OMNI adopting training management system to enhance educational compliance


System provides easy access to training tools

OMNI Health Care is introducing an online learning management system to track and record all training programs undertaken by staff members at its 18 long-term care homes in an effort to provide enhanced educational compliance and transparency throughout the organization.

In addition to these benefits, the system, which was developed by Surge Learning Inc., will provide a one-stop shop for family educational tools, information about educational events and even company surveys.

OMNI selected Surge Learning after examining several systems in a process that was started at OMNI a few months ago and implementation of this system was started in June and will carry on through the summer.

The system provides easy-to-access educational tools for staff members to continuously upgrade their skills and knowledge. The education offered includes courses mandated by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as well as those provided by OMNI and Surge Learning.

A major goal of implementing the system is to standardize education across the homes and work towards achieving 100 per cent staff education compliance.

As an accountability measure, the system records every training program completed and worked on by staff members. This is an important function, given increased scrutiny homes face from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, says Shawn Hoyland, Surge Learning’s director of sales and marketing.

All of OMNI’s policies and procedures will also be made available through the new system, eliminating the need to flip through cumbersome binders and file folders.

“The ministry can come in to a home and want to see how many staff members have completed resident abuse education, as an example, and the home can quickly pull a report and hopefully show that they have 100 per cent compliance,” Hoyland says.

In addition to current staff members, the system will contain information on past staff members who have completed training programs.

“(This program) makes training much more accessible to staff members, rather than having to bring everybody in at different times, which is also expensive,” Hoyland explains. “The goal is to track all of the education in one place to make it as simple as possible to get that overview of where (the organization) is at.”

Surge Learning has worked with other long-term care providers to implement the system, and Hoyland says he has seen some favourable results.

“(Providers) with more than 1,000 employees have had 100 per cent compliance with their educational programs — that’s pretty hard to do without a system like ours,” he says.

Frost Manor the recipient of a random act of kindness

Volunteer group stops by home to spruce up garden area

The area surrounding Frost Manor’s garden is looking better than ever, thanks to a local volunteer group’s hard work on June 7.

LOL: Love on Lindsay is a community beautification initiative in Lindsay that involves volunteers taking time to perform painting, gardening and landscaping chores around town. Read more

Rosebridge recognizes ‘caring soul’ and committed manager

Home awards Everyday Hero, Inspired Leader to staff

ORILLIA, Ont. – While both Rosebridge Manor’s Everyday Hero and Inspired Leader recipients possess gentle demeanours, they have a mighty impact on the Jasper long-term care home, managers learned. Read more

Riverview salutes Inspired Leader, Everyday Hero

Pair honoured committed to professional growth: Greco

ORILLIA, Ont. – Becky Dennie has a thirst for knowledge. The long-standing Riverview Manor employee, who has developed and grown significantly in her career at the Peterborough long-term care home, recently earned Riverview Manor’s Inspired Leader award.

OMNI honoured staff members from its 18 long-term care homes May 7 during the second annual Awards and Recognition Night at Fern Resort.

Read more

Baycrest develops new online memory test

Results can be used as conversation starters with physicians

Friday, June 20, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto have developed a free online brain test designed to help people aged 50 to 79 decide if they need to speak with a doctor about memory changes.

The 20-minute test mimics a game and tests memory and attention, two cognitive functions that are affected by aging and conditions causing cognitive impairment.

At the end of the test, people receive a score to determine cognitive health. While results from the test should not be perceived as a diagnosis, they can be used to start discussions with doctors about cognitive health.

About two to three per cent of people score below average for their age and education. These individuals are asked to retest themselves in a week. People who still score below average are provided with a report they can bring to their doctor about their cognitive health.

Dr. Angela Troyer is one of the researchers that developed the test. Troyer, director of neuropsychology and cognitive health at Baycrest, explains the goals behind the project.

“Our aim with the brain health test is to reassure the worried-well and nudge that small percentage of people who do have serious memory issues to discuss their concerns with a doctor,” she says in a statement.

She adds that the test results are not a diagnosis, but rather a starting point for conversations with physicians about necessary next steps and options.

“Getting checked early is the best way to rule out other health problems that could be causing your cognitive issues,” Troyer says.

“If it turns out that you do have a significant problem with your memory, then early diagnosis along with science-based education and interventions will help you maintain your cognitive health and independence for as long as possible, and enable you and your family to plan for the care and support you’ll need in future.”

The test was designed by clinical neuropsychologists and cognition experts at Baycrest and its Rotman Research Institute. Three hundred men and women aged 50 to 79 were studied. The test was co-developed by Cogniciti Inc., a brain-health solutions company owned by Baycrest.

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)

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

Frost Manor’s new aquarium seeing ‘highly positive responses’

Family member donates fish tank to home

When the daughter of a Frost Manor resident saw colourful fish swimming in an aquarium at Victoria Manor, another Lindsay long-term care home, she was inspired.

At the time, Michele Bouchier was looking for a home for her mother, Marilyn. After Marilyn moved into Frost Manor last September, Bouchier became active in the home’s family council. It was at a family council meeting attended by two representatives from Victoria Manor’s council who attested to residents’ “highly positive responses” to the fish tank at that home, that she was convinced Frost Manor should get an aquarium.

So Bouchier put the idea into action and donated a fish tank to the home recently. She is even paying the monthly fee for Kawartha Aquariums in Peterborough to visit the home to maintain the tank.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Vi O’Leary says residents are already enjoying looking at the five baby cichlids in the tank and there are more to come.

“The response from residents is very noticeable already; people who normally don’t participate in activities are sitting there looking at the tank,” she says. “This is a big bonus for us, all the way around.”

