OMNI participating in survey to enhance understanding of epilepsy

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Initiative aims to enhance care, identify educational opportunities for staff

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Staff members at OMNI Health Care long-term care homes are invited to participate in a survey to help identify their understanding of seizure disorders as well as educational opportunities.

OMNI and Epilepsy Ontario, a Markham-based epilepsy support agency, are collaborating on the initiative to help ensure residents get the best possible care, says OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy.

Given OMNI’s dedication to forming partnerships with other community organizations, McCarthy says the organization saw this as an opportunity to make a difference.

“Many of our homes have residents diagnosed with seizure disorders, including epilepsy, and I believe that by working together we can help to identify areas where OMNI homes might be able to benefit from education and support services provided by Epilepsy Ontario,” McCarthy says.

“In turn, (this will) help Epilepsy Ontario develop knowledge of prevalence of seizure disorders in long-term care and of the particular support needs of residents living in long-term care homes.”

Managers and staff members will soon be asked to complete a 10-minute electronic questionnaire about the prevalence of epilepsy in OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes. The information provided will help Epilepsy Ontario better understand the needs of residents and staff members, and assist homes in finding needed resources.

An estimated one in every 100 Canadians has epilepsy.

Working with Bramm Research, Epilepsy Ontario has developed surveys for long-term care homes, educators and employers to gain a better understanding of their familiarity with epilepsy, its characteristics and the prevalence of seizure disorders in their workplaces.

Nikki Porter, Epilepsy Ontario’s project manager for the From Isolation to Inclusion initiative, emphasizes that the survey aims to discover opportunities to enhance resident care.

“Our goal in this survey is to achieve an accurate understanding of current levels of awareness and understanding,” she says. “This information will help Epilepsy Ontario and community epilepsy agencies across the province help support long-term care homes, schools and workplaces to accommodate people with epilepsy.”

Other Ontario long-term care providers will be participating in the survey.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the 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.

Strategy credited for reduced blood-sugar, skin-care issues

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Comprehensive diabetes program enhancing quality of life at Pleasant Meadow Manor

Friday, August 8, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Since introducing OMNI Health Care’s comprehensive diabetes program in 2013, Pleasant Meadow Manor has seen improved blood-sugar control and skin issues have been eliminated, says Susan Towns, the home’s clinical care and RAI co-ordinator.

The Norwood long-term care home, along with Riverview Manor in Peterborough, piloted OMNI’s diabetes strategy last year, and the team couldn’t be happier with the results, Towns says, adding the protocols have significantly enhanced residents’ quality of life.

Having no residents with skin issues is significant, she adds, because people with diabetes tend to have higher rates of skin breakdown and healing time can be much slower than with people who do not have diabetes.

At the centre of the diabetes program is a group of evidence-based order sets addressing several aspects of diabetes care, including nursing assessment, dietary care, foot care and sick-day management.

The assessments can be used when residents enter long-term care homes as part of the admissions process.

Diabetes is a serious issue in long-term care, and its impact on quality of life is profound: fluctuating blood sugar brought on by diabetes can cause falls and the disease poses challenges for wound care. Diabetes can also lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

By having better control of diabetes, residents can avoid hospital visits, which in turn improves quality of life while helping to reduce the burden on the acute-care system.

OMNI received a grant from Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. and Eli Lilly (Canada) Inc. in February 2013 to help make this diabetes strategy possible.  Assessments were done in each of OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes in areas including hypoglycemic events, numbers of residents with diabetes, and the time required to resolve issues related to diabetes.

Physician buy-in crucial

When the diabetes strategy was introduced to Pleasant Meadow Manor, Towns says the greatest challenge was to get buy-in from the home’s physicians.

“And that’s the groundbreaking thing — you have to have your physicians on board,” Towns says. “You have to get them to agree to use the newer medications that are out there (and) they have to be willing to do the order sets.”

So, how does Towns recommend homes that want to introduce their own diabetes strategy get buy-in from physicians? She says it’s all about showing them solid results.

“With every improvement we made I just e-mailed the changes to our physicians,” she says. “It’s a work in progress but, for the most part, they’ve liked what we’ve done.”

On June 5, OMNI received the Innovation of the Year award from the Ontario Long Term Care Association for the organization’s diabetes program.

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.

