Local church donates 5 iPads to Country Terrace residents

Gateway Church members wanted to do something for residents to keep spirits high during the pandemic

A local church recently donated five iPads to Country Terrace residents through its community outreach program, a kind gesture everyone at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home is grateful for, says life enrichment co-ordinator Christie Patterson.

Country Terrace and Gateway Church have had a long-standing connection. As part of its Gateway Cares outreach program, the church recently contacted the home to offer support for residents and staff to help lift spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Christie and Jesse MacMillan, one of the pastors at Gateway Church, had several conversations about ideas that would both thank staff members for their hard work during the pandemic and lift residents’ spirits.

In the end, it was decided the Gateway Cares team would donate five iPads to residents. The iPads are helping residents connect with family and friends as well as providing entertainment. Residents are also attending virtual church services by watching them on the iPads.

Each Country Terrace resident also received a personal letter from Gateway Church members and a small bag of treats.

Gateway Church also provided doughnuts, muffins and coffee for Country Terrace staff members on the day church members delivered the iPads.

Each staff member also received a Tim Hortons gift card to thank them for their hard work and service to residents.

With vaccination rates increasing and businesses and services opening up in Ontario, there are signs of light at the end of the tunnel.

However, the greater health-care sector is still working hard to keep people safe, and it needs to be remembered that the pandemic is not over, Christie says.

The timing of Gateway Church’s generosity is meaningful, she notes.

“As Jesse and I talked, we stated that we believe people forget we are still fighting this COVID battle,” Christie says.

“The staff are still making sacrifices to protect the residents, and it has taken a toll. (The church’s kind gesture shows) that people still care. It is truly a blessing.”

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Country Terrace focusing on quality mealtimes to keep spirits high during the pandemic

‘You have to be creative and work within the restrictions’

Since protocols in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have limited group activities and programming for long-term care homes, Country Terrace has turned to something that is universally important to residents to ensure their quality of life is kept high: meals.

Every two weeks the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home hosts the Diners Club, a mealtime program where small groups of residents, on a rotating basis, choose a special meal the nutritional care team prepares for them.

The program was launched a few years ago, but it has been especially important to residents since the pandemic was declared 14 months ago, says Country Terrace nutritional care manager Alex Achillini.

Recently, the Diners Club featured a meal of pork ribs, chicken wings, onion rings, fries, coleslaw and pineapple upside-down cake. Other meals residents have requested over the years include beef tenderloin, seafood and reuben sandwiches.

The Diners Club has also focused on providing special meals for residents on texture-modified diets.

“You have to be creative and work within the restrictions,” Alex says.

Along with providing residents with their favourite foods, the Diners Club program also includes wine and beer for residents to enjoy, and meals are served using the home’s best plates and cutlery.

Country Terrace nutritional care team members have also received outside praise for their work.

In 2020, the team was recognized by the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management (CSNM) for the Mother’s Day lunch of barbecued pork ribs, parsnips, cornbread muffins, cream of celery soup and dulce de leche cheesecake that was served last May.

The CSNM posted a photo of the meal on its website to honour the team.

Residents also provide the nutritional care team with input to enhance their dining experience. For example, the team is now looking at sprucing up the meatloaf recipe to make a favourite meal even better for residents, Alex says.

And it’s not just the Diners Club the nutritional care team is focusing on during the pandemic. Alex and his team also regularly treat residents to ice cream and other desserts, he adds.

“These are all things you can do to improve the quality of life from the dietary (department’s) point of view,” Alex says.

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Texture-modified meals highlight recent Country Terrace Diners Club

Minced and pureed meals were plated and decorated in 5-star restaurant fashion

A recent Diners Club meal at Country Terrace focused on providing residents who are on texture-modified diets with a tasty and visually appealing dinner featuring some of their favourite foods.

The latest Diners Club meal provided a special dinner for residents on puree and mince diets. Since people “eat with their eyes first,” Alex Achillini, the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home’s nutritional care manager, creatively plated and decorated each plate the way a high-end restaurant would serve dinner.

