Visit from DOC’s baby granddaughter sparks program

Lunch with Lady Violet a favourite event

When Burnbrae Gardens director of care (DOC) Lesley Dale’s daughter Emily and baby granddaughter Violet stopped in to visit the Campbellford long-term care home recently a brand-new program was born. Read more

Community spirit shines at OMNI

Corporate and home sponsored events illustrate organization’s dedication to people

October 3, 2013 — Deron Hamel

OMNI Health Care has long placed high value on communities and relationship-building and during the past few weeks this theme played out in many ways at several of the organization’s long-term care homes.

On Sept. 26, OMNI sponsored a blood-donor clinic on behalf of the Peterborough Northumberland Canadian Blood Services. Fifty-six people turned up to donate blood. OMNI’s effort was applauded by Theresa Foley, a sales representative for Magic 96.7, the event’s media sponsor.

“The reason OMNI Health Care is interested in sponsoring blood donor clinics is to be a service to the community,” says Foley.

“These blood donor clinics give OMNI a chance to present and flag their name in the community as a sponsor of the community — a company that cares.”

Given the large percentage of OMNI residents who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, the organization has a history of supporting fundraising and awareness campaigns to help the Alzheimer Society of Canada and its branches.

Sept. 21 was World Alzheimer’s Day and once again some of OMNI’s 17 long-term care homes hosted Coffee Break, an annual Alzheimer’s disease awareness day and fundraiser.

A notable success was at the 68-bed Springdale Country Manor. The home’s Coffee Break sold coffee, doughnuts and pastries to residents, staff and visitors, raising $107.

“I think that’s incredible given our home’s size,” says life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Candice Stewart.

Pleasant Meadow Manor recently raised $1,662 for the Norwood long-term care home’s residents’ council during a community car show it hosted Sept. 18.

Twenty-three classic and antique cars were on display at the home, and money was raised through a 50-50 draw, silent auction and barbecue.

LEC Chris Garden commends staff member Tiffany Martell for creating the idea, which she says was successful at bringing the community together.

“Tiffany did an awesome job,” Garden says. “The night was great; it was a huge success . . . and there was a great teamwork approach to make it happen.”

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

– With files from Jeanne Pengelly

‘Physio is what keeps me going’: resident

Leonard Grady spends 12 hours a day in a wheelchair. The rest of the time, or most of it, he’s in bed.

If it weren’t for the physiotherapy services provided to his long-term care residence, Garden Terrace in Kanata, by Achieva Health, he would be very uncomfortable.

Garden Terrace residents ask the government not to alter funding for physiotherapy in long-term care.

Garden Terrace residents ask the government not to alter funding for physiotherapy in long-term care.

That’s not an empty prediction; Grady is actually experimenting.

“If I don’t have any exercise in a week, if I’m busy with family guests, I start losing the ability to sleep well,” he tells the OMNIway.

He suffers more cramps and the symptoms of restless leg syndrome, and it becomes harder to feed himself.

Grady is 73 and he has muscular sclerosis.

“The way I live is still fairly good yet, even though I’m in a wheelchair,” he says.

“If you sit here in this chair for 12 hours without any exercises, I just lose that.”

Grady receives physiotherapy services three times a week to maintain flexibility and strength in both his arms, so he can feed himself, and his legs, so he can stand.

“Physio is what keeps me going,” he says.

Yolande Perry is 80, and she also lives at Garden Terrace. She often wants to visit her family, and it requires that she be able to climb stairs. That’s a problem for Perry; she has fibromyalgia and has had hip fractures.

“If it hadn’t been for the therapy, I wouldn’t be walking,” she says, adding that she was able to attend a family barbecue on the weekend because of the therapy. “If I don’t do the exercises, I jam up.”

Both Grady and Perry are treated by Achieva Health physiotherapist Viji Rajasekaran who says “these guys need the physiotherapy three times a week.”

A member of the health team at Garden Terrace for three years, Rajasekaran describes the world in long-term care, where residents often arrive after a hospital stay and need help to return to their usual level of activity.

By working on flexibility, strength, balance and education, therapists help residents regain stamina that not only improves their quality of life, but also reduces their risk of further injury by tripping or transferring from bed to wheelchair. Motion exercises also help reduce the risk and severity of ulcers.

The process starts with a realistic three-month goal. With frequent regular therapy, the goal is achieved, but the threat of funding cuts that would reduce the frequency of physiotherapy services in long-term care homes worries Rajasekaran.

