Hawaiian luau unfolded with silk fans, bamboo sticks, hula dancing, uli ulis and entertainer Isabel Tatoiu. Residents played tambourines and maracas. Some of them even put on grass skirts, straw hats and sunglasses and joined a few staff members to try dancing to island music.

“We have a great rhythm band going on here,” Williams says, referring to the beat that residents kept to the infectious music. “Our residents have rhythm, that’s for sure.”

Residents not only had a hand in the celebration itself but they also helped to prepare the home for the day. A number of them assisted Williams in decorating the dining room with all kinds of colourful items that Williams had received from friends. From hanging pineapples to palm trees, the accents put up by the residents and staff helped to set the mood for a joyful day.

The majority of Streamway Villa’s residents participated in Hawaiian Day festivities, along with a number of family and staff members. Williams hopes everyone enjoyed the chance to socialize and experience good times and good memories.

“It was great to see the residents enjoying themselves and the smiles on their faces, and the staff, too, they got into it as well,” Williams says.

“If you see one person smiling, that makes it all worthwhile.”

If you have a story to share or feedback on this article, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 25, or e-mail lisa(at)axiomnews.ca.

There’s no place like Garden Terrace for volunteer Anne Russell

‘Everyone is so compassionate there’

Anne Russell began volunteering at Garden Terrace about four years ago, when her husband Graeme was a resident at the Ottawa-area long-term care home. Although her husband passed away in spring 2011, Anne has continued to spend her spare time helping the home’s residents and staff members.

The reason Anne has chosen to remain a Garden Terrace volunteer is simple: she experienced the top-notch quality of life and care residents receive when Graeme was living there, and she continues to see the dedication staff members have to the residents and families they serve.

“I felt I wanted to give back and there was no other place I’d rather be,” Anne tells the OMNIway. “I know everybody, and everybody was so good to me and my husband, so I naturally want to give back to Garden Terrace.”

Adding to this, Anne says the atmosphere at Garden Terrace creates an outstanding volunteering experience. It’s staff members, who are supportive of volunteers, that make the greatest difference, Anne says.

“They are one of a kind, I’ll say that,” Anne says. “They treat you like you’re family. … And they have such compassion for the people.”

Through her volunteering Anne participates in several activities with residents — everything from helping people during meals to accompanying residents on outings. She adds there isn’t one aspect of her volunteering that she enjoys more than others.

“I just enjoy helping the residents because they’re super people,” she says.

Asked if there is anything people considering a volunteering opportunity at Garden Terrace should expect to find, Anne says it’s a high level of compassion.

“Everyone is so compassionate there; you just do not see that all the time in other homes,” she says. “I’ve visited people in other homes and you don’t get the same atmosphere. You walk into Garden Terrace and you have that homey atmosphere.”

April 6-12 was National Volunteer Week. The week is dedicated to recognizing Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers for their dedication to their communities. Click here for more information.

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.

Kudos to Country Terrace PSWs for resident-centred care

Christine Cruikshank and Wendy Holcombe praised for ensuring seamless move for resident

Country Terrace clinical care co-ordinator Kimberley Noftle is commending two co-workers for their resident-centred focus recently when they ensured a seamless move for a resident to another long-term care home. Read more

Ken Cleverdon: a man who made a difference


Former Streamway Villa resident, hockey coach and teacher left a lifelong impression on those who knew him

Thursday, April 10, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Ken Cleverdon’s former students and those he coached hockey continue to contact the OMNIway after a story about the former Streamway Villa resident was published nearly two years ago.

Cleverdon, who taught at Givins Shaw Jr. Public School in Toronto in the 1970s, passed away Aug. 10, 2013. He left an indelible impression on many people, including his students, those he coached hockey and staff members at Streamway Villa, where he resided in his later years.

Jim McDermott recently contacted us after a former classmate sent him a link to the June 13, 2012 article in the OMNIway about Cleverdon’s love of hockey. Cleverdon, who passed away at 86, had contracted polio as a toddler, which left him with a weak leg. He never let his condition dictate his life, and played hockey throughout his youth and adult years.

He even coached students at Givins Shaw Jr. Public School, including McDermott.

In an e-mail to the OMNIway, McDermott notes how Cleverdon was an excellent role model for students.

“Ken did love the game and knew it inside and out; he could skate like the wind,” McDermott writes. “He rarely ever spoke about his condition; he chose to lead by example instead.”

Another former student of Cleverdon’s, Michael Matys, who now lives in Alberta, contacted the OMNIway in July 2012, a month after Cleverdon’s story first appeared.

Matys even posted his thoughts about Cleverdon on OMNI Health Care’s Facebook page. When contacted by the OMNIway, Matys invited us to share his comments with our readership.

“I made a phone call today,” he writes. “I spoke to my shop teacher from Grade 7 and 8 (1975-1978) back in Ontario. … He was glad to hear from one of his former students, and frankly, it was good to talk with him as well.”

Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Verleysen says she has had others contacting the Cobourg long-term care home since that article was published. She adds that Cleverdon’s popularity extended to staff members and residents at the home.

Shortly after Cleverdon spoke with the OMNIway, Verleysen said the interview and story had a positive impact on the resident.

“I have never seen such a big smile on his face,” she said at the time.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, 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, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.