Residents requiring minced meals enjoyed lasagna for their main course. Residents requiring pureed meals were served a pork chop with peas, mashed potatoes and gravy.

The lasagna was created with noodles Alex made from scratch. The minced lasagna noodles were placed in a glass bowl between layers of meat sauce and ricotta cheese. Homemade cheese buns and a caesar salad were served alongside the lasagna.

For the residents requiring pureed diets, the main feature was a pork chop. The meat was pureed and placed in a silicone mould, frozen to form the shape of a pork chop, and then cooked. This was served with peas and mashed potatoes that were piped into decorative shapes.

For dessert, residents enjoyed a mousse that was layers of dark chocolate and white chocolate, topped with chopped strawberries for residents on the minced diet and a caramel sauce for those on the pureed diet.

When creating meals for residents requiring texture-modified food, Alex says presentation is especially important. Something as small as adding a spoonful of sauce to cover meat or a decorative mashed potato or vegetable can go a long way in making a meal more enjoyable, he says.

Alex notes there was an added touch to this Diners Club meal.

“Residents ate outside on the patio, which added to the enjoyment, and the activities and maintenance departments did a great job decorating it,” he says.

The Diners Club is being hosted for small groups of residents in a rotation. Alex creates a menu featuring foods residents enjoy. Residents are served the meals in a way one would expect from a top-notch restaurant.

Due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is currently no large-group programming. To ensure all residents can enjoy a Diners Club meal, the program is offered in one area of the home every two weeks, with no more than six residents participating at a time.

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Beef tenderloin highlights latest Country Terrace Diners Club

Residents invited to the latest Country Terrace Diners Club meal were served a tasty beef tenderloin that was enjoyed by all.

Prior to the May 7 Diners Club meal, residents invited to the sitting were given the choice between beef tenderloin and seafood. They opted for the tenderloin, which nutritional care manager Alex Achillini prepared along with mashed potatoes and a vegetable dish consisting of potatoes, peppers and zucchini.

Alex also prepared ham-and-cheese empanadas with a dipping sauce for a starter and strawberry shortcake for dessert.

As always, everything was made from scratch.

Because the other nutritional care team members are busy preparing the regular meals for residents, Alex usually prepares the Diners Club meals on his own to dedicate more time to the food.

When the Diners Club meals are ready, staff members help Alex plate the food and serve residents.

The Diners Club is being hosted for small groups of residents in a rotation. Alex creates a menu featuring foods residents enjoy. Residents are served the meals in a way one would expect from a top-notch restaurant.

Due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is currently no large-group programming. To ensure all residents can enjoy a Diners Club meal, the program is offered in one area of the home every two weeks, with no more than six residents participating at a time.

Alex says he enjoys preparing the meals residents are served during the Diners Club program as much as residents enjoy eating the special food.

“We can develop a little more creativity on the (Diners Club menu) and on the dishes,” he tells The OMNIway.

“We also put a lot of emphasis on garnishing and sauces – even for the desserts; for (the latest Diners Club meal) I made flowers with buttercream to go with the dessert.”

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Cupcakes and flowers add a special touch to Country Terrace Mother’s Day lunch

‘Sometimes it’s the little details that may seem very small can make a big difference’

While Mother’s Day was quieter than usual at Country Terrace this year, the moms living at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home were still treated to a lunch on May 9 that had a special touch.

The nutritional care and life enrichment departments joined together to provide the mothers living at Country Terrace with a Mother’s Day lunch that included flower bouquets on tables and special, decorative cupcakes that were dressed up in a variety of colours.

“When the residents came to the dining room, they found these nice cupcakes and flowers,” says Country Terrace nutritional care manager Alex Achillini.

For lunch, residents had the choice of cheese-and-potato perogies with sour cream and a side dish of broccoli or a turkey-salad sandwich with a three-bean salad. Dessert featured a choice of strawberries with cream or vanilla ice cream.

Mother’s Day is typically a major occasion at the home, but with restrictions in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the usual family get-togethers couldn’t happen.

