Administrator underscores role of storytelling in strengthening health system

OMNIway stories capturing attention outside Ontario

December 13, 2013 — Deron Hamel

When a nurse in Nova Scotia was recently looking for information about the Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) initiative he did an Internet search and came across an OMNIway story about Streamway Villa’s success with the program that’s posted on the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) website.

Streamway Villa

Streamway Villa

From there, the nurse e-mailed Streamway Villa administrator Kylie Szczebonski to learn more about what the Cobourg long-term care home had accomplished through its involvement with BSO, a provincial initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation.

“And I gladly gave him everything that I had,” Szczebonski tells the OMNIway. “I sent him a lot about Central East LHIN and the whole (BSO) project, and then talked about Streamway Villa and OMNI and how OMNI is really taking off with our Supportive Measures program.”

Szczebonski says this illustrates the role OMNI Health Care and its 17 long-term care homes can play in addressing issues related to elder care in Canada.

Likewise, the administrator says the OMNIway, which is produced by Axiom News, can play a role facilitating this engagement via the success stories published on the website.

“We are in a media world. Google something you want to know and it will pop up, and that’s the way of the future,” Szczebonski says. “Because (the OMNIway) is online, the stories that are out there are going to catch on. A lot of the stories focus on our quality and that’s really what’s going to capture people’s attention — all everybody hears in health care is quality, quality, quality. That’s because quality is important.”

Szczebonski refers to the fact Canada is the only G8 nation without a national dementia strategy, an issue that’s received media attention this week due to the Dec. 11 G8 dementia conference in London. The administrator says OMNI’s homes and the OMNIway can play a part in bringing stakeholders across the country together through news stories showcasing what’s working.

Ideally, this information sharing could eventually lead to a nationwide strategy, Szczebonski says.

“We’re not copyrighting things because we want people to take what we’ve done and use it,” she says.

See the links below to read OMNI stories posted on the Central East LHIN’s website.

Documentaries deliver hope for long-term care leaders

Responsive behaviours, restraints, medication use decreasing at Streamway Villa

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 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

G8 health ministers commit to curing dementia by 2025

OMNI administrator shares thoughts on international plan

Thursday, December 12, 2013 — Deron Hamel

The health ministers of the world’s eight largest economies committed on Wednesday to finding a cure for dementia, a condition affecting an estimated 44 million people worldwide, including 500,000 Canadians, by 2025.

Canadian Minister of Health Rona Ambrose attended the Summit in London. Photo Courtesy of Rona Ambrose Web.

Canadian Minister of Health Rona Ambrose attended the Summit in London. Photo Courtesy of Rona Ambrose Web.

It’s estimated that 1.4 million Canadians will have some form of dementia by 2031.

Meeting at a G8 conference in London, U.K. to address the issue of dementia and what can be done to find a cure, health ministers from Canada, Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan agreed to create a “dementia envoy” dedicated to promoting research into finding a cure.

The first step to finding a cure for dementia will be to appoint the envoy, who will be tasked with assembling international expertise and obtaining research funding from public and private sectors.

The conference drew attention to the fact that $12 billion worldwide has been spent on research to cure dementia, yet there has been little success in the process.

With the populations of G8 nations aging at a fast pace there’s more need now than ever to find a cure, the ministers concluded.

Streamway Villa administrator Kylie Szczebonski sees the impact dementia has on residents and staff members every day. With most long-term care residents affected by some form of cognitive impairment, it’s a condition that needs addressing, she says, adding the G8 health ministers’ commitment is a step in the right direction.

“I think (this is) very positive because they’re focusing on geriatrics and they’re focusing on dementia and the elder population — people are living longer and people are taking better care of their (physical) health, so dementia is only going to become a bigger issue in the future,” she tells the OMNIway.

“The fact that (the G8 health ministers) have set a goal, they’re talking about it and it’s becoming news is important because that’s something that you never would hear before. This is a significant step.”

