Country Terrace moms receive aromatherapy bracelets

LEC creates unique accessories for Mother’s Day

The ladies of Country Terrace were treated to a special Mother’s Day gift when they received specially made aromatherapy bracelets courtesy of Lora Blackett, the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC).

Aromatherapy bracelets are beaded bracelets covered with a scent. Lora used lavender for the bracelets she made residents. Bracelets, she notes, were a unique way to combine a gift for Mother’s Day, which was May 8, with aromatherapy.

In addition to the bracelets, the Country Terrace mothers also received Mother’s Day cards and nutritional care manager Alex Achillini made special cupcakes for everyone to celebrate the occasion.

Lora got the idea to make the bracelets from administrator Christie Patterson, who formerly served as the home’s LEC. Christie had made aromatherapy bracelets for residents one Mother’s Day and they had been a big hit with residents.

Lora explains how the bracelets work.

“They are made from little beads that soak up essential oils and you just dab the beads with the oil,” she tells The OMNIway, adding, “lavender is a very calming scent,” which is why she chose it.

Lora notes that Mother’s Day is one of the most popular days of the year at Country Terrace. Lora, who became the Country Terrace LEC last October, says she wanted to make her first Mother’s Day at the home extra special.

Going with a tried and proven handmade gift felt like the perfect way to do so, she says.

“Mother’s Day is (so popular) here that it can sometimes be busier than Christmas,” Lora says. “Since the residents loved the bracelets when Christie made them, I thought it was a good idea to do it again.”

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PSW visits Country Terrace on his day off to bring residents Easter cheer

Trevor Blackmore is being praised for his commitment to residents

Country Terrace personal support worker (PSW) Trevor Blackmore is being praised for coming to work on his day off to bring some Easter cheer – and chocolates – to residents.

On Easter Sunday, Trevor turned up at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home to visit residents and deliver Easter sweets to them, a gesture life enrichment co-ordinator Lora Blackett says demonstrates Trevor’s commitment to residents and the passion he has for his work.

Lora says Trevor told her he dresses up as the Easter bunny for community functions every year, and he approached her with the idea to come to Country Terrace on Easter Sunday in costume with plenty of treats to hand out.

Trevor is a fairly new team member at Country Terrace and he wanted to share his Easter spirit with residents, Lora says.

“He went around and handed out chocolate and cheer to the residents who loved it,” she tells The OMNIway.

“The residents were laughing and hugging the Easter bunny. At one point the Easter bunny lost his tail – it just fell off – and the residents all thought that was hilarious.”

As much as the visit from the Easter bunny made residents’ day, the big story is about a staff member coming to work on his own time to make everyone’s day a little brighter, Lora says.

“I think it’s so amazing that staff here will volunteer their own time to spread cheer to the residents,” she says. “I think that really tells you the kind of person they are.

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Upbeat, collaborative atmosphere makes cooking at Country Terrace a joy, says team member

‘I haven’t had that at any other job,’ says Georgina Pantazopoulos

When Georgina Pantazopoulos started her position in the Country Terrace kitchen three years ago, she found the atmosphere to be both positive and collaborative, and this is just as true now as it was then, she says.

“Everyone here is so willing to help, so upbeat, all of the managers jump in to help when we need somebody or when we are short people, everybody really has a positive attitude and works together to make sure everything is running properly – I haven’t had that at any other job,” Georgina tells The OMNIway.

Georgina works as both a cook and a dietary aide at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home. There are plus sides to working two positions, she says.

When working as a cook, Georgina says she enjoys creating delicious meals that make residents happy. When working as a dietary aide, she gets to see first-hand the smiles on their faces when residents taste the meals the nutritional care team makes, she adds.

Georgina also credits nutritional care manager Alex Achillini and her colleagues in the dietary department for their strong support.

“Alex is incredible, I came here and got started and he got me set up with the cook’s training, so I’ve been doing that and there are lots of opportunities here, and they are always willing to help me go that extra mile and try new things,” she says.

Asked about her favourite meal to prepare for residents, Georgina doesn’t skip a beat with her response.

“We make a beef tenderloin here once in a while and it’s always incredible,” she says. “The residents love it. It is usually served with root vegetables, and Alex makes his special cheese bread to go with it.”

While Country Terrace is the first and only job Georgina has worked in long-term care, she says nothing has surprised her about her job – it has been everything she thought it would be.

“Everyone is so upbeat and caring, and that’s really nice – and that really makes a difference,” she says.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured above, beef tenderloin with root vegetables is the meal Country Terrace cook Georgina Pantazopoulos says she enjoys preparing most for residents.

Country Terrace dietary aide says fast-paced job is ‘a perfect fit’

‘I’m a person who likes to be always on the go and keep moving,’ says Joy Goddard

Joy Goddard learned about the job requirements long-term-care home dietary aides need from a friend who works as one. She told Joy it was a job that required people to work at a fast pace and have strong organizational skills along with a good memory.

