Students and residents collaborate on Remembrance Day

The Willows hosts an innovative multisensory program honouring veterans

November 15, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Residents at Willows Estate collaborated with a group of York University nursing students Nov. 8 in an innovative, multisensory

York University students pose with a wreath made by Willows Estate residents for Remembrance Day.

York University students pose with a wreath made by Willows Estate residents for Remembrance Day.

program that honoured those who have served in the Armed Forces.

Residents were provided with visual and auditory PowerPoint presentations incorporating photos; John McCrae’s famous poem, In Flanders Fields; and a sounding of trumpets.

Afterwards, the students encouraged residents to share their memories of people who served in the military. As part of a question-and-answer session, residents explained to the group what Remembrance day means to them and why it’s an important part of our culture.

Residents also spoke about their family members who had served.

“They were talking a lot about their own parents and what they went through — a lot of the residents said that, in their homes, war was not to be spoken of,” Jacqueline Sands,one of the students, tells the OMNIway.

Aside from the program’s obvious cognitive benefits, the activity also focused on residents’ motor skills. The students guided residents as they made impressive memorial wreaths that were displayed in the Aurora long-term care home.

Sands says she and the other students were most impressed by the residents’ teamwork that day.

“What we were really fascinated to find was the high degree of respect for one another that was in the room — if one resident was having difficulties, another resident would step up to help,” Sands says. “That was very nice to see.”

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

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Study claims singing show tunes may stave off dementia symptoms

“Popular songs help enhance cognition, quality of life for people with dementia, research shows”

November 14, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Musical activities are always popular in long-term care homes, and new research is suggesting that singing — particularly show tunes — can stave off the impact of dementia.

“The message is: don't give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

“The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

The results of the study conducted by U.S. researchers indicates that residents who are encouraged to sing show tunes, such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow and When You Wish Upon a Star, demonstrate improved cognition and enhanced quality of life.

During a four-month period, the scientists studied nine people affected by dementia who regularly sing show tunes at their eastern U.S. long-term care home. The residents are involved with a choir designed by the researchers. The residents were led in a 50-minute chorus of a variety of show tunes three times per week. This is why this is common practice in many care homes similar to Home Care Heroes.

The original choir consisted of 18 residents. The nine residents who did not participate in singing during the course of the study observed those who did. Results between the two groups of residents were compared.

The study indicates that singing show tunes is particularly beneficial to residents with moderate to severe dementia.

Scans on residents involved with the study showed enhanced activity in various regions of the brain; a factor scientists believe is the result of singing songs from The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Oklahoma and Pinocchio.

Neuroscientist Dr. Jane Flinn of George Mason University in Virginia is one of the researchers involved with the study. Based on the study’s results, Flinn recommends long-term care homes consider encouraging residents with cognitive impairment to sing show tunes.

“Even when people are in the fairly advanced stages of dementia, when it is so advanced they are in a secure ward, singing sessions were still helpful,” Flinn told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

“The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

Click here for more information on the study.

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

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

Work placement steers students towards LTC

Willows Estate’s environment of respect helped one student decide on her career

November 18, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Three York University nursing students says their work placement at Willows Estate has been a guiding light in helping them choose a career when they graduate.

The students are currently doing their work placement at the Aurora long-term care home.

“All three of us can say that after doing this placement, yes, we are (looking into careers in long-term care),” one of the students, Jacqueline Sands, tells the OMNIway.

“From the moment we walked in, we have been embraced and respected, and the staff members have educated us on what the environment is like. We’ve just learned so much here.”

Sands says what cemented her decision to pursue a career in the sector is the environment she has found at Willows Estate.

“It’s the environment here and the respect between all the members of staff and the care that they show the residents — this is the biggest thing for me,” she says.

“If my parents were ever looking for (a long-term care home), this is the place I would consider.”

Another benefit to working in a long-term care home, she notes, is the skill set nursing professionals can develop.

