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.”

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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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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.

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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.”

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‘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

Burnbrae Gardens resident adds Lifetime Achievement Award to his long list of honours

Burnbrae Gardens resident Tom Robbins is pictured here receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award from RAI co-ordinator Becky Brownson.

Tom Robbins has been an ‘amazing and valuable’ community volunteer for more than 30 years

CAMPBELLFORD, Ont. – Burnbrae Gardens resident Tom Robbins has been receiving awards his entire adult life, and in October he received yet another accolade to add to his large collection. Read more

Burnbrae Everyday Hero Cheryl Montgomery worked in every department during her 38-year career

Cheryl Montgomery, pictured at left next to administrator April Faux, recently retired after a 38-year career at Burnbrae Gardens. She returned to the Campbellford long-term care home recently to receive her 2019 Everyday Hero Award.

‘Cheryl was always willing to jump in anywhere and give a hand’

During the span of Cheryl Montgomery’s 38-year career at Burnbrae Gardens, there wasn’t one department she didn’t work in. Read more

Burnbrae Gardens’ Mary Castellano helps keep everyone’s morale high, says co-worker

Burnbrae Gardens environmental services aide Mary Castellano (left) was named the Campbellford long-term care home’s 2019 Inspired Leadership Award recipient. Mary is seen here with Burnbrae Gardens administrator April Faux during the recent awards ceremony at the home.

A 2019 Inspired Leadership Award recipient, Mary ‘is truly a wonderful asset to all residents, staff and families’

One thing Burnbrae Gardens personal support worker Juanita Baird has noticed about her co-worker Mary Castellano in her years working with her is Mary’s ability to brighten other people’s day. Read more