Let’s dance: Burnbrae music program gets residents moving

The Music Appreciation program is providing residents with exercise, reminiscing and lots of fun and laughter

Since Burnbrae Gardens started a multifaceted music program six months ago, residents of the Campbellford, Ont. long-term care home have been benefiting from the joys music brings as well as from more exercise, increased happiness and lots of reminiscing.

The Music Appreciation program is the brainchild of life enrichment aide Shawna Booth, who started the program in September to provide residents with activities they enjoy while adhering to safety protocols in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Music brings a lot of joy into people’s lives, and I was thinking this was something that was lacking because of (the pandemic), so that was the main inspiration,” Shawna says.

The program, which Shawna hosts every Thursday, varies from week to week. Each week there’s a different musical theme, from golden oldies to country classics to jazz.

Residents gather in small, physically distanced groups while music is played. Often, Shawna leads residents in exercises they can do standing or sitting.

“Sometimes we do activities where residents can dance in their chair for exercise where there are movements to go along with the songs, (and) sometimes we will play songs that will get residents reminiscing,” Shawna says, adding residents recently enjoyed reminiscing about songs they remembered hearing at weddings and other events.

Shawna says she has also played relaxing music while leading residents in chair yoga exercises.

A major benefit Shawna says she has seen from the Music Appreciation program is increased participation. While some residents are not interested in games or bingo, virtually everyone loves music.

As a result, several residents who normally don’t participate in programs are attending this activity every week, she says.

But perhaps the greatest benefit Shawna is seeing from residents is an elevated mood accompanied by lots of laughter.

“That’s always good because laughter is the best medicine, and of course reminiscing is helpful with memory and cognition, and we do a lot of reminiscing,” she says.

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

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

Pandemic prompts Burnbrae life enrichment team to invent new programming

A Mardi Gras activity and a music program are among the life enrichment team’s creations since safety restrictions have been in place

Necessity, as the old saying goes, is the mother of invention, and since the global COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago, Burnbrae Gardens life enrichment team members have had to tap into their creativity to develop meaningful programs for residents to enjoy.

And April Faux, the Campbellford, Ont. long-term care home’s administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator, says the life enrichment staff has answered the challenge by coming up with fun programs for residents that enhance their quality of life while adhering to protocols to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.

In February, life enrichment aide (LEA) and physiotherapy assistant Lauren Farnham organized a Mardi Gras party – something the home had never done before – complete with music and props such as Mardi Gras beads and refreshments.

The event sparked a lot of interest from residents, April says, adding Lauren was able to run the program for all residents who wanted to join the fun by having small groups take turns participating at different intervals.

For residents who stayed in their rooms, the LEAs would bring them a treat, such as a non-alcoholic margarita, to ensure they were still included in the activity.

“Residents loved the Mardi Gras program,” April says.

Another LEA, Shawna Booth, started a music program in September called Music Appreciation.

As part of this program, Shawna plays different types of music and encourages residents to dance and exercise. Each time the program runs there will be a different theme of music for residents to enjoy. The music is based on residents’ musical interests.

Like the Mardi Gras program, the music program is only done with small groups of residents.

“We have had to reach outside the box because we used to have so much live entertainment, but we can’t have that right now, so we’re having to be a bit more creative, which is good for everyone and it’s (providing) new programs for the residents,” April says.

– More to come

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

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

Burnbrae DOC makes special buttons for residents after second Moderna vaccination

Helen Sadio made the buttons on her own time to acknowledge residents for doing their part to help end the pandemic

After Burnbrae Gardens residents received their second round of the Moderna vaccine on March 2 to help protect them from the COVID-19 virus, they each had a surprise waiting for them, courtesy of director of care (DOC) Helen Sadio.

Residents were handed special buttons Helen had made on her own time to acknowledge them for receiving the vaccine and doing their part to help end the pandemic.

Helen made the buttons in a variety of bright colours, and each button was embossed with a phrase such as, “For me, for you, for all. #COVIDVaccinated” and “I took the shot, 2021”, to recognize residents for receiving the vaccine.

Helen took the Friday before residents were vaccinated off work and spent the next three days making the buttons, a gesture home administrator April Faux says demonstrates Helen’s strong commitment to residents.

“I really want to recognize Helen because she went over and above, and the residents got a kick out of (the buttons),” she tells The OMNIway.

“She took her own time and used her own money to make the buttons. … And (the buttons) brought lots of smiles to residents’ faces.”

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

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

Front-line team surprises Burnbrae managers with Christmas gifts

‘It really hit home that we have a great team here’

When a personal support worker (PSW) approached April Faux on Dec. 21 to request a team huddle, the Burnbrae Gardens administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator wasn’t surprised – after all, the number of daily huddles has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

But when April and her fellow managers at the Campbellford, Ont. long-term care home arrived at the huddle, they were greeted by front-line team members bearing Christmas gifts they had pooled their money together to buy.

Each of the five managers received a Christmas plant as well as a personalized Christmas card and a Tim Hortons gift card.

The gift packages were presented on behalf of all Burnbrae Gardens residents and staff members.

“It was just really nice because the managers are not always recognized like this, and the fact that they did this without us knowing and on their own accord (to thank us for) being supportive over the year during (the pandemic) was so kind,” April tells The OMNIway.

“They thanked us for our support during such a difficult year, which was really nice.”