This was evident to her and the other students on their first day. Being involved with developing resident activities, for example, is one aspect of working in a long-term care home that appeals to her, Sands says, adding that the Willows Estate team has empowered the students to take ownership of many of the things they are doing at the home.

“When we got here, we didn’t know what we would be doing, and the chance to help plan activities and educate has been awesome to be a part of,” she says.

“If you have an idea to make this place even better than it already is, (the staff members) encourage you.”

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

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

Pleasant Meadow flu-vaccination campaign rolling along

Most residents, staff members receive immunization

November 13, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Almost all of the 61 residents and about 80 per cent of staff members at Pleasant Meadow Manor have received the flu shot this year as

Getting the vaccination is especially important for residents 65 and older

Getting the vaccination is especially important for residents 65 and older. Creative Commons photo.

part of OMNI Health Care’s corporate-wide vaccination campaign.

Pleasant Meadow Manor registered nurse Shelley Vandenberg says all the residents who have consented to the vaccination have received the flu shot and the campaign is ongoing at the Norwood long-term care home.

Each year at this time OMNI Health Care’s 17 long-term care homes embark on the vaccination campaign as part of the effort to keep homes free of the flu. The program is important to any home’s infection prevention and control program and helps keep outbreaks ay bay, says Vandenberg.

“It’s not going to always stop people from getting sick, but (the vaccination) is going to make it less severe,” Vandenberg says.

Vandenberg says flu vaccinations are especially important for seniors living in long-term care homes.

“As with any medication there are pros and cons, but (with the flu vaccination) the pros far outweigh the cons as far as I’m concerned, especially for people who are vulnerable already,” the RN says.

The Health Canada website underscores the importance of influenza vaccinations and infection prevention.

“The most effective way to protect yourself from the flu is to be vaccinated each year in the fall,” the site says. “Regular hand-washing is another way to help minimize your risk. By washing your hands often, you will reduce your chance of becoming infected.”

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

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

Garden Terrace caregivers star in information video

YouTube video explores caregivers’ work

November 11, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Two Garden Terrace front-line staff members have helped create a YouTube video providing insight into experiences if working with people who have a cognitive impairment.

Personal support workers (PSWs) Ashley Astle and Dieune Simplice worked as actors in Caregivers, a video made by Interplay Creative Media on behalf of You and Me for Memories, an Ottawa-area grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research.

The video was screened during You and Me for Memories fifth annual An Evening to Remember gala Oct. 26. The gala raises money to further the research of Dr. Richard Bergeron, a neuroscience specialist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Astle provided English dialogue, while Simplice spoke French in the video. Actors Kent Goranson and Penelope Goranson portrayed long-term care residents affected by dementia.

The six-minute video delves into what front-line caregivers do in their work with residents who are living with a cognitive impairment; issues such as feeding and bathing are explored, and Astle and Simplice demonstrate how to hold a conversation with people affected by dementia.

“I take each day as it comes and I don’t have any plans when I’m working on an Alzheimer’s unit because when you come into work things tend to change,” Astle says.

In the video, Astle explains why she chose her career path and what her work means to her.

“When I go home at the end of the day I feel good about myself and I know that I’m in this because I’m passionate, caring and I understand how (dementia) affects (residents) every day,” she says

Click here to watch the video.

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

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

Village Green hosts community bazaar

‘It was one of our best ever,’ LEC says

November 12, 2013 — Natalie Hamilton

Hand-knit sweaters, jewelry, baked goods and unique crafts were among the items that helped draw a large crowd through the doors of Village Green recently.

The 66-bed OMNI long-term care home in the hamlet of Selby, Ont. hosted its annual Christmas craft and bake sale on the weekend.

With 23 tables spread out through two rooms and a steady flow of traffic, the event was a great success for a number of reasons, says Karen Coulter, life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC).

“It was one of our best (bazaars) ever,” Coulter tells The OMNIway.

“We had to open another room.” Coulter says the parking lot was packed and shoppers meandered through the bazaar, which featured 20 community vendors, a table of goods baked by family and staff, a residents’ table and a refreshments table.

