Administrator emphasizes nothing is above, below or beyond in LTC

‘That’s why we’re here — we’re here to support’

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 — Deron Hamel

During the last Garden Terrace staff Christmas dinner, a personal support worker’s (PSW’s) pager went off, but when he excused himself to go tend to the resident needing his assistance, administrator Carolyn Della Foresta and another manager insisted they go instead.

This type of camaraderie is essential when you’re working in a long-term care home, says Della Foresta. In short, when you’re working in long-term care no job is too big or too small when it comes to caring for residents and when you’re a manager you need to be willing to step in and help those working on the floor, the administrator adds.

The culture of helping others and always being supportive of staff members is embedded in the DNA at the Ottawa-area long-term care home and at other OMNI Health Care homes.

“That’s why we’re here — we’re here to support,” Della Foresta tells the OMNIway. “We can’t lose sight of the support we need to offer (all staff members).”

In another recent example of this type of support, Della Foresta and assistant director of care Christine Schyf stepped in when a resident was in crisis. A doctor had requested the resident’s rings be removed from her fingers for a medical reason but the resident, who is affected by cognitive impairment, couldn’t comprehend this.

Della Foresta and Schyf stayed with the resident and helped the doctor remove the rings, which the resident had worn for years. Della Foresta and Schyf used supportive measures to redirect the resident’s attention.

“Afterwards, the resident’s daughter came up to us and said, ‘You guys went way above what we expected,’ ” Della Foresta says.

The next day Garden Terrace had a strategic planning meeting. During the meeting, Della Foresta wrote three words on a board: Above. Below. Beyond. These words refer to parameters, and no job should be above, below or beyond anyone working in a long-term care home, the administrator says.

“We have to do everything we can within our power to make this the best home possible and make sure we’re providing the best care,” she says.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Helping others is the OMNIway

Streamway Villa’s annual Christmas bazaar is an important event at the Cobourg long-term care home. Proceeds from this year’s event will go towards relief in the Philippines as well as to providing presents for two children in need through the Northumberland Mall’s Giving Tree.

Spirit of giving shining through at homes

December 2, 2013 — Deron Hamel and Jennifer Neutel 

OMNI Health Care long-term care homes have a long record of proving their commitment to residents and local communities, but when a large-scale crisis occurs the team members can also be counted on helping people who live far away.

This is evident with the relief efforts that have been coming from OMNI homes in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated parts of the Philippines Nov. 8. The typhoon claimed about 4,000 lives and displaced about four million people.

OMNI’s two homes in Kanata, Forest Hill and Garden Terrace, have several staff members who are from the Philippines and, as a show of support, their co-workers wanted to help them with fundraising initiatives.

Shortly after the typhoon, Forest Hill personal support worker Jocelyn Geraghty was speaking on the phone with her mother who lives in the Philippines. Geraghty wanted to know what people in Canada could do to help. Since many people in the Philippines earn their living fishing, her mother suggested people raise money to buy boats so they could once again work. Many fishing boats were destroyed in the disaster.

Geraghty’s colleague, registered nurse Laarni Casiple, is also from the Philippines. Both staff members say even small donations will go a long way in helping people, adding that fishing boats typically cost about C$100 in the Philippines.

“We thought that, amongst us here (at Forest Hill), maybe we can help one family, because at the moment there is so much of an influx of support coming from all over the world to help the victims,” Casiple says. “The recovery is a long process. If we could help one family get a fishing boat, it would help them start.”

To help raise money for the relief effort, Forest Hill hosted a pancake breakfast on two shifts Nov. 19.

Like Forest Hill, Garden Terrace has also been raising money for the relief efforts. Following the typhoon, staff members at Garden Terrace rallied around one staff member whose family had lost their home in the storm.

The team immediately began a fundraising initiative.

Administrator Carolyn Della Foresta says the support the staff member has received has been heart-warming.

“The staff have been so kind and concerned about one another — it has really further brought to light the community we have amongst our staff members,” she says.

Streamway Villa’s annual Christmas bazaar is an important event at the Cobourg long-term care home. Proceeds from this year’s event will go towards relief in the Philippines as well as to providing presents for two children in need through the Northumberland Mall’s Giving Tree.

The initiative began when the home’s residents’ council vice-president came to life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Verleysen’s office, noting she had spoken with other residents and they all agreed these causes were what they wanted the bazaar proceeds to be spent on.

“It’s definitely going to be one busy Christmas, however, it’s going to be probably the best bazaar yet because of what we are putting the funds towards,” Verleysen says.

