Interim manager nourished by long-term care experience

Leading Frost Manor’s strong dietary care team is ‘awesome,’ Neil MacDonald says

Frost Manor’s interim nutritional care manager says he might very well consider staying on permanently in long-term care because he’s enjoying the experience so much.

“I really enjoy people and I really enjoy being able to do something and immediately see the results, the positive effect. And that comes through with the residents,” says Neil MacDonald, who joined the Lindsay long-term care home in mid-February.

Residents are the best diners, he says. “Every service the dining room is full, they’re always going to be there, and they like to give you feedback. And I want to know if they didn’t like something so I can do it better the next time. It’s a really nice thing to be able to do the small things and impact someone’s life in a positive way.

“That’s something I’ve really learned from this long-term care experience,” MacDonald says.

He brings to Frost Manor past cooking experience at Peterborough’s Riverview Manor, another OMNI Health Care home, and in restaurants. He remembers working in a restaurant kitchen many years ago with two OMNI managers, including nutrition and food services operation manager Chris Weber, and marvels at how they’re all with the same organization again.

“When this opportunity came up, I was very excited,” MacDonald says, adding it’s “awesome” to be leading the team in Frost Manor’s kitchen.

“It’s a great experience, with great learning as far as a career is concerned, and it’s wonderful being able to impact people’s lives by making small adjustments.”

As a Type I diabetic, MacDonald understands the important link between nutrition and health. In long-term care, many dietary requirements have to be met to maintain residents’ health.

“I feel so many issues, especially being in this role in a long-term care home, can be solved through proper nutrition and good food. And residents, as I’ve seen, like their food more when it’s enjoyable, which is very important,” MacDonald says.

He appreciates the opportunity to cook, and to cook from scratch, which he was surprised to learn happens more than one might think. “OMNI is going in a positive direction in the food and nutrition sectors, just by cooking from scratch and getting back to the basics,” MacDonald says.

He is also grateful for the support of his team, whom he says demonstrates strong camaraderie and a willingness to try new things. For instance, they tried one of MacDonald’s dessert recipes for last month’s volunteer appreciation

“What was cool about that was, they did it and it was restaurant quality,” he says, adding it was a memorable team-building and learning experience.

“They’ve been very accepting of me and my style and everything. It’s cool for both of us.”

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)

Mock baby shower engages residents with dementia

Country Terrace BSO team commended for enriching event

A recent mock baby shower at Country Terrace showcased the positive impact the Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) program is having on those living with cognitive impairment. Read more

Managers fold their way through quality exercise

Managers participate in a May 7 quality exercise during the OMNI Health Care Managers' Forum at Fern Resort in Orillia.

Managers participate in a May 7 quality exercise during the OMNI Health Care Managers’ Forum at Fern Resort in Orillia.

Processes, not people, often lead to gaps, says Ferguson-McLaren

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 — Natalie Hamilton

ORILLIA, Ont. – Folding paper was an exercise in quality improvement for long-term care employees who attended OMNI Health Care Managers’ Forum recently.

Managers were charged with making 20 paper fortune tellers during the May 7 session called Quality Matters – Group Exercises at Fern Resort. Eastern region operations director Sarah Ferguson-McLaren moderated the exercise.

In an assembly-line fashion, employees each had a role in the cutting or folding processes and a quality inspector accepted or rejected each item. Each step was timed as was the total time it took from the first fold to each finished product. Each team recorded and shared their data.

Some teams got creative throughout the production process, adding a second quality control check or cutting multiple sheets of paper at one time to improve the end results.

Garden Terrace employees told The OMNIway it was a worthwhile exercise.

Office manager Karen Paquette said she learned about the merits of “teamwork, working together and helping each other out and stepping outside of the box.”

Meanwhile, life enrichment co-ordinator Sylvia Monette said the exercise reinforced “the importance of instructions to begin with.” As the session continued, she discovered “we’re so used to helping one another (at work) that’s what we did (here).”

Nursing administrative services manager Anna Penny also thought the exercise was valuable.