Vendors donated raffle items and people purchased tickets, which will be drawn during the residents’ Christmas party Dec. 17. Profits from the bazaar and the raffle tickets support the residents’ council fund.

Having community members visit the home was another key factor in the success of the event, Coulter notes.

“The biggest thing is the togetherness,” the LEC says.

“It’s such a wonderful community event. The atmosphere was very magical.”

Village Green administrator Linda Pierce provided tours of the home for those who requested to see more.

Residents were delighted to host so many guests. “The residents enjoyed it so much,” Coulter says, noting, “we have some ladies who like to shop.”

Coulter organized the bazaar with the help of several volunteers — people who “go out of their way” to help Village Green. Family members and volunteers helped put up posters, ensured a creative advertisement was published in the local paper and assisted with the set up and dismantling of the event.

“It was a team effort.”

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

West Lake residents’ faces ‘lit up the dining room’

Picton home takes part in Halloween

November 8, 2013 — Natalie Hamilton

Janie Butler teared up when she saw how excited residents were to see children in costumes.

Janie Butler teared up when she saw how excited residents were to see children in costumes.

Janie Butler teared up when she saw how excited residents were to see children in costumes.

West Lake Terrace was her first stop when she took her daughter trick-or-treating Oct. 31. Butler, acting life enrichment co-ordinator, and two other staff members with their children stopped by the Picton home on Halloween.

“The residents’ (faces) lit up the dining room,” Janie says.

“They were so happy to see the kids. It brought a tear to my eye because they were so overwhelmed by their little faces.”

Butler was also involved earlier in the day arranging Halloween activities for residents.

“I think it’s important to celebrate Halloween because it’s a past tradition they would have celebrated with their own children,” Butler says.

“It’s important to keep them involved in such activities, celebrating holidays of all kinds.”
For Halloween, staff dressed up in costumes and residents who wished wore disguises too.

West Lake provided a buffet of treats, including, peanut butter coffin-shaped sandwiches, pumpkin Rice Krispie squares, cupcakes, fresh fruit and yogurt dip and hot apple cider.

Resident Georgie Macey, dressed as a purple witch, won the best residents’ costume honour.
Staff member Wanda Sensenstein won for being dressed as a Day of the
Dead girl.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23.

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

Rosebridge Manor nearing 100% flu vaccination rate for residents, staff

The organization is offering its homes draws for $25 Loblaws gift certificates. Every staff member who gets the flu shot will have their name placed in the draw.

November 7, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Since launching its flu-shot campaign Oct. 25, the Rosebridge Manor team has administered the vaccination to nearly all of the Jasper long-term care home’s staff members and 78 residents.

A flu shot could prevent the subsequent treatment and complications. Creative Commons RGB Stock

A flu shot could prevent the subsequent treatment and complications. Creative Commons RGB Stock

Director of care Connie-Gail Crowder says a significant number of staff members have also received the vaccine. In fact, Rosebridge Manor has hosted in-house clinics, complete with cookies and juice offered to those who get vaccinated, to increase the number. At the time of this writing, about 92 per cent of staff members have had the shot.

OMNI Health Care is also encouraging staff members to get vaccinated. The organization is offering its homes draws for $25 gift Loblaws certificates. Every staff member who gets the flu shot will have their name placed in the draw.

Rosebridge Manor is also hoping to win a contest organized by the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, which is encouraging health-care providers in its catchment area by giving a Keurig coffee machine to the long-term care home, hospital or community health centre with the highest percentage of vaccinated staff members.

Education has also played an important part in achieving high numbers of resident and staff vaccinations, Crowder says. This has primarily been done by setting up information posters the health unit has provided.

Added benefit to flu shot

There may be an added benefit to the flu vaccination for those affected by heart disease, which is common amongst long-term care residents.

In a study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers discovered that the flu shot in people who have recently had a heart attack reduces risk of a serious cardiac event by 55 per cent after being vaccinated.