That was all Joy needed to hear.

“I’m a person who likes to be always on the go and keep moving, so I thought this would be a perfect fit for me,” Joy tells The OMNIway.

“My friend told me that if you are working in the kitchen, you have to be organized or else you will fall behind, and I said, ‘I’m an organized person.’ ”

When a job opening for a dietary aide came up at Country Terrace, Joy applied and got the position. Eight years later, she’s still working at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home.

Joy says she enjoys the fast-paced environment that comes with serving residents their meals. With more than 100 residents to serve during mealtimes, Joy says dietary aides need to be fast and efficient.

This means knowing residents’ specific preferences – for instance, what they like to drink with their meals or how they take their tea – so they can be served quickly.

Speedy service is crucial when there are more than 100 residents who are dining at any given time, Joy says.

“When you are working in the kitchen, it’s a really intense job and you have to be really, really organized and you have to keep up the speed and you have to know the residents,” she says.

As much as she enjoys the fast-paced environment that comes with the territory, Joy says her favourite part of her job is making residents happy.

“I really like working with the residents,” she says. “It’s really nice to see the residents enjoy what they’re eating.”

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Strong teamwork is ensuring seamless meal service to Country Terrace residents during renovations

NCM commends team members for adapting well to changes

While there are many changes going on at Country Terrace due to ongoing renovations at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home, one thing that has remained constant is seamless meal service, which is important to residents.

Alex Achillini, the nutritional care manager (NCM) at Country Terrace, says his team’s goal is to work within the challenges that arise to ensure the high-quality food service residents expect is not impacted by the renovations.

“We want to make sure the food service is in a timely manner and that the food is (served) at the right temperature – and there are a lot of factors that have to be looked after,” he tells The OMNIway.

Construction is underway at Country Terrace to add 50,518 square feet and eight beds to the home. The $32-million redevelopment project is expected to be completed by June 2024.

Team members’ job routines have been changing – due to both having to work around challenges related to the renovations as well as to ensure all pandemic protocols are being followed – so Alex is working closely with the nutritional care team to maintain communication and keep everything organized.

“This is also important because the staff feels that you are there for them and they have direction,” he says.

Alex also says the nutritional care team has excelled at supporting one another. If the team is short-staffed, co-workers have made themselves available on their days off, he says.

Alex also commends the nutritional care team as well as all departments at Country Terrace for adapting well to changing circumstances and for keeping quality of life high for residents throughout the changes.

“They have been very good – the whole home has been good – at adapting to the changes,” he says.

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Country Terrace residents treated to an array of decadent Valentine’s desserts

‘When the carts came back, there was nothing, everything was cleared – they absolutely loved everything’

With continued restrictions in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Country Terrace residents were in need of a special occasion to keep spirits high, and the nutritional care team at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home certainly came through for them on Valentine’s Day by serving up an array of high-end desserts.

Nutritional care manager Alex Achillini and his team prepared many desserts for residents, including chocolate and strawberry cheesecakes, parfaits, heart-shaped cookies and strawberries dipped in melted chocolate.

The desserts were then put on two serving carts that were decorated with Valentine’s Day motifs. One cart was brought to residents at one end of the home and the second cart was brought to residents at the other end.

The ladies of Country Terrace were also presented with red roses for the occasion.

During previous years, Country Terrace has organized a special dinner for Valentine’s Day. However, with the current renovation project to add 50,518 square feet to the home as well as pandemic protocols in place, spacing is a challenge, so the nutritional care team decided to focus on desserts that could be brought to residents instead.

Residents were pleased with both the high quality of the desserts and their presentation, Alex says.

“The residents really, really enjoyed it,” he tells The OMNIway. “Sweets are always popular with the residents, and they usually don’t see that kind of presentation on a cart, so they were impressed with that.”

The fact both carts were empty when they were returned to the kitchen was a testament to how much residents enjoyed the desserts, Alex says.

“When the carts came back, there was nothing, everything was cleared – they absolutely loved everything,” he says.

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New renovations, building community connections, among the exciting things on the Country Terrace horizon

Administrator Christie Patterson says she’s looking forward to being part of the next chapter in the home’s history

Administrator Christie Patterson says the completion of the renovations underway to expand Country Terrace as well as opportunities to build community connections are among the things she’s looking forward to most in her new role.

Christie, who became the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home’s administrator in October, says seeing the renovation project at Country Terrace, which will add 50,518 square feet and eight beds to the home, is especially exciting as she steps into her new role.

Once renovations are complete, Country Terrace will house four spacious 32-bed neighbourhoods for residents. The project will replace all three- and four-bed wards with one- and two-bed rooms.

Christie, a 13-year Country Terrace team member, says the renovations are an exciting chapter to the home’s history.

