Frost Manor LEC discusses her promotion and what she’s looking forward to in her new role

Amy Whitehead says valuing internal promotion sends a positive message to staff

Amy Whitehead joined the Frost Manor life enrichment team in February 2019, and a little over two years later, in May 2021, she became the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC).

The fact she was able to move into a management position at the home so quickly attests to the value OMNI Health Care and Frost Manor place on promoting team members from within, Amy says.

Amy says this is important on two levels.

On one hand, valuing internal promotion sends a positive message to staff members seeking to advance their careers that there is a path for them to do so, Amy says.

But it’s also important for the residents, she adds.

“I also think it’s very important for the residents because … we have such a great rapport with the residents, and it makes the transition for them so much easier to have that familiar face,” Amy tells The OMNIway.

Amy, who has a degree in health sciences with a focus on kinesiology, says she applied to become a life enrichment aide at Frost Manor two and a half years ago because she was interested in a job focused on providing activities for seniors.

While she has now moved into a management position, she says she still enjoys working one-on-one with residents and working shifts on the floor.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” she says.

As a life enrichment aide, Amy worked with Lyndsay Burton, who was then the home’s LEC. Lyndsay did a great job creating and organizing programs residents love, Amy says.

Looking ahead, Amy says what she’s looking forward to most is building upon the programs Lyndsay developed.

“We have a very high engagement for (those programs) here, and being able to keep that up for residents is something I am really looking forward to,” she says.

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PHOTO CAPTION: In this August 2019 file photo, Amy Whitehead (right), who is now Frost Manor’s LEC, “holds her breath” along with then-LEC Lyndsay Burton while celebrating the “under the sea” theme at the home for that month.

Frost Manor turns to frosty treats to keep residents hydrated

Team members are providing milkshakes, slushies and other drinks to keep everyone’s fluid intake high during warm days of summer

Things have become rather “frosty” at Frost Manor after team members at the Lindsay long-term care home came up with an idea that is encouraging everyone to stay well hydrated during the warm days of summer – and residents are loving it.

Every month the life enrichment team creates a theme to engage residents. For July, the team chose “old-fashioned frosty treats” as the theme. The team even adorned a wall of the activity room with a mural of an ice-cream cart with these words to celebrate the theme.

Due to the warm weather, extra attention is always placed on keeping residents hydrated in summer, and adding special beverages to the drink cart is the perfect way to keep residents’ fluid intake high, Amy Whitehead, Frost Manor’s life enrichment co-ordinator, tells The OMNIway.

“With all these really hot days, we started doing a happy hour where we would pick a fun treat – like a slushie or a milkshake or something cold – and we’d go around and offer one to all the residents and staff,” she says.

The aim is to keep hydration levels high amongst residents and it’s working well, Amy says.

Plus, this has been an opportunity for team members to get creative with drinks and treats, and the residents are loving it, she adds.

“It’s always fun to try something different, so the residents will look forward to having something new each time,” Amy says.

“I like to call it ‘happy hour’ because it’s a fun way of saying, ‘let’s get some extra hydration.’ ”

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Frost Manor residents ‘drumming up’ some fun in new program

DROM program combines music, exercise and meditation

Frost Manor residents have been “drumming up” some fun and exercise in recent months.

In March, Amy Whitehead, who was then a life enrichment aide, participated in an online training session with then-life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Lyndsay Burton to learn about the DROM program and bring it back to the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home’s residents.

The name DROM is derived from merging drumming techniques with the meditation chant called the “om”.

Each session starts with a focus on breathing to relax everyone and get participants ready. The second segment is the “energized portion” where multiple songs for the drumming session are performed by residents beating drumsticks on stability balls to the beat of songs Amy, who is now the Frost Manor LEC, plays for them. The final segment, the “calming portion”, focuses on positive affirmation and meditation.

Amy says the program, which is held in small groups to adhere to protocols in place to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a big hit with residents.

“Everyone goes away feeling good and can carry on with their day on a positive note,” she tells The OMNIway.

Amy teaches residents different drumming patterns and techniques, and residents beat their drumsticks on the stability balls to the rhythm of songs.