April says the kind gesture from Burnbrae Gardens staff members solidified the environment of camaraderie and teamwork that is central to the home’s culture.

“It really hit home that we have a great team here, and yes, (managers) always appreciate them, but we receive it back as well.”

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

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

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.

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

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

Helen Sadio becomes Burnbrae Gardens’ new DOC

‘This is a chance to make a bit of a difference’

Helen Sadio started working at Burnbrae Gardens six years ago; today, she’s the Campbellford long-term care home’s new director of care (DOC).

Helen is taking over as DOC after Laurie Gibson retired from the position Nov. 10.

She started as DOC the week before Laurie retired, and while much of Helen’s work so far has been transitioning to her new position, she says she’s looking forward to taking on new challenges and responsibilities.

“This is a chance to make a bit of a difference,” she tells The OMNIway. “I’ve always tried to keep an upbeat attitude and get everybody laughing and smiling, so I will continue to do that while trying to make everyday life a little bit more exciting for everyone involved.”

Helen began working at Burnbrae Gardens in 2014 after moving to Canada from the UK, where she worked as a registered nurse for the National Health Service (NHS).

Helen initially worked as a personal support worker at Burnbrae Gardens while she waited for her RN qualifications from the UK to be certified by the College of Nurses of Ontario. She began working as an RN at Burnbrae in 2015.

Although she has only recently become Burnbrae Gardens’ DOC, Helen says she has a good feeling about things to come, adding her familiarity with residents and staff members has made the transition seamless.

“I’ve got a really positive vibe about it,” she says. “I’m familiar with all the residents and staff and how Burnbrae works, so I’ve got a good head start.”

As part of the company’s culture, OMNI Health Care long-term care homes often promote their staff members to management positions, rather than hiring from outside.

This, Helen says, demonstrates commitment to team members and shows that OMNI “values the staff.”

Helen has had lots of well-wishes and kind words from her colleagues since becoming DOC, but she has also been touched by the amount of support from residents she’s received.

“I have had a few other visitors to the door to say congratulations and that has been from the residents, and that’s been really cool,” she says.

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

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

DOC Laurie Gibson retires after serving Burnbrae Gardens residents for 11 years

‘It’s a new chapter in my life; I’m closing one but opening another’

Burnbrae Gardens director of care Laurie Gibson (centre) is pictured here holding her Elisabeth Hinton Memorial Award alongside OMNI director of western operations Aimee Merkley (left) and administrator April Faux (right) during an Oct. 25, 2019 ceremony at the Campbellford long-term care home.

Asked how she was feeling about retiring from Burnbrae Gardens after working at the Campbellford long-term care home for 11 years, Laurie Gibson said “it’s bittersweet.”

“It’s a new chapter in my life; I’m closing one but opening another,” Laurie, who has served as Burnbrae Gardens’ director of care (DOC) for the past three years, told The OMNIway on Nov. 10.

“It’s hard to say goodbye to a lot of people you have worked with for 11 years. I’m sure we will see each other from time to time, but it’s not the same as seeing each other every day, so that’s a change for sure.”

On her final day on the job, Laurie’s colleagues hosted a potluck lunch for her, and she received lots of cards and well-wishes from everyone. Head office sent her a bouquet of flowers and a gift. Laurie said she was thankful and touched by the kindness she received.

“I’m just over the moon; it has been so special today.”

It’s this type of kindness Laurie said she will miss about Burnbrae Gardens. A small home like 43-bed Burnbrae Gardens, she said, is a fertile environment for friendships to blossom.

“There are many friendships one makes when you’re working in a small home in a small community, and that’s a really important aspect of your life – it’s not just a job, it’s part of your life,” she said.

Laurie began her career at Burnbrae Gardens in 2009 as the night charge RN. In 2019, Laurie was presented with OMNI Health Care’s Elisabeth Hinton Memorial Award, which is given out annually to a nurse working in an OMNI long-term care home who demonstrates excellence in nursing and exhibits kindness and caring in everything he or she does.

Asked about her retirement plans, Laurie said the first thing she will be doing is working on completing some home renovations. She is also looking forward to lots of travelling once the COVID-19 restrictions relax as well as spending time reading.

While she is looking forward to her retirement, Laurie also said she will miss working at Burnbrae Gardens.

“I will miss the residents because they are here for a long time, and you get to know them and their families, and that’s a lovely connection,” she said.

“I will also miss the staff because they’re so supportive and wonderful, and it’s nice to come to work every day and be greeted so kindly and warmly.”

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

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

‘Surprise drops’ have been much appreciated by Burnbrae Gardens team

Pictured above, Antonia’s Bistro in Campbellford recently delivered complimentary pizzas to show support for Burnbrae Gardens staff members.

From sending meals to sending kind messages, Campbellford LTC home is grateful for the community’s support during global pandemic

Since the global COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March, Burnbrae Gardens has been on the receiving end of a wave of community support – and those working at the Campbellford long-term care home are grateful. Read more

Surprise ‘window visit’ a touching moment for Burnbrae resident, his family and staff

“We will talk to you soon. Please remember that we love you and you’re always in our thoughts.” Read more

Local church group helps make Burnbrae Gardens’ Christmas extra special

‘It was a real heartwarming little event that they created’

It was an extra special Christmas at Burnbrae Gardens this past holiday season – and one filled with community support – when members of St. John’s United Church dropped by the Campbellford long-term care home Dec. 20 with loads of gifts residents had requested. Read more