Students’ act of kindness made for a special Valentine’s Day at Kentwood Park

Kindergarten classes from local schools made greetings for the home’s residents

When Kentwood Park residents sat down for lunch on Feb. 14 they found special surprises waiting for them.

Kindergarten students from the Picton area had made Valentine’s Day cards for each of the home’s residents, and this act of kindness made their day, says Kentwood Park life enrichment co-ordinator Lisa Mills.

The inspiration for sending Valentine’s Day cards to residents was simple: students and schools wanted the residents to know they were thinking of them during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lisa says.

“This was such a thoughtful gesture and was very much appreciated by all,” she tells The OMNIway.

Before Valentine’s Day, Lisa received a phone call from the Prince Edward County Lions Club to see if kindergarten classes at schools in the region could make cards for residents.

Naturally, Lisa agreed, so the students at the participating schools got to work making the cards, which the Lions Club sent to the home.

Residents were overjoyed to see the cards, which included greetings the children had written, waiting for them at lunchtime on Valentine’s Day, Lisa says.

“(The residents) were quite excited to get these cards, and (they) loved the little saying which (the students) wrote themselves in the cards,” she says, adding residents gave something back to the students for their thoughtfulness as well.

“Residents have made several comments about the cards, and so pictures were taken to give to classrooms with a big thank you,” Lisa says.

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Colourful snowmen bring back winter memories for Springdale residents

With residents’ input, staff members Keyanna O’Rourke and Patricia Stein built two snowmen on their own time for residents to enjoy

Frosty, the world’s most famous snowman, first came to life in a song during the early 1950s, and two Springdale Country Manor team members recently tried to bring that magic to residents of the Peterborough County long-term care home.

Life enrichment aide Keyanna O’Rourke and registered practical nurse Patricia Stein returned to Springdale Country Manor after their shift recently to build two snowmen outside the home for the residents to enjoy.

It was, perhaps, the last chance to build snowmen before the warmer spring weather arrives.

The snowmen are visible through the dining room windows, and Keyanna and Patricia wanted residents to be able to enjoy the snowy figures during their meals, explains Sonia Murney, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

Keyanna and Patricia decorated the snowmen with coloured spray paint, hats, mitts and even the traditional carrot for noses. Residents were asked how they wanted the snowmen to look, and the two team members followed their advice, Sonia says.

“Due to the sun shining, a few repairs had to happen with encouragement and direction from the residents,” Sonia says. “This made some magical memories of snowball fights, fort building, snow angels and tobogganing.”

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OMNI applauds the province’s creation of a tuition-free PSW program

The Accelerated PSW Training Program is aiming to provide free tuition to 6,000 people interested in careers as PSWs in an effort to improving health care staffing levels

OMNI Health Care is applauding a move from the Ontario government to launch a program that will provide tuition-free training to those interested in careers as personal support workers (PSWs).

The province announced Feb. 24 that more than $115 million has been earmarked to create the Accelerated PSW Training Program in the hope of attracting 6,000 new students.

The program will be offered at Ontario’s 24 publicly assisted colleges.

PSW training typically takes eight months for students to complete, but students enrolled in this accelerated program will complete their studies after six months.

Patrick McCarthy, OMNI’s president and CEO, says the organization is commending this initiative, which aims to alleviate staffing shortages in the long-term care and acute care sectors.

Like other long-term care providers, OMNI, which operates 18 homes in the province, has felt pressure from the shortage of front-line caregivers, and McCarthy says the government’s announcement is timely.

“We are very pleased to see the announcement of this initiative by the government,” he says.

“The cost of tuition is a major entry barrier to those wishing to pursue a career in long-term care, and this will help to create a cohort of trained PSWs that is much needed in long-term care homes today and in the future.”

Additionally, the Ontario government announced last Wednesday it will be offering financial assistance to students currently enrolled in a PSW program at any of the province’s publicly assisted colleges.

“Nearly 2,200 students will be eligible to receive a $2,000 tuition grant to help them complete their studies, as well as a stipend to complete the clinical placement part of their training,” the province said in the announcement.

Registration for the Accelerated PSW Training Program is expected to begin in March. Those interested in registering for the program can click here for more information.

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COVID-19 vaccinations bring ‘excitement and a relief’ to Springdale

Springdale Country Manor residents have received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine and they are scheduled to have their booster immunization today (March 2).

All the residents of the Peterborough County long-term care home who were vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus provided the necessary consent. There were two residents who declined the vaccination.

Additionally, 11 Springdale staff members were immunized. Springdale staff members have also received the vaccine through a clinic offered at Peterborough Regional Health Centre that is immunizing long-term-home employees, essential caregivers, paramedics and high-risk hospital workers.

With almost all residents and many staff members now vaccinated, Springdale Country Manor life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney says everyone has become more positive about life getting back to being at least a little more normal in the coming months.

