OMNI manager’s case study to be used as part of coursework on crisis management

Ruzica Subotic-Howell used her experience as a DOC during the COVID-19 outbreak at Almonte Country Haven in 2020 as the focal point for her submission

A case study focused on crisis management that Ruzica Subotic-Howell created as part of the coursework for a training program aimed at long-term-care home directors of care (DOCs) and assistant directors of care (ADOCs) was so well received by the company offering the course that it will now be used as a component of the training program.

Ruzica, the director of infection, prevention and control at Garden Terrace, was enrolled in the DOC/ADOC leadership program offered by Silver Meridian, a Whitby, Ont.-based health-care consultancy firm, in 2020 while she was DOC at Almonte Country Haven.

The Silver Meridian DOC/ADOC leadership program is a certificate course that includes components focusing on the challenges nurse leaders face in long-term care homes and how they can overcome those challenges.

The program is offered to directors of care (DOCs) and assistant directors of care (ADOCs) or those who aspire to hold these positions in a long-term care home.

The case study Ruzica developed was based on her experiences working at Almonte Country Haven during the COVID-19 outbreak that impacted the home shortly after the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization last March.

Ruzica’s case study largely focuses on the challenges the home faced, the approaches used to control the outbreak, what she learned as a nurse leader, and how she and others worked with stakeholders in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment to control a virus which, at the time, little was known about.

The written narrative Ruzica submitted garnered positive feedback from Silver Meridian. Silver Meridian said her submission was an “exemplary example of a crisis management case study” that demonstrated innovation and leadership, was well focused and proactive.

Ruzica says she’s honoured Silver Meridian asked to use her case study to help others learn.

“I was deeply, deeply touched, because I wrote about the real-time experiences that we were having at the time of the outbreak so that we would retain that knowledge,” Ruzica tells The OMNIway.

Ruzica says a major highlight of her case study was on the importance of teamwork during a crisis. During the COVID-19 outbreak at Almonte Country Haven, people working in all departments came together to share ideas and information to help everyone through a challenging time. This teamwork proved to be valuable in getting the home through the outbreak.

“It was unbelievable; the nursing team and all the other departments came together,” Ruzica says. “It had to be a team effort, and the bonds and relationships that were created were unbelievable.”

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Resident handyman has been a big help to Maplewood maintenance department

Harry Mitchell has put his experience in maintenance work to great use at the Brighton, Ont. LTC home

Harry Mitchell is an active resident at Maplewood who is also a big help when it comes to assisting with repairs that need to be done at the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began 11 months ago, Harry was often out and about in town, visiting with friends and neighbours. But since the pandemic was declared, Harry has used his work experience helping Maplewood maintenance manager Calvin Tracey with projects.

Harry, who has experience working in property maintenance, has his own tools which Calvin stores for him and is working on finding Harry his own tool bag.

Last Thursday, after helping Calvin with some lift repairs, Harry visited Maplewood administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator Rachel Corkery in her office to present her with a bill for his service.

“Harry is quite the Character,” Rachel says, adding she played along and presented Harry with his “payment” — an image of the back of a $5 note and a letter thanking him for his service.

Rachel says the help Harry provides Calvin is valuable on several levels.

“Calvin goes above and beyond to include Harry in his daily work, and (this) makes a world of difference in Harry’s quality of life,” Rachel says. “But I think Harry also makes a world of difference in Calvin’s life, too.”

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Frost Manor team pleased residents have received first dose of Moderna vaccine

Nurses administered Moderna vaccine to 50 residents

Residents of Frost Manor have now received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine to help protect them from the COVID-19 virus.

The nursing team at the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home vaccinated 50 residents in early February. The residents are expected to receive the required booster dose of the vaccine within 28 days.

With all the supplies loaded into a cart, two Frost Manor nurses went around the home to vaccinate the residents who had given consent.

The nurses went through each area of the home vaccinating one resident at a time, with one nurse administering the vaccine while another nurse filled out the required documentation.

Prior to administering the vaccines, the nurses explained to residents the importance of being vaccinated in order to protect them against the highly contagious COVID-19 virus.

“(The vaccinations) went very well and very quickly and there were no issues,” the Frost Manor nursing team said in a statement to The OMNIway.

All but two residents received the vaccine. One resident requested not to be immunized and another resident could not be vaccinated due to health reasons.

The COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization in March 2020. At the time of this writing, the Government of Canada website is reporting there have been 804,260 cases of people in Canada contracting the virus. The website reports that 20,767 Canadians have died as a result of COVID-19 infection.

The Government of Ontario says on its website that vaccinations will be crucial to curbing COVID-19 infection.

