Fall Prevention Month organizers urging people and organizations to generate ideas to reduce fall risk

Falls are the No. 1 cause of hospitalization resulting from injury amongst Canadians aged 65 and older

November is Fall Prevention Month, an annual Canadian campaign aimed at raising awareness of the impact fall-related injury has on the greater health-care sector and generating ideas to prevent falls from happening.

As part of the month, people and health-care organizations are urged to focus on raising awareness of the importance of fall prevention by promoting fall prevention in the workplace as well as on social media by sharing successful best practices.

On its website, the Government of Canada says falls are the No. 1 cause of hospitalization resulting from injury amongst Canadians aged 65 and older.

The website also notes that falls have an adverse effect on seniors’ quality of life as well as a negative impact on the greater health-care system.

In 2018, the direct cost of falls resulting in injury amongst Canadians 65 and older was $5.6 billion, the government says.

OMNI Health Care long-term care homes have a strong focus on fall prevention. Physiotherapy, exercise programs, toileting regimens, family education and ensuring home areas are properly lit are among the initiatives homes take to mitigate falls.

Physiotherapy and exercise programs help enhance mobility. Assisting residents with regular toileting helps decrease the risk of a person trying to stand up on their own to make their way to the washroom. Making sure areas are well-lit helps people see where they’re going.

The Fall Prevention Month website is asking people and organizations to collaborate to promote fall prevention awareness and share ideas.

“Together we can raise the profile of fall prevention and encourage everyone to see their role in preventing falls and fall-related injuries across the lifespan,” the website says.

Click here to learn more about Fall Prevention Month.

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OMNI’s exceptional food quality and team members’ love for their work shine through during March Madness contest

Between March and September, The OMNIway showcased examples of the amazing food residents in OMNI Health Care’s long-term care homes enjoy, prepared by dedicated team members who are committed to their art.

The March Madness recipe challenge encouraged nutritional care team members to choose their favourite recipes and enter them in the bracket contest, which was similar to sports playoffs.

During the contest, nutritional care managers and cooks prepared their favourite meals, plated them and took photos that were sent to OMNI head office. The photos were accompanied by the name of each meal and its recipe.

Eighteen recipes were submitted, and team members had fun showcasing their talents, which was exactly what Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, was aiming for when he created the contest.

Once the photos and recipes were posted online, OMNIway readers and OMNI team members voted for their favourite recipes. The contest ran each week until early May.

The winning recipe was a Mediterranean omelette created by Country Terrace nutritional care team member Josephine Goddard. The omelette is a medley of spinach, eggplant, red pepper, mushrooms, onions, feta cheese and garlic.

What truly shone through during this six-month story series was how much nutritional care team members enjoy their work and how they marry their love of food with their dedication to residents.

Team members shared how they were inspired to create the recipes they entered, and there were some interesting stories behind these meals.

One team member shared a childhood memory of the meatball stew her mother would make; another was inspired to submit the recipe for the roast turkey he often makes for Sunday lunch.

What stood out during the March Madness contest was how team members wanted to share their favourite food memories with the residents they serve.

That’s a special kind of commitment.

CPSW 2022 focusing on continuously improving safety for older adults through dialogue and action

The 18th annual campaign runs Oct. 24-28

Canadian Patient Safety Week (CPSW) kicks off today (Oct. 24), and this year’s campaign is emphasizing the importance of continuously improving safety for older adults through dialogue and action.

On its website, CPSW organizer Healthcare Excellence Canada states that conversation is the catalyst for creating a stronger safety culture across the greater health-care continuum, which is why the theme “Press Play on Safety Conversations” was chosen for CPSW 2022.

“When we have safety conversations, it changes the way we think about safety,” the Healthcare Excellence Canada website says. “Ask questions, listen and act.”

While Canadian long-term care homes, hospitals and other health-care providers place safety as a top priority, the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in March 2020, has added another layer of safety challenges, Healthcare Excellence Canada says.

To help overcome these challenges and get safety conversations started, Healthcare Excellence Canada has created a free toolkit for health-care stakeholders to use to engage people.

The toolkit includes tips on how to provide safe spaces and initiate discussions about safety in order to work towards positive outcomes as well as a list of webinars and other virtual events care providers can use to learn more about continuous quality improvement as it relates to safety.

Given the additional strain Canadian health-care providers are experiencing today due to the pandemic, Healthcare Excellence Canada says it’s crucial to get more safety-centred conversations started to mitigate risks.