While Sonia says safety restrictions will continue to be in place for the foreseeable future, there is a feeling of hopefulness amongst residents and staff members.

“There’s an excitement and a relief,” Sonia tells The OMNIway. “We have kept everybody safe; we have not had COVID in the home and we want to keep it that way.”

The Government of Ontario says on its website that vaccinations will be crucial to curbing COVID-19 infection.

“(Vaccines) will be an important tool to help stop the spread of the virus and allow individuals, families and workers to safely resume normal life,” the website states.

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine does not cause a coronavirus infection. It helps to build up your immunity to the virus, so your body will fight it off more easily if it affects you.”

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Pleasant Meadow Manor redevelopment project moving along smoothly

Phase 1 of the Pleasant Meadow Manor redevelopment project is underway, and everything has been running smoothly for residents and staff members as workers prepare the grounds outside the home for the expansion, says Sandra Tucker, the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home’s administrator and director of care.

Because the work will eventually affect the area around the home’s kitchen, temporary kitchens located in four large trailers have been installed outside the home for the nutritional care team to prepare residents’ meals once work inside begins.

Workers have been on site since November when the first shovels went into the ground to start the expansion project which will see a two-storey, 34,000-square-foot addition to the south side of the home.

Once completed, Pleasant Meadow Manor, which currently has 61 beds, will have room for 35 more residents. Residents will live in three spacious neighbourhoods, each housing dining, lounge and activity spaces.

The new design will enhance privacy by eliminating three- and four-bed rooms. When renovations are done, 60 per cent of Pleasant Meadow Manor’s rooms will be private and 40 per cent semi-private.

Pleasant Meadow Manor’s new design will also accommodate a courtyard, gardens and outdoor space, and include a whole-home gathering area and chapel space.

Sandra says so far noise levels have been low and residents and staff have not been impacted by the changes going on outside.

The redevelopment project is expected to be complete by December 2022.

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It’s too early to go shopping, but vaccinations bring hope to West Lake residents

Almost all of West Lake’s residents received the Moderna vaccine on Feb. 22

Shortly after receiving the Moderna vaccine on Feb. 22, a West Lake Terrace resident approached life enrichment co-ordinator Janie Denard with a question.

“Janie, does this mean you can take me shopping?” the resident asked.

Although the world is still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s too early for shopping trips and other excursions for the Prince Edward County long-term care home’s residents, Janie says she took the resident’s question as a sign of hopefulness.

Representatives from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health were at West Lake Terrace on Monday to administer the Moderna vaccine to 33 residents.

All of the residents who received the vaccine had provided the necessary consent to be immunized. Only one resident requested not to be vaccinated.

There is still a way to go before life returns to normal, and even with residents and staff members vaccinated against the highly contagious COVID-19 virus, strict safety protocols will remain in place for some time.

Still, residents and staff members at West Lake Terrace are “excited” that the vaccine has arrived, as immunizations are a major step forward to ending the pandemic.

“We are excited; we are hopeful that (the vaccinations) are going to bring some more normalcy back to the residents’ lives in the near future and we can return to life as normal,” Janie says.

“They’re desperate to get out shopping and see the world outside of West Lake, so that has been a topic among residents, and I think the residents are a little more hopeful that we’re going to start to turn a corner here soon with the pandemic, and we’re hoping for better days ahead in the summer.”

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1950s diner and a visit from the Fonz highlight West Lake Terrace activity week

The home’s Beat the Winter Blahs Week succeeded in its mission, says LEC

The West Lake Terrace dining room recently looked like Arnold’s Drive-In, the famed diner where characters from the 1950s-themed sitcom Happy Days would hang out.

Residents and staff could tuck into burgers, hot dogs, fries and onion rings served in baskets lined with checkered paper. There were ice-cream sundaes for dessert and cherry cola to wash everything down.

People were dancing to the 1950s rock ’n’ roll that was playing, and there was even a visit from Arthur Fonzarelli – AKA, Fonzie – himself.

Resident Elwood Lewis donned a black leather jacket and sunglasses to play the part of Fonzie perfectly, right down to giving the thumbs-up, and his “aaayyy!” was spot-on, says West Lake Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC), Janie Denard.

For Janie, the 1950s theme day, which was held at the Prince Edward County long-term care home on Feb. 18, was the pinnacle of a week of fun events that aimed to blow away the winter blues.

“We really wanted to be creative this year to come up with activities that would help both the residents and the staff beat the blahs this year,” she tells The OMNIway.

Every February, West Lake Terrace hosts a Beat the Winter Blahs Week, seven days dedicated to themed activities to help residents and staff members through the often cold and dreary winter month.

The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic made year’s activity week even more important for everyone, given the restrictions that have been in place since the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization 11 months ago, Janie says.