OMNI has also teamed up with the homes to raise money for relief efforts in the Philippines. The organization is matching donations raised at the homes. The Government of Canada is doubling every individual donation, so every dollar donated will be turned into $4.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Garden Terrace staff, OMNI come together for typhoon relief

Administrator commends resulting team effort

November 20, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Garden Terrace and OMNI Health Care have come together to support relief efforts in the Philippines in the wake of the typhoon that claimed the lives of approximately 4,000 people and displaced as many as four million others.

“The staff have been so kind and concerned about one another — it has really further brought to light the community we have amongst our staff members,”

“The staff have been so kind and concerned about one another — it has really further brought to light the community we have amongst our staff members,”

Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines Nov. 8. Garden Terrace has many staff members who are from the Philippines. Following the disaster, administrator Carolyn Della Foresta approached each team member from the Philippines to inquire about their families.

Fortunately, no team members lost family members to the typhoon, however, one personal support worker’s family lost their home.

Following the storm, one good thing did happen — staff members came together to support each other, Della Foresta says.

“The staff have been so kind and concerned about one another — it has really further brought to light the community we have amongst our staff members,” she tells the OMNIway.

To support people in the Philippines, the Kanata long-term care home has been raising money since Nov. 12 for the relief effort. At the time of this writing, $423 has been raised. OMNI has agreed to match donations dollar for dollar and the Government of Canada is doubling every individual donation. In other words, every dollar donated to Garden Terrace will be turned into $4.

If you would like to donate to the relief effort, you can do so by calling Garden Terrace at 613-254-9702, ext. 224.

OMNI has also teamed up with Forest Hill to raise money for relief efforts in the Philippines. Like with Garden Terrace, OMNI is matching donations raised at that home. In tomorrow’s OMNIway we’ll hear two Forest Hill staff members from the Philippines share their thoughts on events in their home country as well as about the support they’re seeing from their colleagues and OMNI.

Do you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway? If so, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have any feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Garden Terrace caregivers star in information video

YouTube video explores caregivers’ work

November 11, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Two Garden Terrace front-line staff members have helped create a YouTube video providing insight into experiences if working with people who have a cognitive impairment.

Personal support workers (PSWs) Ashley Astle and Dieune Simplice worked as actors in Caregivers, a video made by Interplay Creative Media on behalf of You and Me for Memories, an Ottawa-area grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research.

The video was screened during You and Me for Memories fifth annual An Evening to Remember gala Oct. 26. The gala raises money to further the research of Dr. Richard Bergeron, a neuroscience specialist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Astle provided English dialogue, while Simplice spoke French in the video. Actors Kent Goranson and Penelope Goranson portrayed long-term care residents affected by dementia.

The six-minute video delves into what front-line caregivers do in their work with residents who are living with a cognitive impairment; issues such as feeding and bathing are explored, and Astle and Simplice demonstrate how to hold a conversation with people affected by dementia.

“I take each day as it comes and I don’t have any plans when I’m working on an Alzheimer’s unit because when you come into work things tend to change,” Astle says.

In the video, Astle explains why she chose her career path and what her work means to her.

“When I go home at the end of the day I feel good about myself and I know that I’m in this because I’m passionate, caring and I understand how (dementia) affects (residents) every day,” she says

Click here to watch the video.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or email deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Garden Terrace’s success at awards ceremony reflective of OMNI’s values

Garden Terrace staff members are seen here at this year's You and Me for Memories An Evening to Remember gala.

Garden Terrace staff members are seen here at this year’s You and Me for Memories An Evening to Remember gala.

“Administrator praises nominees for focus on the OMNIway”

November 1, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Since Ottawa-area Alzheimer’s support group You and Me for Memories launched the Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award in 2009 three OMNI Health Care team members have won the accolade. This, notes Garden Terrace administrator Carolyn Della Foresta, says a lot about OMNI as a long-term care provider.

While staff members adhere to each of OMNI’s core values, the administrator points to the value of “respect” as being one that gets much focus from this year’s nominees.

Della Foresta says the success OMNI staff members have had winning the award is also indicative of the organization’s motto — “Our passion is people.”

Garden Terrace life enrichment aide (LEA) Kellie Bennett is the most recent winner of the award, which is given out at the annual An Evening to Remember gala to front-line caregivers in the Ottawa region who have shown outstanding performance in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

Two other OMNI team members, Garden Terrace personal support worker (PSW) Birru Firew and Almonte Country Haven LEA Jessica Lynch, were also among the five finalists chosen by an independent selection committee.

