Maintaining high quality of life while staying safe has been a top priority at OMNI homes

While the global pandemic has presented obstacles, team members have answered the challenge and have worked within safety parameters to keep residents happy

Providing residents with a high quality of life has always been a cornerstone of OMNI Health Care, and while the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has created obstacles, team members working in the organization’s 18 long-term care homes have stepped up to the challenge of adapting to safety protocols while minimizing the impact on residents.

Socialization is an important part of life in every long-term care home. When the pandemic was declared in March, safety protocols were immediately put in place that resulted in residents being physically isolated from their families and other residents.

Knowing this was going to be difficult for residents, OMNI staff members began organizing window visits and video calls so residents could stay connected to their families. In fact, video calls have remained so popular at some homes that residents and families are still requesting them, even though restrictions on visitation have been eased recently.

“FaceTime and Skype are being offered seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., in half-hour blocks, and every day each block is spoken for, so residents and their loved ones are spending a lot of time together (through real-time video calls),” Forest Hill life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Craig Forrest recently told The OMNIway.

Programming is an important part of life in long-term care homes, and with large-group programming currently suspended, team members have had to think outside the box in order to fill the need for meaningful activities.

Shortly after the pandemic began, Springdale Country Manor life enrichment aide Trish Mills came up with an idea to take a keyboard down the hallways at the Peterborough-area long-term care home, playing and singing residents’ old favourites outside their rooms.

“When we cannot have programs or group gatherings we decided to take the music down the halls,” said Springdale LEC Sonia Murney.

Ontario has had one of the warmest summers in recent memory in 2020. Between the heatwave and the restrictions in place due to the pandemic, Streamway Villa residents have been in need of some fun, so the Cobourg long-term care home’s team members created a splash party that followed safety guidelines while providing some “cool” fun and laughter.

There were water guns, balloons, beach balls, a small pool and an inflatable unicorn to play a game of ring toss with (the object being to toss rings on the unicorn’s horn).

“We are trying to bring some normalcy back, and I have not seen some of the residents laugh like they did in a long time,” said LEC Laurie Kracht.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)

OMNI teams continue tapping into their creativity to enhance quality of life during pandemic

Maplewood life enrichment aide Rosanne Blackburn, pictured above, recently dressed as Elvis and danced to one of the King’s songs for the home’s residents.

Staff members are coming up with ideas to keep residents happy while adhering to safety policies

While OMNI Health Care long-term care homes continue to navigate through the changes that have come with the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization’s team members have been demonstrating their creativity to keep quality of life high for residents. Read more

Balancing the risks and benefits of visitation during a pandemic

One of the greatest challenges the global COVID-19 pandemic has presented for long-term care homes is determining the balance between maintaining quality of life for residents while adhering to safety protocols to keep the extremely contagious virus out of homes. Read more

Pandemic planning and staying ahead of the COVID curve

While the COVID-19 virus has presented the greater health-care sector with a level of challenges unseen during other pandemics in recent years, having a strong pandemic plan in place has helped OMNI Health Care navigate these difficult times. Read more

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown LTC homes’ strengths

If you’ve been reading the papers or watching the evening news in recent months, you’ve probably noticed a narrative emerging that questions the safety of long-term care homes during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

Seniors’ Month theme – ‘Stay Safe, Stay in Touch’ – has been embraced by OMNI homes

Forest Hill resident Sandra Presley is pictured here enjoying a video chat with her daughter Lori in March.

June is officially designated as Seniors’ Month in Ontario, and this year’s theme – Stay Safe, Stay in Touch – is especially meaningful, given the impact the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic is having on seniors. Read more

OMNI keeps residents, families connected during pandemic

Pet therapy volunteers Lesley Campbell and her dog, Gibson, visit residents through the windows of West Lake Terrace.

Streamway Villa uses FaceTime, Maplewood residents write letters

OMNI Health Care homes are prioritizing keeping residents’ spirits up during the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring they still connect with family members. Read more

Community support helping OMNI homes through challenging time

While the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for the long-term care sector, the crisis has also brought out kindness, compassion and unwavering support for OMNI Health Care long-term care homes from neighbours and businesses. Read more

Pandemic shows us why people work in OMNI homes

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of our lives in some way. Many Canadians are now working from home. We’re self-isolating. We’re practising social distancing. We are taking precautions on a scale that most of us have not seen in our lifetime. Read more

COVID-19: How OMNI is responding to the pandemic, Part 2

In Part 2 of this two-part story, we examine how preparedness has been key to dealing with the crisis. We also look at the important role collaboration between homes and families has played at this time

As the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic continues, the No. 1 priority for OMNI Health Care continues to be keeping residents and staff members safe. Read more