“Sometimes you need a good leader,” Penny said.

“At first we were trying to get it done quickly. It reminded me you need to sometimes slow down and step back.”

Ferguson-McLaren provided a de-briefing after managers completed the tasks at hand.

“It allows us to look at defects in the process by category,” Ferguson-McLaren said about the Pareto chart/bar graph tool managers used during the exercise.

“The whole point today was number one to have fun…and get familiar with some of the tools, like the Pareto chart and the run chart, which are common (quality improvement) reporting mechanisms.

“Also, remember it’s often about our processes, not our people, and really keep that in mind when you’re seeing defects or gaps in your own systems and processes at your home.”

If you have feedback on this article or a story idea to share, please e-mail or call the newsroom at 800-294-0051.

How are you celebrating your nurses?


National Nursing Week is here

Nurses and personal support workers (PSWs) are the salt of the earth, says Country Terrace clinical care co-ordinator Kimberley Noftle. Read more

Wildwood Care Centre feels part of OMNI

West Lake Terrace administrator/CCC Neil Peterson and Wildwood Care Centre LEC Alison Hoskins take part in an exercise during OMNI's managers' forum.

West Lake Terrace administrator/CCC Neil Peterson and Wildwood Care Centre LEC Alison Hoskins take part in an exercise during OMNI’s managers’ forum.

‘They’re awesome people,’ says Alison Hoskins

Monday, May 12, 2014 — Natalie Hamilton

ORILLIA, Ont. – Wildwood Care Centre is being graciously embraced by the OMNI Health Care family.

That is the feeling experienced by three managers of the St. Marys, Ont. home who took part in the recent OMNI Health Care Managers’ Forum.

“Everyone has been so welcoming to us,” says Alison Hoskins, life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC).

“They’re awesome people.”

Hoskins, nutritional care manager (NCM) Julie Brown and environmental services manager (ESM) Ray Iredale share their thoughts about OMNI following dinner at Fern Resort where the annual retreat was held.

Wildwood Care Centre, a 60-bed long-term care home with 25 retirement and two respite beds, became part of OMNI about a year ago. Brown agrees with Hoskins about the reception they’re receiving from OMNI staff.

“They make sure you’re part of the team,” Brown says.

Hoskins notes she’s had interactions with a variety of organizations in the past and has “never met a bunch of friendlier and nicer people.”

Since becoming a part of OMNI, Iredale says there have been changes.

“A lot of good things have come out of it,” the ESM notes.

“I’d like to see more good come out of it.”

For instance, Iredale appreciates the sense of teamwork that exists within the organization. He also appreciates one of OMNI’s integral values.

“Most of the changes have been directed towards making things better for the residents,” Iredale says. “Their goal is looking after the residents and people first. Everything they’re doing is to make things better for the residents, which is awesome.”

The ESM says he’s also impressed by the wealth of resources within the OMNI organization.

“They have a lot of really good, knowledgeable people to draw from.”

As for the experience at Fern, they agree it is worthwhile. “It’s really nice here and the food’s fantastic,” the NCM adds.

Stay tuned to The OMNIway for more coverage of the Fern Resort Managers’ Forum.

If you have feedback on this article or a story idea to share, please e-mail or call the newsroom at 800-294-0051.

Dressed to the nines


Friday, May 9, 2014

Riverview Manor’s Kelley McGleish, left, and Lori Wallace arrive in style for the Viva Las Vegas theme at the 2nd Annual OMNI Awards & Recognition Night May 7 in Orillia.

Forum mixes fun and education

Managers’ gathering concludes today

Fun and celebration are mixing with valuable educational opportunities at this year’s OMNI Health Care Managers’ Forum, which began May 6 and concludes today at Fern Resort in Orillia. Read more

OMNI ‘encouraged’ by budget announcement


Province pledges to enhance LTC home renewal strategy

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy says the organization is “encouraged” by the province’s commitment in the 2014 budget to enhance the long-term-care home capital redevelopment strategy but adds only time will tell how effective the plan will be in moving the sector forward.