Visiting people with dementia doesn’t have to be awkward, says author

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Rachel Johnstone provides ideas to enrich visits

Thursday, August 7, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Many people find it challenging and awkward to spend time with a loved one who has cognitive impairment, but it doesn’t have to be this way, says dementia expert Rachel Johnstone.

The U.K.-based Johnstone, who authored a new book called Dementia and the Family, says family members of people with dementia are often feeling guilty about not doing enough during visits to long-term care homes. As a result, visits often become fewer and far between and the person with dementia is then at risk of experiencing feelings of increased isolation.

Johnstone says people need to understand that although those living with dementia may forget what happened during a visit, the positive emotion connected to the event remains.

So what can family members and friends of people with dementia do to make visits less awkward and more enjoyable?

For starters, Johnstone urges people to maximize resources they already have. Her book lists more than 160 different activities such as playing music, dancing and sensory stimulation — especially activities that engage one’s sense of smell.

“Using smells as a basis for activity — such as baking cookies and brewing coffee, oiling a cricket bat with linseed oil, visiting a cobblers shop and even taking part in a smelling guessing game, called Loto des Odeurs — is something I talk about in the book,” Johnstone says in a recent interview with Carehome.co.uk.

“Activities allow the person behind the dementia to shine through, create real moments of togetherness and provide opportunities for your loved one to do the things they enjoy doing.”

Dementia is not the sum total of a person, Johnstone says. What’s crucial is for the family and friends of a person with dementia to break down the barriers of dementia through engaging activities to help get at the true essence of the person and their character.

“For me, there is no greater pleasure than getting to know a person who has truly lived their life — and dementia shouldn’t stand in the way of this,” she tells Carehome.co.uk.

Click here for more information on Johnstone, her book and links about dementia.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

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

Woodland DOC confident diabetes program will improve resident health

OrderSets

Janna Sabourin says order sets will make a long-term difference

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 — Deron Hamel

SOUTH STORMONT, Ont. – While it’s too early to report any firm data on its success at Woodland Villa, the home’s newly implemented diabetes program is expected to reduce the sick days of residents with the disease.

Janna Sabourin, the Cornwall-area long-term care home’s director of care (DOC), says the comprehensive diabetes program introduced by OMNI Health Care in 2013 and recently incorporated at Woodland Villa will create a system of best practices that can be used to improve diabetic health.

At the centre of the program is a group of evidence-based order sets addressing several aspects of diabetes care, including nursing assessment, dietary and foot care, and sick-day management. The assessments can be used when residents enter long-term care homes as part of the admissions process.

“We can actually look at it when our diabetic residents become ill (and know that) these are the things we have to do — I really like that order set to try to make the sickness last less time,” Sabourin says.

Sabourin and other Woodland Villa staff members have also completed training from the Canadian Diabetes Association to help ensure the program’s success.

“It was quite a learning experience for us. I think the tools that are there are great and the physicians are really getting on board with using it,” she says, adding Nancy Bonaparte, Woodland Villa’s physician assistant, has played a large part in the program’s implementation.

Sabourin says the ideal outcome for the program would be to see fewer hypoglycemic events and improved blood sugar control and the elimination of blood sugar-related complications in residents living with diabetes.

OMNI received a grant from Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. and Eli Lilly (Canada) Inc. in February 2013 to help make this diabetes strategy possible.  Assessments were done in each of OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes in areas including hypoglycemic events, numbers of residents with diabetes, and the time required to resolve issues related to diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious issue in long-term care, and its impact on quality of life is profound: fluctuating blood sugar brought on by diabetes can cause falls and the disease also poses challenges for wound care. Diabetes can also lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke.
 
By having better control of diabetes, residents can avoid hospital visits, which in turn improves quality of life while helping to reduce the burden on the acute-care system.

For example, a hypoglycemic event can take more than two hours to correct. If a hypoglycemic event happens when there’s a staff shortage, it compounds the stress level and can prolong treatment. But with the protocols, team members can quickly assess the situation and resolve it in a timely manner.

In short, the program provides precise information on what to do in a timely manner when blood sugar-related illness occurs.

“Basically, the order sets are streamlining everything to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to ordering insulin (and) when it comes to ordering medications for diabetes,” Sabourin says.

“We’re hoping to see less hypoglycemic events with our residents. We’re hoping to get blood sugar under control and to eliminate any complications that will happen because of diabetes.”

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.

Much-loved office manager has shown outstanding commitment for 13 years

Rosie Coppens and April Faux of Burnbrae Gardens are seen here. Coppens is retiring Aug. 22 after 13 years at the home.