“I am looking forward to the changes that are happening with the new build – there’s a lot going on,” she says of the $32-million redevelopment project, which is expected to be completed by June 2024.

Along with the redevelopment project, Christie says she is also looking forward to seeing Country Terrace work to strengthen community connections.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in March 2020, Christie says some of those connections with people and organizations have quieted due to restrictions in place. However, she says she’s looking forward to rebuilding and strengthening those relationships once things begin to open up again.

With the completion of the redevelopment project on the horizon, those connections will be especially important, Christie says.

“With this home growing, that is a huge step, the community is well aware that we are building, and I think that’s nice,” she says.

– This is Part 2 of a two-part story

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Working multiple positions at Country Terrace has prepped administrator for newest role

Administrator Christie Patterson says she’s looking forward to being part of the next chapter in the home’s history

One key strength Christie Patterson brings to the table as Country Terrace’s administrator is her firm knowledge of the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home and its residents.

In fact, Christie, who moved into her role three months ago, has held positions in two other departments at Country Terrace – nutritional care and life enrichment – before taking on the administrator role after former administrator Karen Dann retired in October.

Her wide range of experience during her 13 years working at Country Terrace has given Christie valuable insight that will help her in her new role, she says.

Recognizing the talents and strengths of team members with internal promotion has long been a hallmark of the organizational culture at OMNI Health Care, and this can positively impact relationships and resident care.

Christie, who previously served as the Country Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator, says when managers have strong a familiarity with everyone connected to the home, residents, their families and staff members have “a higher comfort level” because they are well versed in the home’s operations.

“You know the residents and you know how the home runs in general; you know the family members, which is a huge plus, and you know the staff,” she says.

“(Having worked in other departments) gives me an understanding of more than one department, and that it takes the team to run the home – everybody has a role in keeping this home going.”

Christie adds her previous experience at Country Terrace helped her move into her new role, and the Country Terrace team has been supportive in helping her transition.

Looking ahead, Christie says she’s looking forward to taking on new challenges and strengthening community connections with the home.

– This is Part 1 of a two-part story

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Seeing residents smile is the best part of the job for Country Terrace LEC

Lora Blackett shares her thoughts on her first three months working at the home

Lora Blackett says the best part of being the life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) at Country Terrace has been seeing the smiles on residents’ faces when they’re participating in programming they enjoy.

Lora, who became the LEC at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home Oct. 4, says she’s also enjoying working with the life enrichment team members to create and run the activities that have a positive impact on residents.

“I like to be able to oversee the programs and watch how things are going, and watching the team at work and seeing them put smiles on the residents’ faces,” she tells The OMNIway, adding she’s enjoying her new position.

“It has been great, it has definitely been a learning experience, but I’ve been catching on and I really enjoy doing what I do.”

Lora has extensive experience working in life enrichment going back about 12 years. Most recently, she worked at a long-term care home in nearby London, Ont. for eight and a half years.

One aspect of programming Lora says she has been focusing on since becoming the Country Terrace LEC is introducing more small-group and one-to-one activities.

Small-group programming has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, and one-to-one programming engages many residents who otherwise do not attend activities and events.

“Just to be able to focus our time on those residents (has been important),” Lora says.

Looking ahead, Lora says she plans to continue many of the successful programs her predecessor, Christie Patterson, ran for many years, as well as bringing her own ideas into the mix.

Christie, who is now the Country Terrace administrator, has also helped Lora adjust to her new role.

“It has been really great having Christie as the administrator now, being able to bounce ideas off of her as I learn the new role, and that has been really great, Lora says, adding the rest of the Country Terrace team has also been supportive.

“The management team has also been really kind and welcoming, as has the life enrichment team.”

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Residents make Christmas ornaments during Country Terrace clay-sculpting program

Their creations are being used to decorate the home’s Christmas trees

Country Terrace residents recently got to make clay Christmas ornaments during a unique program the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home recently hosted.

2Hands Clay, a local company offering clay-sculpting supplies and kiln services, provided all the items residents needed for the activity. The company’s owner dropped off the supplies and then collected residents’ ornaments, which were then fired in the kiln 2Hands Clay operates.

Working with the Country Terrace life enrichment team, 12 residents came up with their ornament designs then sculpted the clay they were provided to make the decorations. Residents then painted the ornaments, which were then ready to be fired in the kiln.

Country Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Lora Blackett says this program helped residents tap into their creative side, adding they came up with a wide range of designs for their ornaments.

“They made snowmen and snowflakes, one resident made a duck, whatever piqued their interest that day they made,” she tells The OMNIway.

Christine, the owner of 2Hands Clay, recently dropped off the finished ornaments, which are being hung on the Christmas trees that dot the home.

Lora says residents “loved” the program and the results it yielded.

“They thought it was a lot of fun and they would love to do it again,” she says.

Given the success the program garnered on its maiden run, Lora says she hopes to offer it a couple of times per year going forward.

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