“For one song, I got them to use their drumsticks (to the rhythm of) a song that had a trumpet session in it,” Amy says. “You can really get creative with all the different ways that you can drum.”

The timing of the program has been important, Amy says.

Before the pandemic was declared in March 2020, Frost Manor was hosting up to three live performances from local entertainers every week. Due to provincial restrictions, the home has not been able to have indoor entertainment since the pandemic began.

However, the music component of the DROM program is helping meet residents’ musical needs, Amy says.

“We really wanted to get something that we could do for them that would incorporate music because they’re really missing that,” she says.

“It was really great to be able to bring back some type of musical program for them, as well as an exercise program to get everyone moving. Everybody can laugh and have fun and, of course, this really amps up the positivity as well.”

The program is being held once every two weeks. Currently, Amy hosts the program, but two life enrichment aides have expressed interest in being trained to lead the activity. Once they are trained, Amy says she hopes to offer the program more often.

Given the DROM program’s success, Amy says she would recommend it to other long-term care homes.

“If you love music and you’re a fun and positive person, I absolutely recommend it to everybody.”

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Internal promotion shows OMNI’s commitment to team members: administrator

Neil MacDonald is one of four Frost Manor managers to be promoted from within the organization

Neil MacDonald says one of the great things about working for OMNI Health Care is that the organization values its employees and demonstrates commitment to staff members by promoting people from within.

This is something he’s experienced first-hand.

After spending much of his career working at OMNI homes as a dietary aide, cook and nutritional care manager, Neil became the administrator at Frost Manor in Lindsay on April 8.

Promoting employees from within the organization and investing in its people are hallmarks of the commitment OMNI has for the people working in its 18 long-term care homes, Neil says.

“I think it’s critical,” Neil says of internal promotion. “First of all, as employees of the company, it’s something that really helps provide you with a positive outlook in your career; to know that you could go from a dietary aide or a PSW (personal support worker) up to a top position within a home or within the company.”

Neil notes that several members of the Frost Manor management team have been promoted from within.

Brittney Sharpe, before becoming Frost Manor’s director of care, was a volunteer, PSW and a nurse at the home.

Sarah Wokral started at Frost Manor as a registered practical nurse and then became RAI co-ordinator.

Amy Whitehead, who started at Frost Manor as a life enrichment aide, recently became life enrichment co-ordinator.

“Four members of our management team were promotions from within, and that’s great for employees and for retention, but also for the quality of care that we can provide because we are groomed into the OMNIway and the quality of care that we strive to provide,” Neil says.

“We have that extra time spent learning (the OMNI) values and practising those values, and then being put into a position to lead people towards those values, I think is very advantageous for the care that we provide.”

– Part 3 of a three-part story

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OMNI support, training and networking helped prepare Frost administrator for new position

Neil MacDonald also says his previous experience as the Riverview NCM has been an asset

Neil MacDonald says support from OMNI Health Care, the training he’s been provided and the networking opportunities he’s received as an OMNI team member have helped prepare him for the administrator position at Frost Manor.

Neil became administrator at the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home April 8. Prior to becoming administrator, Neil worked as a dietary aide/cook at Frost Manor and served as the nutritional care manager at Riverview Manor in Peterborough.

Along his career path, Neil says OMNI has been supportive on many levels. He has also taken advantage of the educational opportunities the organization offers.

As an attendee of OMNI’s Quality Forums, Neil says he’s learned a great deal from the variety of sessions offered and from the networking opportunities that are part of the events.

“(OMNI has) supported me through many steps of education in preparation to become administrator in the home, they have really supported me along each step of the way,” Neil tells The OMNIway.

“Furthermore, having the ongoing networking and education at the OMNI manager forums and having those sessions and meeting other administrators in the homes was very advantageous and has helped build a lot of skills and knowledge.”

Neil says he has also worked closely with the OMNI home office team and “learned so much” as he transitioned into his new role.

“They are so easy to communicate with (and) they are always just a phone call or an e-mail away to show their support and guidance,” he says of the home office team.

Having spent several years working in OMNI homes has also helped Neil acclimatize to his new role, he says.