Canada is the only G8 country without a national dementia strategy. Canada’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose noted in an interview with reporters at the conference that to develop a national strategy in Canada, the federal government and provinces will need to collaborate.

Responding to this, Szczebonski says Ontario is advanced in dementia research and that there’s room for the provinces to meet and discuss what they are each doing and then federally implement successes seen in each of the 10 regions.

“This (would be) reflective of what’s working (across Canada),” Szczebonski says.

Szczebonski points to the province’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) program as an example of what’s already working well in dementia care. While not focused on finding a dementia cure, BSO does foster best practices in preventing behavioural responses in people affected by dementia through non-pharmaceutical interventions.

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 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

OMNIway explores sexuality, safety in LTC

Series to unpack issues including rights, risks and regulations

December 11, 2013 — Natalie Hamilton 

In one long-term care home, romantic sparks fly between a man and a woman who live in the same residence.

The man is married to another woman.

In another long-term care home, a man with dementia inadvertently enters the wrong room and starts going through personal belongings.

Men and women living together, coupled with cognitive impairment, can present a host of moral, ethical, safety and security issues.

The OMNIway is taking a closer look at sexuality and safety in long-term care. Through a series of stories, interviews and videos, Axiom News will explore the rights, risks and regulations related to the issue of sexuality and safety.

We’ll provide a glimpse into the realities of people of the opposite sex living together and their inclination to maintain or find new relationships. We’ll look at how those relationships help them maintain the quality of life similar to couples residing elsewhere. The OMNIway will look into the home’s role when a relationship is mutual.

We’ll also explore what happens when the desire is one-sided or an act is triggered by confusion and how OMNI intervenes to keep residents safe.

We’ll look at the supportive measures in place to prevent people with dementia from wandering and how to support those who are confused, while protecting their dignity and maintaining a safe environment for all people who reside in the home.

“Safety and security is our No. 1 priority,” OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy tells the OMNIway.

Confusion and wandering as a result of cognitive impairment can occur in long-term care homes and “it’s a behaviour we need to monitor and to take into account when we design and carry out our plan of care for each resident,” McCarthy says.

It’s an issue that is growing as homes receive more residents with complex conditions, such as mental health and dementia-related behavioural challenges.

One of OMNI’s signature core programs is called supportive measures. The program strives to provide an individualized approach to care for residents, with or without dementia. Supportive measures strategies include one-to-one interventions to identify the causes of anxiety and agitation and put processes into place to help residents feel calm and secure in their home.

In addition to supportive measures, OMNI incorporates Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) into its training policies and procedures. BSO is a $40-million provincial initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation.

Stay tuned to the OMNIway for stories unpacking these issues.

If you have feedback on this article or a story idea to share, please e-mail natalie(at)axiomnews.ca or call Axiom News at 800-294-0051.

A Cure for Derek? Alzheimer’s Society Video

Yvonne is a cancer survivor, but Derek has dementia that can’t be cured.

Drugs that reduce the symptoms but do not cure dementia were developed four decades after drugs that can cure some cancers became available. A new Alzheimer’s Society video launched today (Monday 9 December) ahead of the G8 dementia summit in London this week, outlines the generation gap between key milestones in dementia and cancer research. (Video courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Society.)

The video is simple, poignant and enlightening.

Served up by the Alzheimer’s Society in advance of the G8 Summit on Dementia, the timeline stretches through Derek and Yvonne’s life.

It points out that while there has been remarkable strides in cancer research during this couple’s lifetime? Alzheimer’s is still regarded by many countries as an orphan disease, the natural outcome of aging.

Only it isn’t. Diet, exercise and a non-sedentary approach to life after 50 all combine to stave off the onset of dementia.

Hope and Change – The G8 Dementia Summit Blogs

People Blogging about People… and Dementia

Canada is the only country in the G8 without a comprehensive Dementia Strategy.

Canada is the only country in the G8 without a comprehensive Dementia Strategy.

Blogs

The UK Dept of Health is publishing a series of blogs about dementia in the run-up to the G8 dementia summit, which is being held in London on 11 December 2013.

