Happy holidays!

We would like to wish all of our readers a happy and healthy holiday season. We will resume publishing The OMNIway on Monday, Jan. 4.

Resident photo project ‘really brightened everyone’s mood’ at Streamway

A project at Streamway Villa that began with team members decorating the Cobourg long-term care home for the holiday season and culminated with staff taking special Christmas photos of residents proved to be just what everyone needed to cap off an otherwise trying year.

Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht says team members used donations from family members to start decorating the inside and outside of the home several weeks ago.

When the decorating was finished, they took residents’ photos in front of a Christmas tree and sent the pictures and a card to family members for a surprise.

Given that 2020 has been a challenging year due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Christmas photos and the holiday decorating lifted everyone’s spirit, Laurie says, adding residents were happy with the results.

“It really brightened everyone’s mood; it was something that we needed,” she tells The OMNIway.

Several photos were taken of every resident or resident couple over a three-day period, and families received two photos each.

“We didn’t tell the family members, so when they got their cards they (were surprised),” Laurie says.

When Streamway Villa team members read a Dec. 9 OMNIway article about the Country Terrace team taking residents’ photos and sending them to their families, Laurie says she was inspired to share Streamway Villa’s Christmas story.

Decorating the home and taking residents’ Christmas photos was a great way to finish off the year, Laurie says.

“Everyone was on board; this really lifted everyone’s spirits.”

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Life enrichment teams’ creativity keeping spirits high

Keeping spirits high for long-term-care home residents during such challenging times is important to maintaining quality of life, and life enrichment team members in OMNI Health Care homes have been proving they have what it takes to develop meaningful, creative programming.

Willows Estate recently started its baking program again, much to the delight of residents who enjoy making pies and other sweets. Recently, residents at the Aurora long-term care home got to bake apple pies that were served at a tea social.

Aside from the residents’ work resulting in delicious apple pies for everyone to enjoy, baking also brought back many fond memories for the residents, says life enrichment aide (LEA) Azaria Kanda.

“It is such a delight to watch these ladies fully immersed in this activity, for we know how much this has a positive effect on people,” he says.

“You can feel the exhilaration and pure joy as one is in charge of peeling the apples, while one is working on the dough and the other is helping set up the trays in preparation for the baking.”

At Kentwood Park in Picton, LEA Brandy Courtney recently created a safe, autumn-themed craft program for residents to participate in during the pandemic and to celebrate the changing of seasons.

Residents were provided with a paper template drawing of a tree with leafless branches. The goal of the activity was for residents to paint fall leaf colours – yellow, orange, red and brown – on the trees.

A small group of residents was provided with paint and a special tool to dab colours on the trees: broccoli.

Dabbing pieces of the vegetable into the paint to stamp on the tree branches created a realistic pattern of vibrant autumn colours, Brandy says.

“Making these colourful fall trees with the residents and using a healthy snack to do it, well, you can’t get any better than that,” Brandy says.

At Frost Manor in Lindsay, LEA Sarah Thayer recently revamped a painting program that was first led by LEA Kim Williams – who is now life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) at Pleasant Meadow Manor – and was popular with residents.

The program starts with Sarah creating a drawing that serves as a model, and the residents create their own painting based on that drawing.

The first time Sarah led the program for residents she painted a birch tree. For October, the model will be a silhouette of a cat sitting on a tree branch. November will feature a Remembrance Day poppy.

“The great thing is we can do this socially distanced, which works out really well,” says Frost Manor LEC Lyndsay Burton, adding the program has been “going over really well.”

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Country Terrace nutritional care team recognized by CSNM for Mother’s Day lunch

Photos and a description of the meal have been posted on the CSNM website

Country Terrace nutritional care team members have been recognized by the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management (CSNM) for the meal and tray service they provided residents on Mother’s Day.

The CSNM is a national organization aimed at moving nutritional-care management forward. Members, who largely represent the greater health-care sector, are provided with educational and networking opportunities to advance professional development.

The organization launched an initiative this year called Share the Passion to encourage members nationwide to submit something special they have done for residents, patients or customers during the pandemic.

Country Terrace submitted photos and an explanation of the Mother’s Day lunch tray the nutritional care team prepared. The CSNM selected the Country Terrace submission to be featured on a banner on the organization’s website.