Neil says he’s worked with “very good administrators in several different homes” and garnered a wealth of knowledge by observing their leadership skills.

His time as NCM has also provided the skills needed to build a strong team and work with others towards the ultimate goal of creating a high-quality living experience for residents.

“As far as (being an NCM), I was part of a successful team working to achieve a common goal, and I think translating that skill set to this one has been really beneficial,” he says.

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From cook to administrator, Neil MacDonald discusses his OMNI career path

Neil, who recently became Frost Manor’s administrator, says he was looking at managerial roles from his earliest days with OMNI

Several years ago, when he was working as a cook and dietary aide at Riverview Manor, Neil MacDonald was thinking about a career path that would lead him to become a long-term-care home administrator.

On April 8, after stints working at Riverview Manor, Frost Manor, Springdale Country Manor and Willows Estate, Neil became the administrator at Frost Manor in Lindsay.

“I (knew that) at some point I would want to pursue an advancement towards (the administrator position) – I didn’t know I would become an administrator, but I did strive towards it,” he tells The OMNIway.

Neil started his career with OMNI Health Care as a cook and dietary aide at Riverview Manor. He completed culinary school and accepted a position as Frost Manor’s nutritional care manager in 2014.

Neil later became NCM at Riverview Manor in Peterborough. After a short time away from OMNI, Neil came back to help at Willows Estate during an outbreak early in 2021.

During his time with OMNI, Neil has also worked short placements when needed at Springdale Country Manor and Pleasant Meadow Manor.

Two months into the administrator position, Neil says he’s enjoying the job and there’s a lot of familiarity for him at Frost Manor.

He notes that he and nutritional care manager Zach Jarvis went to culinary school together, and he has worked with several other Frost Manor team members over the years.

“It’s really great to step into a role and be familiar with the team you work with,” he says.

“I really enjoy the teamwork and the camaraderie, and I guess my favourite part (of being administrator) is understanding how the management team and the staff at Frost Manor really work together towards the common goal of providing the best quality of resident care that we can provide and being a part of that – this has been the most rewarding part so far.”

Looking ahead, Neil says he wants to see everyone working at Frost Manor continue to grow as a team and achieve the best possible quality of care for residents.

“That’s really what I want to be successful at and what I look forward to each day – that camaraderie and teamwork towards always improving ourselves, which in turn ultimately provides better quality of care for our residents,” he says.

– This is Part 1 of a three-part story

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Revamping favourite activities and creating new ones keeps programming fun at Frost Manor

By making some adjustments that follow safety protocols, staff members continue to deliver favourite activities

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Frost Manor life enrichment team has been revamping some of the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home’s residents’ favourite activities to meet safety protocols and keep the good times rolling.

Large-group programming is currently on hold and social distancing is in effect to keep everyone safe, but by making adjustments to favourite activities staff members can still deliver programming residents enjoy while adhering to important protocols.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Lyndsay Burton says some board games have been laminated to ensure they can be easily sanitized. For example, Speed Monopoly, a popular board game with residents, has been safely brought back, as have Family Feud, Blurt and crokinole, Lyndsay says.

“We are trying to think creatively with the programs we offer, so we’re trying to make sure we can adapt everything to social distancing and we’re keeping everything sanitized and cleaned,” she tells The OMNIway.

The Frost Manor life enrichment team has also started a chair-dance program. As part of the program, residents are learning different routines to a variety of songs.

Chair-dancing allows residents to replicate dance movements, which is an effective way to exercise, while in a sitting position.

Lyndsay and life enrichment aide Amy Whitehead have also recently learned how to lead a cardio drumming program which the life enrichment department plans to launch within the coming weeks.

Cardio drumming is an activity where residents will use drumsticks or wooden spoons to strike yoga balls to musical beats for upper-body exercise. The activity features a warm-up session, an energized session and another session to cool down.

“We are hopefully going to have that in effect by June which is really exciting,” Lyndsay says.

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Frost Manor residents get their own vending machine

Not only is the machine providing residents with easy access to drinks and snacks, it’s being used as an infection-control tool

After a staff vending machine at Frost Manor was slated for removal, residents of the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home decided to buy the machine so they would have easy access to soft drinks, chocolate bars and other snacks.