Instead, team members worked together to provide residents with the best Mother’s Day they could by working within the protocols.

Alex says the cupcakes and flowers were well received by residents, who appreciated the effort team members put into their Mother’s Day surprise.

“Sometimes it’s the little details, that may seem very small, that can make a big difference,” he says.

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Latest Country Terrace Diners Club meal has unexpected positive result

One resident who has not been eating much lately ‘cleaned her entire plate’ when served a special meal of ribs and chicken

The Country Terrace Diners Club always proves to be a big hit with the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home’s residents, but the latest special meal prepared by the nutritional care team garnered an unexpected result.

One resident who was on the guest list at the April 23 dinner had not had much of an appetite recently and was not finishing her meals.

But when the resident was served the meal of pork ribs, chicken wings, onion rings, fries, coleslaw and pineapple upside-down cake “she cleaned her entire plate,” says nutritional care manager Alex Achillini.

“It was very nice to see her eating everything,” Alex tells The OMNIway, adding results like this underscore the value the Diners Club has for residents.

The Diners Club is being hosted for small groups of residents in a rotation. Alex and the nutritional care team members create a menu featuring foods residents enjoy. Residents are served the meals in a way one would expect from a top-notch restaurant.

Due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is currently no large-group programming. To ensure all residents can enjoy a Diners Club meal, the program is offered in one area of the home every two weeks, with no more than six residents participating at a time.

As with every Diners Club meal, the food Alex and the nutritional care team served was prepared from scratch, just the way residents like it.

Alex says for the next Diners Club meal, residents will have the choice of beef tenderloin or seafood pasta.

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Country Terrace residents enjoying high-end meals through Diners Club program

Residents are still talking about the latest meal

Country Terrace residents have been enjoying an array of high-end meals the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home’s nutritional care team has been preparing as part of the Diners Club program.

The Diners Club is being hosted every two weeks for small groups of residents in a rotation. Country Terrace nutritional care manager Alex Achillini creates a menu of foods residents love and team members serve the meals in a way one would expect from a top-notch restaurant.

Due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is currently no large-group programming. To ensure all residents can enjoy a Diners Club meal, the program is offered in one area of the home every two weeks, with no more than six residents participating at a time.

Recent Diners Club meals residents have enjoyed include beef tenderloin and chicken wings with ribs, and everything is prepared from scratch.

“The residents are still talking about it,” Alex says. “They enjoyed it very much.”

Anyone working in a long-term care home will tell you that high-quality meal service is a top priority for residents. Meals not only provide nourishment, there are also social and cultural elements tied to food that make mealtimes so valued.

“And when you do something special for meals and it is for a small group, the people also feel special,” Alex says. “Everybody else will also be served a special meal, but that feeling of being special is something the residents enjoy.”

During Diners Club meals, residents are offered beer and wine in addition to the usual beverage choices of juice, tea and coffee, Alex notes.

Diners Club meals are also served with Country Terrace’s best silverware and plates.

There will be a rotation of the Diners Club this week, and the nutritional care team will be preparing a seafood night. Alex gave a sneak peek of his plans.

“I’m going to make homemade pasta with lobster, shrimp and salmon,” he says.

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Country Terrace residents treated to chocolate fondue for Valentine’s Day

There is no food connected to Valentine’s Day as much as chocolate, and when Feb. 14 rolled around the Country Terrace nutritional care team made a chocolate fondue for the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home’s residents to enjoy.

The nutritional care team made a “chocolate fondue cart” and visited residents on Valentine’s Day to offer them a taste.

The pot of chocolate fondue the nutritional care team prepared was accompanied on the cart by several items to go with it. These included fruits such as strawberries, grapes, pineapple and blueberries.

There were also wafers, Oreo cookies, marshmallows, homemade Rice Krispies squares and puff pastry twists.

Due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, safety protocols were followed by staff members when serving the dessert.

The Country Terrace nutritional care team usually hosts a special meal and gathering for residents on Valentine’s Day, but it was not possible to do so this year because of safety protocols in place.