“It’s a complex approach that needs to be developed, so the details will certainly tell us how good the program will be,” McCarthy tells the OMNIway. “But we were encouraged to see it addressed.”

OMNI and other long-term care providers have also been advocating for a number of strategies that need to be considered to advance the sector, including establishing an office that has some ability to move projects forward, McCarthy adds.

According to the Ontario Long Term Care Association, about 44 per cent of Ontario’s long-term care homes do not meet the province’s design standards that were established in 1998. Many of these homes, which are often small and located in rural areas, are not equipped with fire sprinklers.

Redeveloped homes would help further care by better meeting residents’ increasing complex-care needs while providing an improved working environment for staff members.

“(Many of long-term care homes) were not designed with today’s resident in mind; with today’s acuity in mind, so certainly we could move (this) forward, and that would contribute to resident safety, care and comfort as well as the working environment,” McCarthy says.

McCarthy says he hopes to see the budget announcement result in the creation of a flexible program where existing infrastructure can be used in home redevelopment.

“That would be the greatest possible move forward that we could have,” 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 e-mail deron(at)

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

Quality, learning, fun times to highlight Fern Resort this year

Annual managers’ forum starts today

OMNI Health Care’s annual Fern Resort managers’ forum kicks off today, and president and CEO Patrick McCarthy says attendees can expect fun times mixed with important educational opportunities.

The OMNIway recently spoke with McCarthy to briefly discuss the event and provide insight as to what we can look forward to at this year’s gathering:

What can we expect at this year’s managers’ forum?

PM: We will have a lot of fun events. The event will be built around the Quality Awards. This year has a Las Vegas theme that will be lots of fun and we have great entertainment lined up. The forum itself has some great content as well. We have (FCS International CEO) Jayne Harvey back, who is always a favourite and who always has a great message. She will be talking about leadership and loving your job and how to make your workplace a better place to be.

Any other key highlights?

PM: There will also be some learnings around human rights human-resources issues. There will be a whole day focused on quality. We will have quality presentations and awards and we’ll be leading that with lots of exercises and groups.

Is there anything that you’re looking forward to most at the managers’ forum?

PM: I’m looking forward to the networking. It’s really important for people to have a chance to touch base with each other and meet. I also really enjoy learning about the quality initiatives that we have in place.

Anything new for this year?

PM: We will also have food writer and dietitian named Mairlyn Smith, who delivers humorous talks with a wellness theme.

The managers’ forum runs until Thursday at Fern Resort near Orillia.

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)

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

Kentwood Park honoured with community-service award

Kentwood Park residents pose for a photo with a community-service award the home recently received.

Kentwood Park residents pose for a photo with a community-service award the home recently received.

Honour comes as a surprise to the team

Monday, May 5, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When Kentwood Park life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Lisa Mills received a phone call from Community Living Prince Edward recently, inviting her and six residents to a breakfast, she thought it would be a great opportunity for an outing.

What she didn’t realize is that she and the residents at the Picton long-term care home were invited to the breakfast to receive a community-service award from Community Living Prince Edward, an organization advocating for the rights of people with developmental disabilities.

Mills, life enrichment aide Shannon McKinley and the residents accepted the invitation. They showed up for the breakfast, enjoyed their meal, and were “surprised” when they were called to the podium to accept an award, says Mills.

“We were sitting there thinking, ‘why are we here,’ and then boom, they call us up for an award,” the LEC tells the OMNIway, adding Kentwood Park was the only long-term care home to receive an honour that day.

“Receiving the award was an honour for our home and residents. Residents were very happy and surprised to receive this award.”

For several years, Kentwood Park has collaborated with Community Living. Through this collaboration, people accessing supports from Community Living Prince Edward visit the home one day each week to spend time socializing with residents, participating in activities with them and helping staff members with small jobs, like folding laundry.

Mills says this collaboration brings value to residents and the people accessing Community Living Prince Edward’s services, because they benefit from the socialization and friendships made.

Kentwood Park also invites people from Community Living Prince Edward to many of the home’s events, such as barbecues.

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)

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