Bouchier says this is the response she saw from Victoria Manor residents. She also learned that Frost Manor had contemplated getting an aquarium in the past, but was never able to because of the cost associated with buying and maintaining a fish tank. Bouchier didn’t want to see cost become an issue, so she offered to buy and donate the aquarium.

In fact, Bouchier is so convinced of the recreational value of the 74-gallon tank she’s even setting up her will so there will always be money sent to the home to maintain it.

“(Frost Manor) was worried it would be too much money, but I (wanted to) because it would be something that everyone at the home could use,” Bouchier 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)

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

Kentwood Park dietary aide reaches out to residents

Everyday Hero ‘brings a smile to their faces’

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 — Natalie Hamilton

ORILLIA, Ont. – It isn’t uncommon to see dietary aide Lily Turner step out of the kitchen to sit with residents in their rooms.

Going above and beyond to support people who have dementia is one of the reasons Kentwood Park has chosen Turner as its Everyday Hero.

The 45-bed Picton long-term care home recognized the dietary aide May 7 for her contributions to Kentwood Park during OMNI Health Care’s second annual Awards and Recognition Night at Fern Resort.
“She’s an excellent employee,” said Kentwood Park administrator Tina Cole.

“She seeks out residents with dementia. She’s very subtle and quiet about it. You see her sneaking off into their rooms and hanging out in there with them. She just brings a smile to their faces.”

Hands-on caregivers were primarily those in the spotlight during the awards ceremony.

“I celebrate with each and every (person) who is being recognized tonight, and I feel confident I can speak for all of the managers at OMNI and say how fortunate we are to be surrounded by colleagues of such high calibre within our long-term care industry,” said Country Terrace clinical care co-ordinator Kim Noftle.

“Congratulations to each and every winner tonight.”

Forest Hill life enrichment co-ordinator Craig Forrest emceed the affair.

“It’s fantastic to see front-line workers receiving awards,” Forrest noted.

The evening featured a Viva Las Vegas theme. Staff got into the spirit by dressing up in an array of colourful and creative costumes varying from playing cards to pink flamingos.

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

Something fishy about Streamway Villa outing

Trip to famed Toronto aquarium scores high

A group of more than 20 people from Streamway Villa recently went to a famed aquarium in downtown Toronto, and it was an experience life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Christina Verleysen says made a huge impact on residents.

Every year residents and staff members from the Cobourg long-term care home go on one major outing. Last year a group went to a Toronto Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre. This year, 18 residents and some staff members jumped on a rented bus and went to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the largest indoor aquarium in the country.

Residents are still talking about the experience, Verleysen says, adding that although staff members took lots of pictures that day, the photos “don’t do the trip justice.”

“The looks on the residents’ faces were priceless,” the LEC says.

The aquarium features several galleries, each focusing on different sea creatures including sharks, jelly fish and even an interactive tank where people can feel and touch fish.

“There’s a lot of sensory stimulation,” Verleysen says.

She adds that the trip was the perfect forum to help residents reminisce. One resident, for instance, talked about how he used to go on cruise ships with his wife and how he used to travel and see different types of aquatic life.

“(The resident) reminiscing like that actually brought tears to my eyes,” Verleysen says. “And I have never had so many thank-yous as I did on the bus ride home. This was one of my favourite outings ever.”

Verleysen says she hopes to plan another outing to the aquarium in the future with one change.

“I would like to take even more residents to experience (the aquarium),” she 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)

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

Country Terrace RPN ‘leads by example’

Komoka home recognizes Inspired Leader Gladys Bannerman

ORILLIA, Ont. – Gladys Bannerman has a smile that illuminates a room. It’s one of several of the registered practical nurse’s (RPN) assets that contributed to her recently being named Country Terrace’s Inspired Leader. Read more

This pie is no lemon

Garth Derry’s ‘exaggerated lemon meringue pie’ an example of top-quality baking

Before working in Streamway Villa’s kitchen, nutritional care manager Garth Derry owned a bakery for 12 years. His pie-making skills are well established, and it’s a strength he’s brought to the Cobourg long-term care home.

This week’s featured recipe is Derry’s “exaggerated lemon meringue pie,” which has been a fan favourite at Streamway Villa, and it’s a dessert for which he gets many compliments.

What’s so special about this lemon meringue pie? For starters, it’s made from scratch with fresh ingredients, so it doesn’t have that frozen-pie taste, he says. Secondly, it’s huge, which is why it’s called “exaggerated” lemon meringue pie, Derry points out.

With its pleasing colours and mountainous meringue topping, Derry’s lemon pie gets a lot of requests around Streamway Villa; it’s why Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food services, asked the OMNIway to do a story featuring this yummy dessert.

On a recent episode of TV’s Top Chef Canada, judge Mark McEwan’s words to two contestants on the cooking reality show were that their dish resembled “nursing-home” food. McEwan’s comments were based on the stigma that food served in long-term care homes isn’t appetizing.

Weber saw the episode and wants to put an end to the preconceived notion that “nursing-home food” is in some way below par in taste and presentation. He wants to show the world just what “nursing-home food” really is and how chefs and cooks working in the long-term care sector can produce top-quality dishes as good as anyone.

Using the hashtag #NursingHomeFood on social-media networks Twitter and Facebook, Weber and The OMNIway are collaborating in the coming weeks to showcase some of the top-notch food prepared at OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes.

Derry, who has also worked in high-end restaurants, says his lemon meringue pie is one example of the top-quality food served in long-term care homes today. It’s food like this that’s part of the change in long-term care homes seen over the years, he adds.

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)

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