“Now more than ever, we need to focus on patient and healthcare provider safety,” the organization says. “Together we can create safety, eliminate incidents of unintended harm, as well as act on and learn from errors.”

Now in its 18th year, CPSW is an annual campaign aimed at encouraging stakeholders across the greater health-care sector to focus on safety.

Click here to learn more about Canadian Patient Safety Week.

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Innovative thinking remains in high gear at OMNI homes

Team members working in OMNI Health Care homes have been showing their ingenuity throughout autumn and using their knack for innovative thinking to create programs and ideas to help keep quality of life high for the residents they serve.

Michelle Geeves, a new life enrichment aide (LEA) at Springdale Country Manor, recently created a program that’s bringing residents back to primetime TV of the 1980s.

The program, called Laughing with the Golden Girls, sees residents watching episodes of the Golden Girls on DVD and then participating in trivia about the program and a discussion about the episode over cheesecake – the Golden Girls’ favourite dessert.

“Residents remember the Golden Girls well, and we have cheesecake because that was the Golden Girls’ favourite snack,” Michelle tells The OMNIway.

“We all laughed and thought it was fun.”

The Laughing with the Golden Girls program has prompted lots of reminiscing about the days when it was a top-rated TV show, says Springdale life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney.

“Michelle gets a good group of residents together and they sit around and chat and create memories and do all kinds of fun stuff,” she says.

It has been Christmas year-round at Riverview Manor for the past 22 months, thanks to the ingenuity of one of the home’s LEAs.

With limited space in the two dining rooms for Christmas trees – due to COVID-19 pandemic protocols, residents have been spaced six feet apart during mealtimes – Tina Hutchinson came up with the idea to put trees on corner walls in December 2020.

Tina and the life enrichment team attached branches from the home’s artificial Christmas trees to the walls and decorated them with holiday-themed ornaments and lights as they do every holiday season.

After the Christmas season ended, the team decided to leave the trees up and add decorations throughout the year to match seasonal themes, Tina explains, noting the trees have remained popular conversation pieces among residents.

“So now, decorations for every season, every holiday, are put up on the tree,” she says.

At Maplewood, staff members are being encouraged to bring their pets to work from home to spend time with residents and their colleagues. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maplewood residents received frequent and meaningful visits from St. John Ambulance therapy dogs and their handlers.

But while restrictions began easing this year and other volunteers started returning, Maplewood has been unable to get the pet therapy visits residents enjoyed prior to the pandemic, says administrator Rachel Corkery.

In some cases, volunteers have moved away or have retired from volunteering, resulting in a shortage of pet therapy volunteers.

This is where staff can help, Rachel says.

Allowing staff members to bring their pets to spend the day at the home is a three-way symbiotic relationship, she says: a pet, such as a dog, visiting the home pleases residents and staff, and the animal is getting lots of attention as well, she notes.

“It’s hard not to smile to smile when you see a pet, especially something like a little puppy, walking through the home,” she says.

Royal memories, a chip truck visit and residents’ council week mark a busy month at OMNI homes

September was a busy month at OMNI Health Care homes, and team members did an amazing job of organizing meaningful events for residents.

The big news across the globe was the Sept. 8 passing of Queen Elizabeth II, who served as head of state to the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth realms – including Canada – for 70 years.

At Forest Hill, residents and staff members spent the week of Sept. 19 to Sept. 25 paying homage to Her Majesty with a variety of events, beginning with watching the Queen’s funeral on TV live from Westminster Abbey.

Residents were also engaged in a variety of TV programs and documentaries about Queen Elizabeth II. A favourite activity amongst residents was watching a YouTube video featuring a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace, the reigning monarch’s official residence in London.

Life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Craig Forrest said the week meant a lot to the residents.

“Many residents are from a generation where the monarchy was really important, and they were happy for us to honour the Queen,” he said.

Summer may have turned to autumn on Sept. 22, but there was still enough sunny weather on Sept. 23 for a chip truck to swing by Streamway Villa and dish up portions of poutine, the favourite Canadian snack consisting of fries, gravy and cheese curd.

After the residents got their poutine from the Personal Touch Catering chip truck, they joined their loved ones and the Cobourg long-term care home’s team members in the scenic courtyard to enjoy the afternoon.

The idea for the chip truck visit came from LEC Laurie Kracht, and members of the residents’ council voted to fund the event.

“We haven’t been able to go anywhere, and I wanted to do something to also include the staff,” Laurie said. “I spoke with the residents’ council, and the residents’ council gave the OK to us to splurge on them, so that’s what we did.”