These blogs are also on the UK Dept. of Health Dementia Summit Website.

Video: Beth Britton talks about her dad and dementia

This short film of Beth Britton is one of a series recorded to show to delegates at the G8 Dementia Summit on 11 December 2013. … Read more →– Video: Beth Britton talks about her dad and dementia

Published: 10 December, 2013 | In BlogsHome | Tagged 

Three words to describe being diagnosed with dementia – Hilary Doxford

There are 3 words I think best sum up my experience of being diagnosed with dementia: fear, despair and hope. Fear I feel fear and … Read more →– Three words to describe being diagnosed with dementia – Hilary Doxford

Published: 9 December, 2013 | In BlogsHomeImproving research

Working together for better research – Susie Hewer

In my last blog about the G8 Dementia Summit I ended with a comment about Teamwork (Together Everyone Achieves More) and I’ve been gathering my …Read more →– Working together for better research – Susie Hewer

Published: 7 December, 2013 | In BlogsHome

Cultural projects can make a difference in clinical services – Professor Robert Howard

The Mental Health of Older Adults and Dementia Clinical Academic Group is a partnership between South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the Institute of … Read more →– Cultural projects can make a difference in clinical services – Professor Robert Howard

Published: 6 December, 2013 | In BlogsHome

What difference can you make to dementia research? – Dr Laura Phipps, Alzheimer’s Research UK

As the UK’s leading dementia research charity, people often ask us whether they can help with the research effort in dementia. The answer is yes … Read more →– What difference can you make to dementia research? – Dr Laura Phipps, Alzheimer’s Research UK

Published: 5 December, 2013 | In BlogsHomeImproving research

 

Programme for G8 Dementia Summit published

Information courtesy of UK Dept of Health

You can watch live coverage of the G8 dementia summit on the homepage of the Dementia Challenge site on 11 December and follow #G8dementia on Twitter.

The programme has been published for the G8 Dementia Summit on 11 December in London. It includes details of speakers, discussion topics and panel members. The event will be facilitated by Vivienne Parry, science writer and broadcaster.dementia-summit-logo

Speakers include:

G8 Ministers and the European Commission will deliver prepared statements as part of the opening session.

The topics for discussion during the day include:

  • improving life and care for people affected by dementia and their carers
  • preventing and delaying dementia
  • social adaptation to global ageing and dementia

The press conference will take place at 3pm.

You can watch live coverage of the G8 dementia summit on the homepage of the Dementia Challenge site on 11 December and follow #G8dementia on Twitter.

Read G8 Dementia Summit Programme.

 

Increased LHIN engagement would strengthen communication lines

OLTCA encourages homes to play leading role in LHIN engagement

November 27, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy says he hopes to see increased engagement between the organization’s 17 long-term care homes and the five Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) they’re within.

Members of a panel discussion discuss the role the long-term care sector can play engaging with the 14 LHINs.

Members of a panel discussion discuss the role the long-term care sector can play engaging with the 14 LHINs.

This, he says, would create stronger communication lines as well as build upon successes already being seen by OMNI homes that are strongly engaged with their LHINs.

For instance, Rosebridge Manor in Jasper is involved with many of the South East LHIN’s mental health initiatives. Through its engagement with the LHIN, the home can listen to the mental health issues that come forward. Some of these issues have even made their way to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

McCarthy’s comments were made Nov. 25 in an interview during the Ontario Long Term Care Association’s (OLTCA’s) Fall Symposium, an annual educational event that features keynote speakers, panel discussions and networking.

“It’s a two-way communication,” he said of home-LHIN engagement, following a panel discussion on the issue. “We can help (the LHINs) with resources at the home level (and) they can help us by informing us as to what the issues are on the ground that have a system-wide impact.”

When it comes to long-term care homes engaging with LHINs, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, given the breadth of different needs and resources homes have, McCarthy notes.

For example, OMNI has several homes in the Champlain LHIN. But the two OMNI homes in Ottawa, Forest Hill and Garden Terrace, have different needs and available resources than Woodland Villa, which is located in Long Sault, just outside of Cornwall.