Rosie Coppens and April Faux of Burnbrae Gardens are seen here. Coppens is retiring Aug. 22 after 13 years at the home.

Burnbrae Gardens’ Rosie Coppens retires Aug. 22

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 — Deron Hamel

After serving 13 years at Burnbrae Gardens, a beloved staff member is getting ready to start a new chapter in life when she retires Aug. 22. Read more

Spirit of summer in full swing at OMNI homes

Riverview Manor resident Doris Shiniman is seen here with one of the many classic cars at the home July 22 during its annual car show.

Riverview Manor resident Doris Shiniman is seen here with one of the many classic cars at the home July 22 during its annual car show.

Homes offering a variety of resident-focused events

Friday, August 1, 2014 — Deron Hamel

As we enter August, OMNI Health Care’s long-term care homes across Ontario have spent the summer involved with a myriad of activities and festivities that capture the spirit of the season.

At Forest Hill, life enrichment aide Shannon Lynch is bringing a unique program to residents with cognitive impairment that sees larvae become butterflies in a tent that’s been set up in the Kanata long-term care home’s garden area.

Lynch says family members are overwhelmed with the program’s success. What has made it successful, she adds, is the fact that the program allows for residents to reminisce and socialize in an atmosphere that provides a lot of sensory stimulation.

“The family members are just blown away by this,” she says. “When you show them the photographs of their loved ones smiling and laughing, they love it.”

What would summer be without car shows? At Riverview Manor an annual tradition “rolled on” again this year with a local group of car enthusiasts bringing their classic cars to the Peterborough long-term care home.

The July 22 event, which included a barbecue, saw about 50 of the home’s 124 residents come outside to have a look at the cars, which included hot rods dating back more than 80 years. Residents and community members filed past the vehicles and took time to speak with the car club members about their wheels.

“We also had a deejay this year, which was great, so there was lots of music and it was a lot of fun,” life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Sherry Baldwin says. “The cars were absolutely gorgeous and the residents loved it.”

Even when the sunny summer weather turns cloudy and grey, the folks at Country Terrace know how to make the most of it.

The team of staff members and volunteers at the Komoka long-term care home were not willing to let inclement weather ruin the annual family barbecue, so they brought the carnival-themed event inside.

The event featured many carnival activities to coincide with its theme, including ring, balloon and ball tosses, musical entertainment and a pie-in-the-face fundraiser that collected more than $300.

“We made it work — it was a little hairy, but we made it work and the families that came had an awesome time,” says LEC Christie Patterson. “We made sure the kids, the residents and everyone else had a great time.”

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

 

New NCM says working in LTC is a chance to make a difference

John Wickert brings restaurant experience to new role at Burnbrae Gardens

Thursday, July 31, 2014 — Deron Hamel

While John Wickert has only been the nutritional care manager (NCM) at Burnbrae Gardens for about a week and a half, he says he’s enjoying his new job, largely because it’s a chance to make a difference to others. Read more

Riverview LEA addressing residents’ spiritual side

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Adam Wicklum offering prayer meetings, Bible study and meditation programs

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Riverview Manor life enrichment aide (LEA) Adam Wicklum is bringing spirituality to the Peterborough long-term care home’s residents through prayer meetings, meditation activities and a Bible-study program.

About 15 residents are regularly attending the program, the LEA says, adding that people of all faiths are welcome as well as people who do not subscribe to any religion.

“It’s open to everybody who wants to come,” he says.

Some residents have even provided input to Wicklum for how to make the program more engaging. For example, one resident proposed getting residents to read verses aloud during the sessions, which is now part of the program. The resident also suggested Wicklum print biblical verses in large fonts so more people could read them.

“(The resident) also said that music really helps connect people, so in the Bible-study program and in the prayer meetings I will usually play two songs, one at the beginning and one at the end, that relates to the topic that we’re talking about,” Wicklum says.

The music, he adds, includes both traditional hymns and more recent music. The prayers and the music also provide residents an opportunity to reminisce, Wicklum points out. Residents with cognitive impairment, for instance, will often remember the music from their childhood.

While Wicklum is the one leading the program, the idea actually came from Riverview Manor’s residents’ council, whose members have requested additional spiritual services.

As part of the Spiritual Mondays program, Wicklum will select a theme — for example, right now it’s encouragement — that will be the focus of the prayer readings, Bible study and meditation activities.