If they’re going to get less than three times a week, it’s hard to achieve the goals. There will definitely be a decline in residents’ health, and it will lead to more falls, more contractures and ulcers, more hospitalizations, and more money spent for seniors’ care in hospitals.

“Some families are very concerned and worried,” she says.

A three-panel just will begin today to review an application by some physiotherapy clinics in the province to stop the government from spreading physiotherapy funding in a thinner layer to more seniors. The physiotherapists claim the consultation process the government used was flawed, even by its own standards. A judge agreed with the application on first review July 26, and delayed any implementation of physio funding cuts in long-term care until after the more in-depth review set to begin today.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, or feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at  800-294-0051, ext. 30, or e-mail jeanne(at)



Program cuts time, money in long-term care

A resident who recently moved into Almonte Country Haven arrived with a serious ulcer, one that threatened to deteriorate and cause major mobility, pain and medical complications.

Thanks to quick, efficient service by the physiotherapist, the resident was fitted with a custom wheelchair with devices that allowed him to be mobile enough that the ulcer was able to heal.

That’s the kind of example registered physiotherapist Gary Rahan gives when he talks about the service physiotherapists in long-term care settings can provide.

“That’s one example; there are hundreds,” he says.

The assistive devices program covers seniors in long-term care for wheelchairs, walkers, backrests and custom cushions, and it licenses occupational and physiotherapists to provide the service.

The process starts when the nursing staff identifies a need. Then the physiotherapist calls together the resident or the power of attorney, and a vendor chosen by the resident. A 30- to 60-minute assessment for needs and fitting is done, and the vendor fills the order.

The next step is for crucial usage information to be assessed. As the resident uses the device, minor adjustments are made on site, or the vendor does reassessment. Only once the device is suited perfectly to the resident is funding approval sought from the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.

Approval can take between four and 12 weeks, and 75 per cent of the device is covered by the government. The rest falls to private insurance for the few residents who have it, or to the resident’s own pocket. With costs for a wheelchair at up to $5,500, the payment can be significant, and often limiting.

“At least that is the only cost the resident might incur,” Rahan says, adding it is important to remember that seniors are often struggling financially.

In the past, when Community Care Access Centres provided the service for the assistive devices program, Rahan says many residents suffered long wait times and opted for an assessment by a private physiotherapist, at an additional cost of up to $400.

Again, the cost can be limiting for many residents, and the alternative — waiting — can be physically painful and ultimately medically threatening.

“An ulcer can develop within days. By the time the seating options are ready, the ulcer could have become much worse,” Rahan says.

“The way the system is now, residents are not waiting that long,” Rahan says.

“This is our way of giving back to the residents, adding this value to our service,” he adds.

The resident at Almonte Country Haven, like many, arrived with no wheelchair or walker following a hospital stay.  Within the first week, the resident had a loaner chair.

“We prevented a lot of grief for that resident,” Rahan says.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, or feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at  800-294-0051, ext. 30, or e-mail jeanne(at)


Riverview goes rural

Farm animals engage 50 residents

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. — The chatter wasn’t just from the clucking hens, or the baaing goat; it was as much from the residents of Riverview Manor who welcomed a mobile petting zoo complete with a lamb, goat, chickens, bunnies, a rooster or two and baby chicks.

As resident after resident touched and chatted to a bin full of baby chicks, another group of residents had a chance to get up-close and personal with the white duck that made its way around the group Aug. 15.


It was all part of a mobile farm afternoon organized for the Peterborough home by acting life enrichment co-ordinator Joanne Brown through Critter Visits, a local group that travels with its petting zoo to various celebrations.

“This event surpasses what I expected,” Brown says. “The residents are so obviously enjoying this.”

That was clear, not just from the smiles, but also from the number of residents who attended the event. As well, the chatter amongst them, or between them and the animals, was telltale.

One resident stunned many staff by her participation in the event. She was so involved in the petting zoo that she requested a chair so she could sit with the animals.

“The background is that some residents are slow to take part in group activities,” Brown says. “Not here, not today. It’s a whole different story, and it’s really nice to hear the other staff mention it.”

One staff member brought her two young children, so there were animal lovers of all ages in the garden.

That amused one resident specifically who said, “it’s so nice to see the children here too.”

Brown says while many residents have  a farming background, not all do.