Still, nutritional care manager Alex Achillini said the chocolate fondue was well-received by residents.

“It was wonderful; everyone really enjoyed it,” he tells The OMNIway. “It was something different for St. Valentine’s Day.”

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Country Terrace thanks local community for support during outbreak

Gifts and letters to residents and staff ‘have put some sunshine back into our day’

Going through a COVID-19 outbreak is challenging for any long-term care home, but when the local community pitches in to show its support during a difficult time, the resulting positive impact makes a big difference to everyone’s morale.

Country Terrace recently ended a COVID-19 outbreak that began on Dec. 10 at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home and impacted both residents and staff.

During this time, community groups and individuals showed their support for Country Terrace residents and staff through many kind gestures, says Christie Patterson, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

The Delaware Lioness Club donated a variety of items, from gift cards to snacks, to residents and staff members.

Gateway Church in Komoka donated gift bags with a drink, chocolate and protein bar for each staff member as well as letters of support for the residents.

Country Terrace also received many donations from family members, community members and neighbours throughout the duration of the pandemic, Christie says.

“These special gifts warm the staff hearts knowing they are not alone and being supportive through these challenging times,” Christie tells The OMNIway.

“Staff are missing residents, residents are missing other residents, (but) these notes and donations have put some sunshine back into our day. Thank you to everyone’s kindness.”

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How a special name badge means ‘inclusion’ to a Country Terrace care aide

Jennifer Hamblin says a Christmas-themed badge administrator Karen Dann made for her also helped her get a COVID vaccination

Country Terrace care aide Jennifer Hamblin says the Christmas-themed name badge administrator Karen Dann made for her in December not only made her feel part of a team it also helped ensure she received her COVID-19 vaccination recently.

Jennifer, who joined the Country Terrace team Oct. 1, says wearing an ID badge has always been important in her work life and that she was “elated” when she was handed her name tag and card shortly after being hired.

“It was a personal touch that meant a big deal,” she tells The OMNIway. “Back in 2012, I retired from a career in security. The hardest part was handing over the identity badge. It was as if I handed over a part of myself, never to return.”

A few weeks ago, Jennifer’s badge went through the laundry when she forgot to remove it from a gown. The housekeeping staff found it and returned it to her.

Shortly after, her badge fell out of its plastic sleeve while she was making beds and she was not able to find it, so she had to get a new one.

There was one other name tag Jennifer had: the Christmas-themed badge Karen made for her.

In early December, The OMNIway published a story about how Karen made Christmas-themed name badges for everyone working at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home.

The badges have team members’ first names embossed on a Christmas-themed design. Jennifer’s name tag is a red Santa stocking. Jennifer says receiving her Christmas badge brought her a feeling of inclusion at Country Terrace.

“I realized a lot of work and love went into the preparation of the badge; I even laminated mine with protective clear film,” she says.

“After years of experience and three degrees, what I have learned is what matters the most for me (in a workplace) is that I am included. I felt so blessed to be a part of a wonderful team, despite the challenging circumstances (of the pandemic).”

On Jan. 10, Jennifer went to the vaccination clinic in London, Ont. to be immunized against COVID-19. Since people working in health-care settings are a top priority for the vaccine, she was asked for a work ID.

“I proudly displayed my Christmas badge because that is all I had,” Jennifer says. “I forgot my real ID at home. Luckily for me, the police officer at the door chuckled, and the staff person at registration reassured me that everything would be fine.”

Jennifer showed them a copy of her police reference check she submitted when she was hired at Country Terrace. With her vaccination form and information already completed, she was ushered forward.

“Nevertheless, I wondered what would I have done without my Christmas badge,” Jennifer says.

Having experience teaching, Jennifer says she often finds herself looking for moral lessons to be learned from a given situation.

“In losing my title badge, gaining a Christmas badge (and) forgetting my real ID at home, I pondered what the next lesson in life would be for me,” she says.

“In the meantime, I enjoyed the moment of how a Christmas badge made me feel better about myself and helped me to get ushered through the vaccination process.”

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