The vending machine was moved from the staff room to a common area of the home. The machine has been christened “Frosty Vending”, with the words embossed on the side.

Lyndsay Burton, Frost Manor’s life enrichment co-ordinator, says proceeds from the vending machine will be added to funds raised by sales from the home’s tuck cart, a mobile cart selling drinks and snacks.

“(The vending machine) has become a great extension of the tuck cart and is a win-win situation (because) residents are now able to access treats and goodies at all hours, and staff are able to purchase from the vending machine, further supporting the residents’ tuck cart fund,” she tells The OMNIway.

The tuck cart fund has been used in the past to buy special items, such as the home’s campfire pit, as well as to help pay for entertainment before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

But Lyndsay notes the vending machine has been valuable in another way.

Since the vending machine sees lots of traffic, team members are using it as a tool to help teach residents about the importance of washing their hands before and after buying drinks and snacks.

“Residents have really responded well to the infection-control practices in the home and are encouraging others to hand-wash as well,” Lyndsay says.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Frost Manor resident Sylvia Trumbull poses with “Frost Vending”, the vending machine the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home’s residents’ council recently acquired.

Annual Tropical Day brings sunny atmosphere to Frost Manor

A Hawaiian dance from the environmental services team was the highlight of the day

Frost Manor hosted its annual Tropical Day on March 25, and in keeping with the spirit of the occasion, the environmental services team was inspired to bring a little bit of Hawaii to residents of the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home.

The environmental services team dressed in seashell-top bikinis, grass skirts and leis and did a Hawaiian dance through the dining rooms during breakfast, a gesture that received a round of applause from residents and their fellow staff members.

With restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team wanted to bring some extra fun and laughter to everyone to keep spirits up, says Frost Manor environmental services and maintenance manager Rick Riel.

“There was much-needed laughter and funny comments,” he tells The OMNIway.

Tropical Day was part of Spirit Days, a string of themed days where residents and staff members participate in activities centred on fun ideas.

After their dance, the environmental services team posed for a photo, and Rick, who can be seen in the centre of the picture (see above top photo), appears to be tired out from watching staff perform many hours of high-intensity cleaning.

“Environmental services aides Robert Reynolds, Tanya Smith and Nathan Durham remained happy and upbeat about performing these tasks daily,” Rick jokes, adding his staff has done a “great job … keeping the home clean, safe and fun for all our residents.”

The life enrichment department ensured every resident was in the spirit of the day by offering pina coladas, and there was also a tropical-themed painting class where residents painted hibiscus flowers.

Lyndsay Burton, Frost Manor’s life enrichment co-ordinator, says events like this are crucial during this challenging time when large-group activities and outside entertainment are not possible.

“Spirit days such as these are so important during the pandemic, it is a time for us to have fun, let loose and be creative,” she says.

“We had so much fun bringing in the warm weather; since we can’t travel, we brought the vacation to Frost Manor this year.”

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Bingo, a prize draw and green beer mark St. Patrick’s Day at Frost Manor

Safety restrictions meant activities were low-key, but there was still lots of fun and laughter for residents

St. Patrick’s Day was low-key this year at Frost Manor, but the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home’s residents and team members still celebrated all things Irish on March 17.

In the morning, residents and staff dressed up in green St. Patrick’s Day attire and shared a laugh at what everyone was wearing, says Frost Manor life enrichment co-ordinator Lyndsay Burton.

Later in the day, residents and staff played “lucky bingo” in the different areas of the home. There was also a prize draw from a “pot of gold,” and those selecting a winning token received a cash prize.

Since there is currently no large-group programming at Frost Manor due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, team members organized St. Patrick’s Day activities for small groups of residents, with social distancing and other safety measures in effect.

And, of course, no St. Patrick’s Day would be complete without refreshments, so team members served pints of green beer to residents who wished to have a drink as well as other festive treats.

Because of restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the pandemic, St. Patrick’s Day had to be toned down compared to previous years, but residents still enjoyed the fun and laughter that comes with the occasion, Lyndsay says.

“The residents enjoyed the special programming, and we said, ‘everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s day,’ ” she says.

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