Residents’ Council Week was Sept. 12-18, and Willows Estate marked the week by hosting a variety of activities that were both fun and informative.

The week, organized each year by the Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils (OARC), aims to raise awareness about the important role residents’ councils play in long-term care homes.

Among the activities team members organized to celebrate the week were a tea party, a photo booth and trivia about residents’ councils. Team members created a display wall that offered information about Residents’ Council Week.

LEC Teddy Mazzuca said that although Willows Estate celebrates Residents’ Council Week every year, this year’s event had a great presence, a fact she attributes to pandemic restrictions easing this year.

“I think we focused more on Residents’ Council Week this year, just because we’re trying to get back into the swing of things,” she said.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Forest Hill residents are pictured here at a high tea that was hosted Sept. 23 during a week that honoured Queen Elizabeth II.

Canadians encouraged to participate in National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Today marks the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, and people and organizations across the country are being encouraged to acknowledge the day by hosting activities and educational events that honour the First Nations people of Canada who survived the residential school system as well as those children who did not return home from residential schools.

People can honour the day by wearing orange, the official colour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and organizations can support the day by hosting educational activities using resources from the Government of Canada’s website.

During the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2021, OMNI Health Care long-term care homes hosted events that involved residents and staff members.

For example, West Lake Terrace hosted an all-day event that included introducing residents to traditional First Nations foods and holding an information session focused on the traditions and customs of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.

The event also featured a video presentation that included an interview with a residential school survivor.

Everyone was also asked to wear orange, a colour that has important significance.

In 1973, Phyllis Webstad, a then-six-year-old First Nations student from British Columbia, had an orange shirt taken from her by teachers at the residential school she attended.

In addition to today being the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, it’s also Orange Shirt Day, which was first acknowledged on Sept. 30, 2013, to raise awareness of the injustices First Nations, Inuit and Métis people faced in residential schools.

Orange has been designated as the colour of remembrance for the children who didn’t return home from residential schools.

“The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations,” the Government of Canada says on its website.

“On September 30, we encourage all Canadians to wear orange to honour the thousands of Survivors of residential schools.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured above, West Lake Terrace team members wear orange shirts during the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30, 2021.

Did you know today is World Alzheimer’s Day?

The campaign’s organizing associations offer ideas to help people and workplaces raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia

Today is World Alzheimer’s Day, a campaign that takes place across the globe every year to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia as well as to share information on how to help people affected by cognitive impairment.

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and World Alzheimer’s Day is the focal point of the campaign, which is organized by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), an association of organizations across the world that work to raise awareness of the chronic neurodegenerative disease and to reduce its stigma.

The Alzheimer Society of Canada estimates that 597,300 Canadians were living with dementia in 2020. By 2030, the organization expects that number to grow to nearly one million.

As with Alzheimer’s Month, the theme for Alzheimer’s Day 2022 is Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s, which is the continuation of the 2021 theme.

Due to “recent developments and potential breakthroughs, in both dementia treatment and support,” there will also be a significant focus on examining the importance of post-diagnostic support for people living with Alzheimer’s, ADI says.

On its website, UK-based organization Inclusive Employers says individuals and workplaces can get involved with World Alzheimer’s Day by hosting fundraising events, promoting awareness through social media, learning more about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and revisiting workplace policies.

ADI notes that people and workplaces can host events virtually.

“Since COVID-19, many associations, including ADI members, host events and activities virtually,” ADI says on its website. “These activities include webinars, remote memory walks and more.”

ADI says people and organizations looking to use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to raise awareness can use the hashtags #KnowDementia and #KnowAlzheimers for this year’s campaign.

You can learn more about World Alzheimer’s Day and Alzheimer’s month by visiting the ADI website.

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Alzheimer’s Month 2022 continues to stress importance of diagnosis and early detection

The Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s campaign will also focus on post-diagnostic support

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) is continuing to stress the importance of early diagnosis and helping people understand the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia during the 2022 World Alzheimer’s Month campaign with an added focus on post-diagnostic support.

September is World Alzheimer’s Month. ADI, a federation of Alzheimer’s associations across the globe, is working to raise awareness of the prevalence of the chronic neurodegenerative disease as well as trying to reduce its stigma.

The Alzheimer Society of Canada estimates that 597,300 Canadians were living with dementia in 2020. By 2030, the organization expects that number to grow to nearly one million.