Wicklum, in addition to leading Spiritual Mondays, writes and reads poetry to those who are receiving palliative care.

It’s Wicklum’s caring nature that earned him Riverview Manor’s Everyday Hero award this year. The accolade, which recognizes those staff members who go above and beyond for residents, will be presented to the LEA in August.

“He’s a very kind soul. He’s also very innovative,” says administrator Mary Anne Greco.

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.

– with files from Natalie Hamilton

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.

Country Terrace team pulls together ensuring weather doesn’t stop BBQ

A scene from Country Terrace’s July 19 family barbecue.

A scene from Country Terrace’s July 19 family barbecue.


Home’s flagship summer event carries on despite pouring rain

Monday, July 28, 2014 — Deron Hamel

The weather outside may have been dull and grey, but inside Country Terrace the atmosphere was bright, cheerful and full of fun and laughter as the Komoka long-term care home celebrated its annual family barbecue.

Despite the change of plans to move the barbecue indoors, the July 19 event was a “huge success,” says life enrichment co-ordinator Christie Patterson, adding that nutritional carer manager Alex Achillini soldiered through the inclement weather by working the grill.

Staff members and volunteers quickly transformed the home’s chapel into an activity area. Each year the event has a different theme. This year had a carnival theme, with ring, balloon, ball tosses, musical entertainment and a pie-in-the-face fundraiser that rcollected more than $300 (more on that in an upcoming story).

Although the events had to be downscaled to accommodate an indoor event, the staff’s ingenuity ensured everyone had fun, Patterson says.

“We made it work — it was a little hairy, but we made it work and the families that came had an awesome time,” she says. “We made sure the kids, the residents and everyone else had a great time.”

Patterson says the event is an important part of the home’s culture because it allows residents to bring in as many of their family members and friends as they want, and the event is always “laidback and fun and has a family reunion atmosphere.”

“And it’s open to all generations — residents, their children and grandchildren,” she says. “(Before the event) I had not met a lot of the families, but they all showed up.”

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.

Riverview LEA is making residents hysterical

Riverview Manor resident Aileen Bailey is seen here with LEA Adam Wicklum during a laughter yoga session.

Riverview Manor resident Aileen Bailey is seen here with LEA Adam Wicklum during a laughter yoga session.

Adam Wicklum’s laughter yoga program providing many benefits to residents

Friday, July 25, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Laughter, it has been said, is the best medicine, and if that’s the case Adam Wicklum has the cure for what ails you.

For the past two months, the life enrichment aide (LEA) at Riverview Manor has been leading a biweekly laughter yoga program at the Peterborough long-term care home. Residents look forward to the activity and participation has brightened spirits and put smiles on faces, Wicklum says.

The idea behind laughter yoga is simple: voluntary laughter has the same benefits as regular laughter in the sense that both provide a myriad of benefits. Often, the process of forcing laughter turns into regular, spontaneous laughter.

Wicklum, who has completed training in laughter yoga, says the program provides social, mental, physical, emotional and even spiritual benefits.

“Research has found that as we get older we laugh less, but laughter yoga allows you to laugh for no reason,” Wicklum says, noting the reasons why laughter is important.

“Laughter yoga promotes a positive mental state, increases oxygen supply, builds physical stamina, boosts immune systems, (creates) social connectedness , improves circulation reduces pain, helps people relax and is fun.”

There are several steps to laughter yoga. These include clapping, chanting, deep-breathing exercises and “happy-face” breathing (called so because participants draw a happy face in the air). After these steps, Wicklum leads residents in the process of getting people to laugh.

Different types of laughter are also encouraged — everything from a hearty, ho, ho, ho, to mimicking the chuckle of people’s favourite fictional villain, such as a witch, Count Dracula or the Joker from Batman.

Sometimes, Wicklum leads residents in a “laughter choir” where they are instructed to laugh at different pitches and lengths to produce a long, conducive chuckle — such as “ho, ha, hee.”

Wicklum says resident response to the program has been encouraging.

“Last week I had a resident who didn’t want to go, but then changed her mind and when it was done, she said she really liked it and felt uplifted, so that was great to hear,” he says.

When Wicklum leads the program every other Wednesday he tries to mix up the atmosphere. Sometimes the program is held in the activity room, but if the weather is nice he and the approximately 20 resident participants will go outside.

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