Reducing unneeded antipsychotic usage a shared goal: McCarthy

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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

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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.

Volunteer attests to the difference donating time makes

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Although her mother is no longer a Garden Terrace resident, Donna Getz continues to give her time

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Donna Getz began volunteering at Garden Terrace when her mother was a resident at the Ottawa-area long-term care home. When her mother passed away in 2010, she continued to donate her time to residents because of the difference she says volunteering makes.

And Getz is not alone; there’s a group of other family members of former residents who has continued to volunteer.

Initially, Getz and the other volunteers began coming to Garden Terrace on Saturdays. Together, the family members would create activities such as crafts or reading programs for residents. What all the family members noticed, she says, is how happy this made residents.

What’s more, volunteering made the family members feel good, Getz says.

“You’re making them feel good and they in turn make you feel good,” she says tells the OMNIway, adding volunteers learn a lot from the residents in the process. “It’s almost like a history lesson in some ways, but it’s something very special. Some people don’t have anyone, and it’s good to let them know that someone cares.”

Another perk to volunteering at Garden Terrace is that the home has always been supportive of volunteers, empowering them to create their own programming, Getz says.

“They’ve always been very open for us to go in to do what we wanted to do with the people,” she says.

Getz says if she was approached by someone interested in volunteering in a long-term care home, her suggestion would be to pay a visit to Garden Terrace.

“I would invite them to come and join us for an evening just to see what we do and what a difference it makes in their lives and ours,” she says.

April 6-12 is 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.

Keep reading the OMNIway for more stories about Garden Terrace volunteers as well as volunteers from across the organization.

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.

Pleasant Meadow Manor gives kudos to volunteers

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Home hosts luncheon as part of National Volunteer Week

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 — Natalie Hamilton

From sharing the joy of music to maintaining long-standing friendships, volunteers are an integral part of the fabric at Pleasant Meadow Manor.

The 61-bed Norwood long-term care home is grateful for its crew of 25 volunteers and is hosting an April 8 luncheon in honour of the men and women who give generously.

Resident Jerry Farrow, president of the home’s residents’ council, will speak at the event.
“I will welcome them and thank them for volunteering,” Farrow tells the OMNIway.

“It’s very good of them to volunteer their time.”
 
April 6-12 is National Volunteer Week. The week is set aside to “recognize, celebrate and thank Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers.”

At Pleasant Meadow Manor, residents enjoy numerous benefits from having volunteers in the home, says life enrichment co-ordinator Chris Garden. Volunteers run bible studies, help residents with Bingo, visit one-on-one and pitch in with special events ranging from outings to the home’s bazaar.

“They can be there for the residents when the staff can’t be,” Garden says, noting residents outnumber employees.

She says the home appreciates having extra hands helping with activities and people with different skill-sets present. For instance, one volunteer plays the piano for residents.

“We have other volunteers who have known the residents for a really long time. It’s a small community and this is their way of staying connected to friends who are now residents and vice versa.”

During the luncheon, resident Jack Pryne, a former official volunteer at the home who still pitches in, is being celebrated with the rest of the volunteers.

Garden is weaving a meeting into the luncheon and taking the opportunity to update the volunteer handbook that is part of the new life enrichment manual from home office.

The home will treat volunteers to lasagna, Caesar salad, garlic bread, fruit and cake.

“It’s nice to recognize them and say thank you,” Garden says. “We do appreciate them and recognize they’re doing this out of the goodness of their hearts.”
 
If you have feedback on this article or a story idea to share, please e-mail Natalie@axiomnews.ca or call the newsroom at 800-294-0051.

LEC excited about former co-op student’s return

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Vi O’Leary touched by Kathleen Furlani’s letter to Frost Manor

Monday, April 7, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When the Frost Manor team received a letter recently from former co-op placement student Kathleen Furlani, announcing her return to the Lindsay long-term care home, life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Vi O’Leary was over the moon.

In fact, O’Leary was so happy to hear the news she called the OMNIway to let us know Furlani, who she says was an outstanding co-op student, is planning to return to the home to volunteer for a couple of hours on Thursdays and every other Wednesday.

In fact, Furlani writes that Frost Manor has made an impact on her long-term career plans.

“Frost Manor has really given me a sense of my future goals in my life,” she writes in her letter to the home. “I would like to continue my journey of learning and growth throughout this volunteering experience. Every staff member was very helpful and inviting, which convinced me this is where I should stay to discover and develop more.”