The 2022 Alzheimer’s Month campaign is again called Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s, but due to “recent developments and potential breakthroughs, in both dementia treatment and support,” there will also be a significant focus on examining the importance of post-diagnostic support for people with Alzheimer’s, ADI has stated.

“The 2022 campaign is intended to follow on from the 2021 campaign, which focused on the journey of receiving an Alzheimer’s disease or dementia diagnosis, as well as the warning signs of dementia, the continued effect of COVID-19 on the global dementia community and more,” ADI says on its website.

“By continuing to raise global awareness and knowledge, people, families, communities and governments are better armed with information and advice to prepare, adapt and support those who are most affected.”

To help raise awareness, ADI is asking people and organizations to get involved with this year’s campaign.

ADI is offering campaign resources and materials on its website to help people and organizations spread the word about World Alzheimer’s Month 2022.

ADI says one way to raise awareness is through social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The hashtags for this year’s campaign are #KnowDementia and #KnowAlzheimers.

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OMNI residents enjoying the flavours of summer

One of the highlights of summer is enjoying foods that are connected to the season, and OMNI Health Care seniors’ homes have been helping residents sample some of the best sweet and savoury selections that July and August offer.

Residents of Streamway Villa, along with family members and staff, made their way to the Northumberland Ribfest and Music Festival for the first time since 2019 to enjoy the barbecued fare for which the event is famous.

After tucking into barbecued ribs, chicken and pulled pork during their Aug. 12 visit, the residents even held their own contest to choose a winner in each food category.

“The day went really well; there was beautiful weather and we stayed for a couple of hours, the time just flew by,” said Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Laurie Kracht.

Strawberries, as everyone knows, are a huge summertime favourite treat. The Almonte Country Haven team organized a strawberry social for residents July 20. Angel food cake topped with strawberries and whipped cream was the star of the show.

Country Haven LEC Naomi Redner said the strawberries served at the event were locally grown, adding most of the home’s 57 residents attended the event.

“Our strawberry social was enjoyed by all,” she said, adding the event brought back fond memories for many.

“Residents (were served) such a familiar dessert that they would have made during the berry season when at home over the years. The whole dining room smelled like strawberries. It was a happy afternoon.”

There was also a tasty walk down memory lane for the residents of Country Terrace in July when they were treated to a trip to Mackie’s restaurant in Port Stanley.

Located on the shores of Lake Erie, Mackie’s has been a fixture in southwestern Ontario for 111 years. Enjoying the hamburgers, hot dogs, fish and chips, and Mackie’s famous homemade beverage, Orangeade, brought back memories of many summers for residents.

After lunch, residents had ice cream and then got to take a walk along the beach. The Port Stanley beach is wheelchair accessible which allowed all residents to participate.

“The residents loved it; it was such a beautiful day,” said LEC Lora Blackett. “It was nice and sunny, and they were able to eat outside and look at the water and watch the kids playing on the beach.”

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OMNI social worker recalls how helping a resident self-advocate changed their home experience

‘The experience of self-advocating really did wonders for the resident’

During the five months she has been a social worker at five OMNI Health Care long-term care homes, Alicia Niewiatowska has provided many interventions that have helped enhance residents’ home experience, but there’s one that stands out in her mind.

A resident at one of the homes Alicia works with was struggling with mental-health issues exacerbated by isolation during the pandemic. As a result, the resident began experiencing agitation that led to behaviours.

Front-line staff members were working hard to help the resident, but they were struggling to provide the needed supports.

Alicia was brought in to meet with the resident and provide interventions, one of which was helping the resident voice concerns they had, and empower the resident to take some control over their situation.

Alicia encouraged the resident to write a letter to the home’s administrator to explain their concerns. Alicia also supported the resident when they met with the administrator to get their perspective known.

“The experience of self-advocating really did wonders for the resident,” Alicia tells The OMNIway.

“The intervention of being able to speak up, to be heard, to be autonomous, and to have that agency over their own experience and their own residency in the home, that, in and of itself, really eliminated 80 per cent of (the issues) the resident was having.”

OMNI began rolling out a social worker program in many of its seniors’ homes earlier this year. Alicia says this initiative is not only innovative and fills a needed gap by addressing residents’ psycho-social needs, it is also alleviating pressure on front-line staff members who would otherwise be called to help.

Alicia says staff members approached her to say that after this intervention, the resident’s quality of life – and outlook – improved. The resident didn’t need medical intervention, they needed a psycho-social intervention, and that’s where an in-house social worker can help, she adds.

“That was a great success,” she says.

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