Even the physical structure of homes comes into play. For example, if an OMNI home wants to participate in a program that deals with mental health, does it have the capacity and staffing levels to do it?

OLTCA CEO Candace Chartier also emphasizes the importance of an individual approach to LHIN engagement.

“(The homes) know the residents they’re looking after and they know the community they’re in and they know the issues that they’re facing,” she said.

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.

BSO an example of LHIN engagement success: McCarthy

Responsive behaviours reduced when resources applied

December 3, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

MARKHAM – OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy says the province’s Behavioural Supports Ontario initiative is an example of the positive things that come from long-term care homes engaging with the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).

McCarthy’s comments were made Nov. 25 in an interview during the Ontario Long Term Care Association’s (OLTCA’s) Fall Symposium, an annual educational event that features keynote speakers, panel discussions and networking.

BSO is a $40-million provincial initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation. Funding is provided to long-term care homes through the LHINs.

Much of the funding is put towards staff education — and by giving staff members the educational resources, they have been able to enhance quality of life for residents affected by Alzheimer’s and related dementia, McCarthy says.

“There has been a reduction in behaviours, but also a reduction in the use of medications as interventions,” McCarthy tells the OMNIway.

“We followed some residents who had PRNs (pro re nata medications — pharmaceuticals given on an as-needed basis) for antipsychotics and their use fell off dramatically because we were intervening, not with drugs, but with Montessori techniques, being a big one.”

All 17 of OMNI’s long-term care homes are involved at some level. In the Central East LHIN, Riverview Manor and Streamway Villa have been lead homes in educating other long-term care homes, both within in the LHIN and within the OMNI family.

Results from engagement with BSO have been impressive.

In its first year of involvement with BSO in 2012, Riverview Manor saw a 35.5 per cent decline in responsive agitation, while the rate of PRN medication administration dropped 34.4 per cent.

Likewise, Streamway Villa reported a large reduction in incidents of responsive behaviours, such as aggression, wandering, physical resistance and agitation, after team members began applying their BSO learnings.

From a corporate perspective, a major benefit from being involved with BSO, and thereby the LHINs, has been that best practices garnered through educational sessions have been brought into OMNI’s policies, McCarthy notes.

“We’ve been able to take their knowledge and learnings and we’ve been able to incorporate it into our Supportive Measures program,” he says.

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.

Study claims singing show tunes may stave off dementia symptoms

“Popular songs help enhance cognition, quality of life for people with dementia, research shows”

November 14, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Musical activities are always popular in long-term care homes, and new research is suggesting that singing — particularly show tunes — can stave off the impact of dementia.

“The message is: don't give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

“The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

The results of the study conducted by U.S. researchers indicates that residents who are encouraged to sing show tunes, such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow and When You Wish Upon a Star, demonstrate improved cognition and enhanced quality of life.

During a four-month period, the scientists studied nine people affected by dementia who regularly sing show tunes at their eastern U.S. long-term care home. The residents are involved with a choir designed by the researchers. The residents were led in a 50-minute chorus of a variety of show tunes three times per week.

The original choir consisted of 18 residents. The nine residents who did not participate in singing during the course of the study observed those who did. Results between the two groups of residents were compared.

The study indicates that singing show tunes is particularly beneficial to residents with moderate to severe dementia.

Scans on residents involved with the study showed enhanced activity in various regions of the brain; a factor scientists believe is the result of singing songs from The Wizard of Oz , The Sound of Music, Oklahoma and Pinocchio.

Neuroscientist Dr. Jane Flinn of George Mason University in Virginia is one of the researchers involved with the study. Based on the study’s results, Flinn recommends long-term care homes consider encouraging residents with cognitive impairment to sing show tunes.

“Even when people are in the fairly advanced stages of dementia, when it is so advanced they are in a secure ward, singing sessions were still helpful,” Flinn told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

“The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

Click here for more information on the study.

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.