The CSNM website states the initiative is aimed at encouraging nutritional care teams to share their work in an effort “to educate, inform and inspire positive change” and “to help increase the professional bond and showcase the outstanding work of our members.”

Knowing how important Mother’s Day is at Country Terrace, the nutritional care team prepared a special lunch that was served to each of the home’s 120 residents on May 10.

In addition to the barbecued pork ribs, parsnips, cornbread muffins, cream of celery soup and dulce de leche cheesecake that was served to all residents, the 55 mothers living at Country Terrace each had a small floral arrangement and Mother’s Day note on their tray.

Country Terrace nutritional care manager Alex Achillini says he and his colleagues are honoured to be recognized by the CSNM for their work.

“It is very nice for the staff to be recognized by such an institution, especially during this time where everyone works hard to keep up with the changes and (to make) the residents’ lives better with small gestures, such as the flowers for Mother’s Day on the food tray,” he says.

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2020 hasn’t been easy, but we’ve learned a lot

There’s no softer way to say it, 2020 has been a challenging year.

For the first time in a century, the world has been dealing with a large-scale pandemic that has changed the way we live, work and spend our free time.

For those working in the greater health-care sector, 2020 has been especially challenging. Front-line workers have had to adapt like no one else in the workforce to keep the coronavirus in check.

Work life and family life have been greatly impacted for health-care workers, who have had to adapt to the changing circumstances the COVID-19 pandemic has brought.

We have seen this first-hand at OMNI Health Care’s 18 long-term care homes, and we are grateful for the sacrifices team members have made – both personal and professional.

But for all the challenges and anxieties this year has brought, there has also been a lot we have learned as a collective team.

When the pandemic was declared in March, we learned how much local communities value our long-term care homes when kind letters, cards and complimentary meals began showing up for our teams.

Being physically distanced from those we care about is never easy, but we learned how supportive and understanding family members were when they could not visit their loved ones due to safety restrictions in place at long-term care homes for the first three months of the pandemic.

Providing residents in our long-term care homes with a high quality of life is the most important part of our work. Throughout 2020, we learned how creative and innovative our team members are – even under the most challenging of circumstances – when it came to providing residents meaningful programs, meals they enjoy and the care they expect.

And despite the staffing shortages affecting the Ontario long-term care sector at large, we learned how well we come together when our residents need us most.

We are still living through the pandemic, and there will be more challenges ahead. The good news is we are on the right path. We have proven that time and time again throughout 2020.

Willows team keeping holiday spirits high for residents

From organizing FaceTime calls to taking Christmas photos, the team has been working hard to enhance quality of life for everyone

With Christmas right around the corner, the life enrichment team at Willows Estate has been busy getting residents into the holiday spirit and helping them make the most of the festive season.

Azaria Kanda, a life enrichment aide at the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home, says team members have been busy decorating and setting up a Christmas tree, and residents have received lots of candy canes, popcorn, chocolates and other delicacies “to celebrate the joys of the holidays.”

“Things have been quite busy here at the Willows,” he tells The OMNIway. “In preparation for Christmas and new years, all month long we are keeping up with celebratory spirits all around the home.”

Additionally, Azaria says the team has been busy scheduling FaceTime calls between residents and their loved ones throughout December to keep spirits high and promote safety during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

The Willows team also organized a photoshoot by the Christmas tree for residents to have their pictures taken.

Azaria says that while it has been a lot of work for the Willows team, the effort has been well worth it.

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Maplewood LEA creates humorous skit based on famous Christmas poem for residents to enjoy

Rosanne Blackburn’s rendition of Twas the Night Before Christmas is the latest example of how she uses creativity to enhance quality of life for residents

Maplewood life enrichment aide (LEA) Rosanne Blackburn is often using her creativity to enhance the quality of life for residents at the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home, and she recently recruited her co-workers and some residents to perform a skit based on a parody of the famous poem Twas the Night Before Christmas.

“I just thought it would be nice to do something different,” she tells The OMNIway. “I always used to make up my own poetry, so I thought I would make up my own version of the poem for the home to act out.”

Rosanne says a conversation with a member of the Maplewood nutritional care team inspired her to write a parody of the poem and create a skit. The two were chatting about how to keep residents’ spirits high during the holiday season amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Rosanne’s colleague suggested a humorous skit, and Rosanne thought, “what a good idea.”