Other events held the week of Feb. 12 to Feb. 19 included:

– Chinese food for lunch on Feb. 12

– On Feb. 14 there were Valentine’s Day photos taken, and a steak dinner served in the evening

– Feb. 15 was Pyjama Day, so residents and team members stayed in their PJs for the day

– On Shrove Tuesday, pancakes were on the menu and there was a special Mardi Gras event for everyone that included games

– A sports day for staff members and the West Lake Terrace Winter Games for residents on Feb. 17

– A special breakfast capped off the week on Feb. 19

Janie says residents and staff members had a lot of fun during this year’s Beat the Winter Blahs Week

“They had a blast, they’re already asking when we can do it again.”

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Pleasant Meadow residents receive first COVID-19 vaccination, second dose coming

Immunizations bring ‘a sense of relief and hope’ to residents and staff

Most of the residents of Pleasant Meadow Manor have received their first dose of the vaccine to protect them from the COVID-19 virus, and they are expected to get the booster immunization in the coming days.

On Jan. 28, paramedics from Peterborough Public Health were at the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home to work with front-line staff members to immunize all residents who had given consent to receive the vaccine.

The paramedics are expected to return to Pleasant Meadow Manor this week to administer the booster shot, says Sandra Tucker, the home’s administrator and director of care.

With the first round of resident vaccinations complete and the second immunizations coming soon, Sandra says there’s “a sense of relief and hope” amongst residents and staff members that the global pandemic’s end is on the horizon.

All municipalities covered by Peterborough Public Health, including Norwood, are currently in the yellow zone of the Ontario government’s colour-coded reopening framework. Municipalities in yellow zones are under “strengthened measures” and are expected to focus on protection.

Keeping in line with safety protocols, there are no large-group activities at Pleasant Meadow Manor at the moment, but residents are receiving one-to-one and small-group programming involving five or fewer people, with social distancing and other safety measures in effect.

The Government of Ontario says on its website that vaccinations will be crucial to curbing COVID-19 infection.

“(Vaccines) will be an important tool to help stop the spread of the virus and allow individuals, families and workers to safely resume normal life,” the website states.

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine does not cause a coronavirus infection. It helps to build up your immunity to the virus, so your body will fight it off more easily if it affects you.”

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Country Terrace residents treated to chocolate fondue for Valentine’s Day

There is no food connected to Valentine’s Day as much as chocolate, and when Feb. 14 rolled around the Country Terrace nutritional care team made a chocolate fondue for the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home’s residents to enjoy.

The nutritional care team made a “chocolate fondue cart” and visited residents on Valentine’s Day to offer them a taste.

The pot of chocolate fondue the nutritional care team prepared was accompanied on the cart by several items to go with it. These included fruits such as strawberries, grapes, pineapple and blueberries.

There were also wafers, Oreo cookies, marshmallows, homemade Rice Krispies squares and puff pastry twists.

Due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, safety protocols were followed by staff members when serving the dessert.

The Country Terrace nutritional care team usually hosts a special meal and gathering for residents on Valentine’s Day, but it was not possible to do so this year because of safety protocols in place.

Still, nutritional care manager Alex Achillini said the chocolate fondue was well-received by residents.

“It was wonderful; everyone really enjoyed it,” he tells The OMNIway. “It was something different for St. Valentine’s Day.”

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Willows Estate nutritional care team taps into creativity to prepare Valentine’s Day dinner

‘We will continue to strive to make mealtime on special holidays equally memorable as other days’

The Willows Estate nutritional care team prepared a special Valentine’s Day dinner for residents of the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home that was as creative as it was delicious.

Nutritional care manager Davina Mesquito challenged the Willows Estate cooks to prepare a dinner and dessert that would include heart-shaped, cheese-filled ravioli and heart-shaped cookies.

The nutritional care team chose to serve the heart-shaped pasta in a creamy alfredo sauce alongside a serving of vegetables and garlic toast.

To end the meal, the team chose broken-glass Jell-O, a dessert consisting of different colours and flavours of Jell-O blocks that are set into chilled condensed milk. The broken-glass Jell-O was then cut into squares and each topped with a heart-shaped cookie.

Willows Estate has been impacted by a COVID-19 outbreak since Dec. 24. Provided there is no change in status, the outbreak is expected to end on Feb. 23.

With strict safety protocols in effect at the Willows, Davina says she and the nutritional care team wanted to do something special this Valentine’s Day for residents.

Preparing fancy meals, she says, is one way the team can make a meaningful difference to residents during a challenging time.

In addition to the special Valentine’s Day dinner, the nutritional care and life enrichment staff handed out heart-shaped goody bags filled with soft-textured chocolate for residents to enjoy.

The bags used were ones that could easily be wiped down and sanitized to keep in line with the COVID-19 safety requirements, Davina notes.

Davina says the Willows Estate nutritional care team takes pride in going the extra mile to ensure residents are served special meals.

“We will continue to strive to make mealtime on special holidays equally memorable as other days,” she says.

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