“It’s entertainment for the residents. They love to just watch the  animals interact with one another, and they like to touch and feel them too,” she says.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, or feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at  800-294-0051, ext. 30, or e-mail jeanne(at)

Community celebrated at Maplewood’s annual BBQ

Nice weather helps, too

July 19, 2013 — Jeanne Pengelly

If it weren’t for community sponsorship, the Maplewood barbecue just wouldn’t be the event it is.

Elvis provided the entertainment at Maplewood's annual barbecue. Photo Courtesy of OmniWay news.

Elvis provided the entertainment at Maplewood’s annual barbecue. Photo Courtesy of OmniWay news.

The event this year drew 66 guests, 49 residents and about 20 staff members.

For Tina King, who works at the barbecue every year, it’s a perfect opportunity to get involved with the residents, their families, other staff, and even members of the community.

“Every year, Tina tries to get everyone up dancing,” says life enrichment co-ordinator Rachel Corkery.

The barbecue is the largest event of the year for Maplewood. They hear feedback from residents, family and neighbours of the home for months afterward.

“If not for the community sponsorship, we would not be able to afford everything that goes into (the event). For instance the tent we get is given to us at a very low cost; otherwise I don’t know what we would do as tents this size normally cost about $1,000 to $1,500 to rent.

Donations from Sysco Foods, Mike and Lori’s No Frills and Downey Pharmacy help make the meal possible by keeping costs low, she says.

“Leading up to the BBQ the following year, we all remember the good times and memories of the years gone by,” Corkery says.

“We worry in the weeks before the event, we will have enough food? Will it be a success?  And it always is.”

Elvis, played by Matt Cage, is always in attendance at the barbecue, and a huge hit with the residents and their families.

This year, Mother Nature was also in attendance.

“I really think Mother Nature has a crush on Matt Cage, because as long as he shows up, she shows up with her best dress on,” Corkery says.

“At the end of the day all we are doing is having a big old family BBQ out on the back yard.”

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, or feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 30, or e-mail jeanne(at)

Patient-centred care key at OMNI Health Care

Inspired Leaders at 17 Omni Health Care centers. Photo Courtesy of OmniWay.

Inspired Leaders at 17 Omni Health Care centers. Photo Courtesy of OmniWay.

Inspired Leaders identify keys to success

July 21, 2013 — Jeanne Pengelly

It doesn’t matter which of OMNI Health Care’s 17 homes you go to, or which of the Inspired Leaders you speak with, the message is the same: Being recognized for outstanding contributions to patient care is certainly a key to employee satisfaction.

This year, OMNI’s senior management team chose to let each home choose its own “inspired leader.” The choices were made by peers and colleagues, and the winners were celebrated at the managers’ retreat at FERN Resort in Orillia this spring.

Without exception, each of the winners has divulged what they consider the secret to their success, and to their satisfaction with their position at their own home.

April Faux, for example, at Burnbrae Gardens in Campbellford, starts her day saying hello to colleagues and stopping to chat with them. She does the same thing when the afternoon shift starts.

Faux is always ready to assist her peers when necessary, another quality that seems to rise to the surface in OMNI Health Care homes.

“Anywhere that I can help, I will jump in if I can, and they really appreciate that,” she says.

A theme clearly evident in the stories Inspired Leaders tell is that the culture of OMNI Health Care encourages individuality, innovation and respect.

“People need to know that their opinion is valid,” Faux says, “and getting people’s opinions and suggestions is (important.)”

Brian Lafantaisie, for example, is a cook at Forest Hill in Kanata. His job tends to be a lot of the same thing, repeated again and again — exactly the thing that leads him to seek solutions to minor and major inconveniences in the process of preparing residents’ food. Not only are his solutions appreciated, tested, and embedded in procedure, but his colleagues and his boss encourage him to find those answers that make things easier and more efficient for everyone.

Kentwood Park nutritional services manager Catherine Reid was first drawn to the home by the mission and values that put communication and patients first. Now she says Kentwood Park is a workplace unlike any other she’s experienced.

“When you come in here you feel like you’re at home,” says Reid, pointing to the culture of respect that clearly puts residents first.

Even at the small 66-bed home in Selby, Ont., the atmosphere is one of respect and love. Environmental services and office manager Jane Hughes speaks of the “family atmosphere,” something OMNI Health Care managers try to put front and centre.

If there is a way to bottle the formula these employees utilize on a daily basis, it would encompass a system of care that incorporates outgoing personalities seeking to create a safe, comfortable home for each resident. It’s a method of care that includes respecting colleagues and residents, encouraging opinion and suggestion and embracing change with a smile.