‘It was a wonderful way for the residents to be able to get out,’ says life enrichment aide
Frank Trombley still misses the outings he enjoyed when one of the three 12-passenger vans provided by OMNI Health Care ended up at Burnbrae Gardens long-term care home in Campbellford where he lives.
The vans were rotated through OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes, and once every six weeks or so, Burnbrae Gardens had access to one of them for about six days.
“We used the van every single day it was here,” life enrichment aide (LEA) Karen Lloyd says. “We went everywhere. … It was wonderful to have them while we had them. Throughout the years we took many residents out in the van.”
Trombley says he loved getting out to the mall to pick out a special gift for his wife for her birthday or at Christmas. He also enjoyed a meal once in a while at a restaurant in one of the nearby cities – clam chowder with shrimp at the Red Lobster in Peterborough, for example.
“I miss outings,” Trombley adds. “We went on outings like to the fire hall; we went to the Canadian Air Museum; we went around to see the Christmas lights. My hobby used to be flying model airplanes, and when we had the van, I’d meet with a group every morning at the Tim Hortons.
“So I do miss all that stuff . … You know, if you’ve been here for seven years like I have, you sure like to get out once in a while.”
Lloyd says some residents still ask about the van and wonder when it will be at the home again.
OMNI Health Care made the decision to take the vans out of service less than a year ago largely due to new safety standards imposed through the commercial vehicle operator registry.
The new standards require all drivers to obtain a new type of licence, called a Class F licence, which could have been difficult for some staff, though Karen say she was completely prepared to work on getting it. In fact, she had studied all the material and was ready to write the required test when the news came that the vans had not passed the new safety review.
Burnbrae Gardens is now turning to the local public transportation available, including an accessible bus. It’s definitely not as cost-effective for the residents or as handy in terms of scheduling as the vans, Lloyd says. However, residents do still have the opportunity to get out, and a number will be enjoying a trip to the Quinte Mall just before Christmas.
In the meantime, Lloyd is happy to see a story shared about how much the vans were appreciated at Burnbrae Gardens.
“It’s nice to know other people will read it and see that we did enjoy the van when we had it; it was a wonderful way for the residents to be able to get out,” Lloyd says.
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