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.

RPN underscores importance of flu shot

Country Terrace sees 90% vaccination rate

November 5, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

While getting the flu shot is an option for long-term care home residents, there are many benefits to getting vaccinated this time of year, says Country Terrace registered practical nurse (RPN) and infection control lead Brenna Slota.

For starters, the vaccination reduces the chance of a person contracting the flu, which in turn reduces the odds of an outbreak in a long-term care home. The vaccine is also proven to boost the human immune system, says Slota.

Getting the vaccination is especially important for residents 65 and older

Getting the vaccination is especially important for residents 65 and older. Creative Commons photo.

Even if you get the flu after having the vaccination, the symptoms will not be as severe because the body has developed a defence from the antibodies in the vaccine, she notes.

This also reduces the risk of pneumonia and hospitalization, the RPN adds.

Once again, OMNI Health Care and its long-term care homes are encouraging residents and staff members to get vaccinated this flu season. As the vaccination campaign is coming to an end at Country Terrace, the Komoka long-term care has had a 90 per cent vaccination success rate, Slota says, adding there are some people — both residents and staff members — who had the flu shot for the first time.

Slota takes time to engage residents and family members about the importance of flu vaccination in keeping people safe at the home. There is also an infection-control awareness week at the home every October and Slota uses this time to educate staff members about the flu shot.

Getting the vaccination is especially important for residents 65 and older, she adds.

There may be an added benefit to the flu vaccination for those affected by heart disease, which is common amongst long-term care residents.

In a study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers discovered that the flu shot in people who have recently had a heart attack reduces risk of a serious cardiac event by 55 per cent after being vaccinated.

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.

How could the right-to-die issue impact long-term care?

Rona Ambrose and Provinces seeking solutions. Photo courtesy of RonaAmbrose.com.

Rona Ambrose and Provinces seeking solutions. Photo courtesy of RonaAmbrose.com.

Government interest could spark possibility of future change in laws

October 8, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

There’s been much talk recently among provincial health ministers about people’s right to die with dignity. While this conversation isn’t new, it has been getting a lot more attention, due to Canada’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose sitting down last week with her provincial counterparts to discuss the issue.

While Ambrose reaffirmed that the government has no plans to change the Criminal Code to accommodate assisted suicide for people who are terminally ill, it cannot be ignored that the federal government’s willingness to hear input about the matter is signalling the possibility that the tide could one day turn.

Increased discussion within government was triggered by a law proposed in Quebec’s National Assembly that would allow doctors to help terminally-ill patients, under specific circumstances, end their lives if they chose.

But how could this impact the long-term care sector?

Clearly, there’s a balance to be struck. Promoting quality of life is a cornerstone of long-term care providers’ values and culture. Moreover, long-term care homes are committed to upholding people’s dignity. But what about the dignity of a person who is terminally ill, and how can dignity be upheld if a person is not allowed to die the way they choose?

There’s no simple, one-size-fits-all answer here. But the right-to-die question is something the sector needs to ponder, since any given long-term care home has many people living with terminal illnesses, from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease to neurological illnesses.

Something else to consider is the fact that long-term care homes are today seeing an increased number of residents with serious complex-care issues uncommon to long-term care in years past — homes are now admitting residents with terminal illnesses such as Huntington’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (commonly called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

These are illnesses that have considerable impact on a person’s dignity and quality of life. In countries that allow physician-assisted death under certain circumstances, such as Switzerland, the patients often have these illnesses.

Naturally, the right-to-die issue raises controversy; after all, doctors are legally and morally tasked with prolonging people’s lives, not helping end lives. The question to be asked is this: is the current system helping or hindering patients if prolonging a terminally-ill person’s life against their will is decreasing their life quality? As caregivers in long-term care homes, how could allowing physicians to assist people in the dying process affect you?

If you would like to comment on this issue, please e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca, or call 800-294-0051, ext. 23.

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