“(Vaccines) will be an important tool to help stop the spread of the virus and allow individuals, families and workers to safely resume normal life,” the website states.

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine does not cause a coronavirus infection. It helps to build up your immunity to the virus, so your body will fight it off more easily if it affects you.”

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Streamway residents show support for a LTC home impacted by an outbreak

Residents sent cards to each Hope Street Terrace resident to help lift their spirits

After a COVID-19 outbreak was declared in January at Hope Street Terrace, a long-term care home in Port Hope, Streamway Villa residents wanted to show their support for people living at the home.

After a discussion about how to help, Streamway Villa life enrichment aide Chelsea Tinney suggested a resident activity where everyone would make cards and write a letter of support to send to residents and staff at Hope Street Terrace.

Streamway Villa is in Cobourg, the town next to Port Hope, and there’s a feeling of togetherness among long-term care homes in the area, says Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht.

“We’re a small community … and we thought sending them cards would be a nice touch,” Laurie tells The OMNIway.

Streamway Villa residents then got to work making enough cards to send to all residents at Hope Street Terrace.

The Streamway management team then penned a letter to accompany the cards and everything was then sent to Hope Street Terrace.

“We just wanted to let you know that we are thinking about you,” the letter said. “Our residents have made cards for each of your residents in hopes to brighten their day just a little.”

In a Facebook post, the staff at Hope Street Terrace thanked Streamway Villa residents for their consideration, noting the residents’ gesture meant a lot to everyone.

“A big thank you goes out to Streamway Villa for their lovely cards and words of support. It truly brightened every resident’s day reading all these messages of Hope.”

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Vaccines offer hope for pandemic’s end, but it’s staff who will get us there

It has been 11 months since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization, but 2021 is starting with a sign of hope in the form of two vaccines that have become available in Ontario and are being introduced in phases.

Long-term-care home residents, staff members and essential caregivers are amongst the first in line to receive the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which are being administered in the province’s 14 public health units.

People living and working at several of OMNI Health Care’s 18 long-term care homes have now received the vaccine to help protect them from the highly contagious COVID-19 virus.

In January, the Ontario government announced that due to delays in shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, all available doses are being directed to the province’s long-term care and retirement communities in an effort to protect the most vulnerable segment of the population.

While the vaccines are the first step towards bringing normality back to OMNI long-term-care home residents and their families, we still have a way to go before things are back to the way they were.

As it has been up to this point, it will be the people working in OMNI’s long-term care homes who will be navigating each home’s journey into post-pandemic times.

The vaccine helps protect immune systems, but it’s the staff members who keep residents’ emotional health strong and spirits high.

And they have done an outstanding job.

With safety precautions in effect, this past holiday season was especially challenging for residents and their loved ones to be separated during what is usually a time for families being together.

But staff members and communities showed tremendous compassion for residents during the holidays, as evidenced by the stories we have published in The OMNIway.

While the vaccine may be the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, it has been the passion OMNI long-term-care home staff members have for their work that has kept residents’ quality of life as high as possible.

The value of their service to residents and families during what has been the most challenging year in recent memory cannot be understated.

Their dedication will continue to carry us forward.

Colourful artwork spreads joy at Garden Terrace

The Ottawa-area LTC home recently received a piece of artwork through the Colourful Connections program created by a local church

Stittsville United Church launched a program in late 2020 to use art to bring cheer and inspirational messages to people across the Ottawa region during the COVID-19 pandemic. Garden Terrace has now been touched by one of the initiative’s random acts of kindness.

The Kanata, Ont. long-term care home recently received a piece of artwork through Stittsville United Church’s Colourful Connections program.

Through this program, the church works with community partners, including local artists of all ages, to provide artwork to people and organizations across the region.

The artwork Garden Terrace received is a four-by-eight-foot brightly coloured painting with the words “You Matter” featured prominently.

Garden Terrace team members have placed the piece in the home’s front lobby, so it has been getting lots of attention, says Kelly Peterson, the home’s interim life enrichment co-ordinator.

Kelly says the artwork Garden Terrace received is an example of how a kind gesture can have a positive impact on others during a challenging time.

“We all need some colour and inspiration of positivity during these times,” she tells The OMNIway.

“A friendly reminder that kindness and a smile go a long way.”

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Streamway Villa vaccination clinic immunizes 47 residents against COVID-19

Residents received their first immunization on Jan. 28 and will receive a booster in 28 days

Streamway Villa is one of the latest OMNI Health Care long-term care homes to receive a vaccine to immunize residents against the COVID-19 virus.

Forty-seven of the 49 residents currently living at the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine to help protect them against the highly contagious virus.