Of note, Furlani says the volunteering duties she’s most excited about are accompanying residents on outings and participating in arts and crafts programs with residents and other volunteers.

O’Leary says she’s looking forward to Furlani’s return to Frost Manor, adding when Furlani was a student she took her placement very seriously and was well liked by residents and staff members.

“She was here because she wanted to be here and she was right into the job right from the get-go,” the LEC 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)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.

Journalist gives tips on how LTC homes should react to crisis

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From adverse events come opportunities to generate positive stories

Friday, April 4, 2014 — Deron Hamel

TORONTO – Opportunities often stem from a crisis and this is true for the long-term care sector, says André Picard. In fact, the Globe and Mail health reporter and columnist says long-term care homes and operators can use a crisis to promote the positive things they’re doing to bolster public confidence in the sector.

Picard was one of four panelists sharing thoughts on building public confidence in the long-term care sector as part of an April 1 session at the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA)/Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) 2014 Together We Care convention and trade show.

Generally speaking, the media will latch on to a story and keep “poking away” at it, Picard says. He cites the Jan. 23 fire at the Résidence du Havre in L’Isle-Verte, Que., which claimed more than 30 lives, as an example. The oldest area of the building was not equipped with sprinklers and the media has thrown the spotlight on the need for mandatory sprinkler systems in all long-term care and retirement homes.

In Ontario, privately owned long-term care homes are mandated to be equipped with sprinkler systems in the next five years, while public homes have until 2025. Still, many long-term care homes have installed sprinkler systems. Picard says in the wake of the L’Isle-Verte incident, long-term care providers who have sprinklers could have contacted media and invited reporters to their buildings to showcase their fire-safety systems.

“There was a great opportunity there to tell the story of (how) ‘our home has had sprinklers for 35 years and here’s why,’ ” Picard says.

Another incident that drew a lot of negative media attention was the beating death of a 72-year-old resident at a Scarborough long-term care home by another resident in March 2013.

In this case, Picard says long-term care providers could have invited reporters to their homes to explain the staff training programs they have to prevent resident aggression. Homes should also encourage reporters to talk with family members to hear about their positive experiences.

“Those are stories that people want to hear, because when (reporters) do these (negative) stories they’re depressing and you do want to tell the other side of them,” he says. “The biggest opportunity is to feed off the news.”

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.

Keep reading the OMNIway for more stories about this panel discussion.

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.

Panel emphasizes value of strong community relations in LTC

Panelists are seen here discussing the issue of public confidence in long-term care during the OLTCA/ORCA Together We Care convention and trade show.

Panelists are seen here discussing the issue of public confidence in long-term care during the OLTCA/ORCA Together We Care convention and trade show.

These healthy relationships are crucial for public confidence

Thursday, April 3, 2014 — Deron Hamel

TORONTO – A panel of media and communications experts underscored the importance of long-term-care home providers having robust relationships with news organizations, the public and residents’ families, during the Ontario Long Term Care Association/Ontario Retirement Communities Association 2014 Together We Care convention and trade show.

Speaking during an April 1 segment, the panel, which was moderated by author and journalist Steve Paikin, emphasized that having healthy relationships with these parties is especially important for long-term care homes in the wake of an adverse event.

Strong, healthy relationships with communities and local media can have a positive impact on public confidence if an adverse event happens in a long-term care home, the panel agreed.

“I would bring people in whenever you can. Have community events. It provides discipline,” said Toronto-based communications and stakeholder relations expert Robert Waite. “If you’re doing that constantly, you’re going to be paying a lot of attention to the little things from the perspective of families, relatives and even the media.”

Health-care consultant Tom Closson agreed, adding that by inviting journalists into a long-term care home to show them how it operates demonstrates transparency and provides the media with a context of understanding the issues homes, staff members and residents face.

“If you help (the media) do their job, they’ll help you do your job,” Closson said.

Globe and Mail health reporter and columnist André Picard has engaged with long-term care homes as a journalist and a family member. Picard, whose parents both lived in long-term care homes, said his experience as a family member was positive. Speaking as a journalist, Picard said by showcasing the quality care they deliver, homes can build a strong reputation and trust with communities and media.

“If you take care of every single one of your clients, you don’t have to worry about your reputation; it’s going to be solid,” he said. “And if something does go wrong, it’s not going to be a big deal, because the context will be there (and) people will know your values are good, your business is good, and it won’t be a big issue.”

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.

Keep reading the OMNIway for more stories about this panel discussion.

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.