“I just went home that night and tried to think of something that we could do that was short for the lunch service, and I just came up with Twas the Night Before Christmas – but in my own words,” she says.

The performance of the poem happened shortly before lunch was served on Dec. 10.

Rachel Corkery, Maplewood’s administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator, commends Rosanne for the creativity she has brought to the home to help enhance the quality of life for residents over the years.

Rosanne has been an especially valuable asset to residents since the pandemic began in March, she adds.

“She truly has been such an out-of-the-box thinker during this pandemic, and has come up with some amazing ways to brighten everyone’s day,” Rachel says.

Here is Rosanne’s rendition of Twas the Night Before Christmas:

Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the room
The residents were all ready for the food service soon

Diana the cook forgot to make soup
So she ran in the kitchen and she said “oh poop”

Harry just laughed and said that is alright

Make the soup later we’ll have it tonight

Corina hit the table and shook her head NO
I want my soup now and don’t be too slow

When out came Jackie with two plates in her hand
So hot to the touch, it was all she could stand

Tracy came out wondering, what’s going on

She said this will not happen in here from now on

The PSWs were waiting, oh so patiently

To start with feeding, all smiling with glee

When what to my wondering eyes should appear

Rosanne in her costume … a happy reindeer

The nurses just laughed and thought, what a sight
Don’t turn on the music, or she will dance, she just might

Now Diana, now Jackie, now Tracy and Rosanne
Please tell me, please tell me, do you all have a plan?

They sprang to the kitchen and gave us a whistle
The way they all flew like the down of a thistle

I heard them exclaims as they dove out of sight
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Country Terrace residents treated to beef tenderloin

Alex Achillini and the nutritional care team at Country Terrace wanted to give residents of the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home a special, memorable dinner, and few meals compare to beef tenderloin.

On Nov. 27, Alex, the Country Terrace nutritional care manager, and his team prepared 150-gram slices of beef tenderloin for residents. The meat was pan-sealed and finished in the oven and then accompanied with gravy.

As for side dishes, the team went with locally farmed root vegetables and made-from-scratch mashed potatoes.

Presenting high-quality meals is important to maintaining a high standard of quality of life for long-term-care home residents, and Alex and the Country Terrace nutritional care team wanted to give residents a meal to remember.

Judging by residents’ comments, Alex says he and the nutritional care team succeeded.

“It was such a great meal, (and we had) lots of compliments,” he tells The OMNIway.

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When life hands you snow, make snowmen

Burnbrae Gardens team members use their breaks to make snowmen for residents to enjoy

Sometimes it’s little things that can bring the most joy and make the most difference to people, and a group of Burnbrae Gardens staff members proved this when they used their break time to build snowmen for residents to look at through their windows.

Following the overnight snowfall on Dec. 9, there was lots of the white stuff to make perfect snowmen, so two of the Campbellford, Ont. long-term care home’s personal support workers and an environmental services team member used one of their breaks to build two snowmen in the backyard.

“They took their break and used the opportunity to go out and make those cute snowmen for the residents, all on their own accord,” Burnbrae Gardens administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator April Faux tells The OMNIway.

“The residents are getting a little chuckle out of it, and (the staff members) did it all on their own time, and it was a way to brighten up the residents’ day.”

To ensure more residents can have their own snowmen to look at, April says the team members have additional plans.

“Their intent is to go out while the snow is still easy to pack and put a few more snowmen out front after work,” she says.

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Riverview resident Dorothy Bourne celebrates 101st birthday

The Riverview Manor team recently helped the Peterborough long-term care home’s most senior resident, Dorothy Bourne, celebrate her 101st birthday with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

On Dec. 1, the Riverview team organized a safe outdoor celebration to mark Dorothy’s birthday. Dorothy, who was warmly bundled up, and her family members, who all wore face masks, gathered under the gazebo in the home’s courtyard to celebrate.

Adam Wicklum, a life enrichment aide at Riverview Manor, says some of Dorothy’s family members had not seen her since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.

“Two of her five children were there and they haven’t seen her since pre-COVID, so that was pretty special for them,” he says.

Once everyone was together, Dorothy’s family sang Happy Birthday and lit sparklers in her honour.

There was some additional fanfare for Dorothy as well, Adam notes.

“The family also had a big birthday sign on the lawn in front of her window,” he says.

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