Past winners include Forest Hill PSW Beverley Berard, who won in 2010, and Garden Terrace PSW Abe Asmeron, who took the honour in 2009.

“Of the five years, three winners have been from OMNI, so that says something about the staff that we have,” Della Foresta tells the OMNIway.

While scores of award nominations came in to the selection committee from across the Ottawa region, Della Foresta says she’s honoured that three caregivers represented OMNI and two were from Garden Terrace.

Della Foresta also praises Bennett and Firew for their nominations making it to the final judging, adding they deserve to be recognized for their tireless efforts serving residents.

“It was so fantastic to see them getting the kudos they deserve, because they don’t get that as often on the floor as they should,” she says.

You and Me for Memories is a grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research. It was started in 2008 by family members of Garden Terrace residents.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Kellie Bennett’s caring approach to programming recognized

‘Her respect and genuine regard for each individual resident comes through clearly in both her words and actions’

October 24, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Creating meaningful programming for residents affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia is a challenge for most programming departments, but one Garden Terrace life enrichment worker embraces that challenge — and gets positive results.

Because of her tenacity and resident focus, life enrichment aide (LEA) Kellie Bennett has been nominated for the Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award, which will be announced Oct. 26 during the You and Me for Memories Evening to Remember Gala in Ottawa.

In her letter to the nomination committee, Garden Terrace administrator Carolyn Della Foresta praises Bennett’s ability to engage residents and get a positive reaction.

“I have watched as Kellie has sung her heart out as she walks around a room, reaching forward and clasping residents’ hands in an effort to engage them — I have watched those residents respond to this gesture in a way I have never seen them respond to other staff,” says Della Foresta.

“She can elicit a smile, a wink, a hug from people that many would consider unreachable. . . . Kellie shows incredible patience with residents as they try to complete a task for themselves during a program — she doesn’t rush them — she encourages them and then she celebrates with them.”

Bennett takes a personalized approach when working on an activity with residents affected by cognitive impairment, often changing her methods until she finds an intervention that works. Often, a resident will enjoy an activity they didn’t think they wanted to do, simply because of Bennett’s kind, caring approach.

And Bennett always upholds residents’ dignity, Della Foresta adds.

“Her respect and genuine regard for each individual resident comes through clearly in both her words and actions,” she says.

The Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award is given out annually during the You and Me for Memories and Evening to Remember Gala to front-line caregivers in the Ottawa region who have shown outstanding performance in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

You and Me for Memories is a grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research. It was started in 2008 by family members of Garden Terrace residents.

— More to come

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

PSW praised for focus on ensuring people’s dignity

Birru Firew nominated for Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award

October 22, 2013 — Deron Hamel

On any given day, Garden Terrace personal support worker (PSW) Birru Firew can be found working with residents affected by cognitive impairment and going above and beyond his responsibilities.

Firew often takes on tasks that increase his workload, says administrator Carolyn Della Foresta. But because his No. 1 priority is residents he never shows an ounce of stress, she adds, noting he exhibits patience, kindness and genuine caring every day.

Ensuring residents living with dementia maintain their dignity is of utmost importance to Firew, says Della Foresta, adding she has seen the PSW encourage residents to complete tasks independently. When they do, Firew is standing there with a big smile.

This is why the administrator has nominated Firew for the Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award, which will be announced Oct. 26 during the You and Me for Memories Evening to Remember Gala in Ottawa.

“His respect and reverence for each of the residents entrusted to his care is evident in his words, his actions and his smile,” says Della Foresta in her nomination.

“His soothing and calm approach with his residents can be described as angelic.  Even though his workload is tremendous and his duties are taxing, no one around him would ever know and the residents he is caring for would certainly never feel that he is experiencing any stress.”

As a testament to Firew’s gift as a caregiver, Della Foresta says the PSW has amazing success working with female residents. This, she notes, is often challenging for male caregivers, but Firew’s caring nature overcomes this, she says.

“I believe that our residents see in Birru what each of us would so desperately long for if we were in their shoes — I believe they see comfort.”

Della Foresta tells the nominating committee that Firew doesn’t expect any recognition for his work — for him it’s all about the residents.

“Nothing with Birru is for show — it is genuinely who he is and how he desires to care for his residents,” she says.

“He can often be seen reassuring a resident, calming them down when they are upset for no apparent reason and in doing so preserving their pride and helping them back to a place of peace.”

The Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award is given out annually during the You and Me for Memories and Evening to Remember Gala to front-line caregivers in the Ottawa region who have shown outstanding performance in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

You and Me for Memories is a grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research. It was started in 2008 by family members of Garden Terrace residents.

— More to come