One resident requested not to be vaccinated and another resident could not receive the vaccine due to health reasons.

The Moderna vaccine requires two doses, a primary vaccination and a booster dose. Residents will receive the second dose of the vaccine in 28 days.

Streamway Villa administrator Kylie Szczebonski and nurse manager Jen Suave administered the vaccine to residents.

Laurie Kracht, the life enrichment co-ordinator at Streamway Villa, says the vaccination clinic at the home went “extremely well,” adding that some staff members were able to be vaccinated as well since there were extra doses. Vaccinations for all staff members should be available soon, Laurie says.

The COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization in March 2020. At the time of this writing, the Government of Canada website is reporting there have been 783,589 cases of people in Canada contracting the virus. The website reports that 20,136 Canadians have died as a result of COVID-19 infection.

The Government of Ontario says on its website that vaccinations will be crucial to curbing COVID-19 infection.

“(Vaccines) will be an important tool to help stop the spread of the virus and allow individuals, families and workers to safely resume normal life,” the website states.

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine does not cause a coronavirus infection. It helps to build up your immunity to the virus, so your body will fight it off more easily if it affects you.”

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

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Forest Hill’s Angel Tree was once again ‘a huge success’

Thanks to the generosity of family members and a local church, residents received gifts that met their personal needs this past Christmas

The Forest Hill team once again organized an Angel Tree to help ensure residents of the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home received gifts they needed this past holiday season.

In keeping with protocols in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the “tree” was in cyberspace at Christmas.

During past Christmas seasons, Forest Hill has a Christmas tree – called the Angel Tree – in its lobby. The tree is normally covered with numbered tags that visitors take. Each number corresponds to a resident and gifts they need. For privacy, each tag is anonymous, so the person buying the gift doesn’t know who will be on the receiving end.

This year, the Angel Tree was in the form of a Google Doc, and families could sign up for “tags” that were on the virtual Angel Tree.

Craig Forrest, the Forest Hill life enrichment co-ordinator, says the life enrichment team and personal support workers (PSWs) meet before each Christmas season to discuss the individual needs of each resident.

The life enrichment team then makes a list based on the information received from the PSWs.

Craig says the “tags” were gone quickly this past Christmas, thanks to the generosity of Forest Hill family members as well as from members of the congregation of nearby Trinity Presbyterian Church, who, for the second straight year, helped with the initiative.

“This was a huge success again this year,” Craig tells The OMNIway. “The Trinity Presbyterian Church took 90 tags – which was a major share of the gifts – for their congregation.

“Normally, I go and thank (the congregation) personally, but (with COVID-19 restrictions in effect) I couldn’t do that this year, but they were a huge help.”

Many of the presents for residents were practical gifts, such as shampoo, hand lotion, body wash and adult colouring books. Residents also received fleece and handmade blankets, sweaters, nail polish and costume jewelry.

Due to lots of interest, the tags went so fast that family members started donating gifts on their own, Craig says.

“We had families dropping off gifts who didn’t even have a number; they just wanted to donate,” he says.

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Photo caption: Forest Hill resident Ken Crooks is pictured here receiving his Angel Tree gift.


Almonte Country Haven residents receive first dose of Moderna vaccine

A team effort from residents, staff and the public health unit helped make Jan. 28 vaccination clinic a success

All residents of Almonte Country Haven have received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine to help protect them against the COVID-19 virus.

On Jan. 28, an immunization team from the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit was at the Lanark County long-term care home to administer the vaccine, which is given in two doses.

Carolyn Della Foresta, Almonte Country Haven’s administrator, says four of the home’s nurses helped the public health unit team vaccinate residents.

After each resident received the vaccination, they were given a special badge to wear that read, “I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine,” and were then brought to the front of the home where a public health unit nurse was standing by to ensure they were experiencing no side effects.

“It was all hands on deck and all of our staff were involved in supporting the recommended half-hour observation period to ensure that any possible reaction was swiftly identified and dealt with,” Carolyn said in a Jan. 28 e-mail.

“Thankfully, all of our residents tolerated the injection well, and then everyone enjoyed a lovely lunch following.”

After the residents were vaccinated, Almonte Country Haven team members monitored everyone for “even the slightest change in status” to add an extra layer of safety, Carolyn says, adding all staff members from every department are trained and instructed on the importance of close observation of residents.

Carolyn also commended the teamwork shown by residents, Almonte Country Haven staff and members of the public health unit’s vaccination team that ensured the day’s success.

“I would like to offer a huge shout of congratulations and thanks to our residents, our Haven staff and our partners at the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit,” Carolyn said.

“Today was yet another emotional day on our journey of healing, and it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone’s support.”

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