Videos will discuss changes in LTC, demonstrate how OMNI is accommodating

OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy is seen here during his recent video interview with Axiom News.

OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy is seen here during his recent video interview with Axiom News.


Series to be launched this week

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 — Deron Hamel

OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy recently stopped by the newsroom to talk about the changing landscape in long-term care and what OMNI is doing to better accommodate those the changes.

In a series of video interviews which will be available when OMNI’s new news site launches later this week, McCarthy and Axiom News CEO Peter Pula discuss the fact that long-term care homes are seeing younger residents with more complex-care needs and more residents with cognitive impairment.

A large reason for this, McCarthy says, stems from the new Ontario Long-Term Care Homes Act, which was introduced in 2009.

“The act reflects what has happened in the community in terms of referrals to long-term care,” McCarthy says. “Under the act, to get into long-term care there is certain criteria that must be met for the CCAC (Community Care Access Centre) to refer a person to long-term care. Before, those medical needs didn’t need to be established.”  

As a result, long-term care homes across the province are seeing an increase of people with more complex-care needs than a decade ago — including mental-health issues, McCarthy adds.

When people with mental-health conditions also develop dementia it can create a complex environment in long-term care homes, which is what the sector has been seeing.

However, McCarthy also discusses how the province’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) program has been of great help to OMNI in accommodating those residents. BSO is a $40-million initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation.

OMNI staff members have been using BSO interventions, training and education to improve the livelihood of residents and create a safer, happier environment in homes.

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

Residents’ individual rights top of mind at Woodland

Woodland

‘A couple wanting to explore a bit has that right’

Monday, January 27, 2014 — Natalie Hamilton

Long-term care residents have the right to explore their feelings and can and do pursue relationships in their own home, an administrator says.

When asked what’s top of mind when it comes to sexuality and safety in long-term care, Woodland Villa administrator Michael Rasenberg says it’s “the individual rights of residents.”

“It’s such a fine line as to what rights they have in regards to their feelings and (interactions) between each other,” Rasenberg says.

“A couple wanting to explore a bit has that right, as long as they’re consenting and it’s in an appropriate setting.”

Woodland has a few married couples residing at the 111-bed long-term care home in Long Sault, Ont. Some spouses share rooms, others do not. When they visit each other, what they do behind closed doors is up to them, Rasenberg says.

However, the feelings between male and female residents aren’t always mutual. Occasionally staff members at the home find themselves in a position where a relationship or the desire for a companionship poses an ethical dilemma. In such cases, Rasenberg says the home turns to OMNI’s corporate document, The OMNIway Ethical Framework, for guidance.

For instance, questions arise when a resident is approached by another resident and it’s evident the first resident is not welcoming those advances. When it’s clear the affection isn’t shared by both individuals, it must be investigated from a safety perspective, the administrator says.

If there’s a case involving two consenting residents but a power of attorney who is displeased with the relationship, the home airs on the side of the residents. In one situation, residents said to staff “our rights aren’t being respected here’ – and they’re right. We talked about their rights and set some parameters from a safety aspect and it’s worked out well,” Rasenberg says.

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 is exploring the rights, risks and regulations related to the issue of sexuality and safety.

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.

OMNI CEO discusses safety in long-term care

Camer Close Edit

Patrick McCarthy highlights protocols used to balance residents’ rights with personal security

Thursday, January 23, 2014 — Deron Hamel

OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy dropped by the Axiom News offices this afternoon to discuss how the organization keeps residents safe in an environment that’s seeing more residents with aggressive behaviours.

In his videotaped interview, McCarthy discussed with Axiom News CEO Peter Pula the training and processes OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes have in place to create a safe environment for residents. The province’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) initiative and OMNI’s Supportive Measures program were some of the highlights of the discussion.

Stay tuned to the OMNIway for videos from this afternoon’s discussion.

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.

A look at what’s new with the OMNIway

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CEO interview, new website, continuation of safety and sexuality series on the horizon

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 — Deron Hamel

A video interview with OMNI Health Care’s president and CEO, the launch of a WordPress news website and the continuation of a story series exploring the issue of safety and sexuality in long-term care are some of the things to look out for in upcoming editions of the OMNIway.

On Jan. 23, OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy will be stopping by the newsroom for a video interview, where he will discuss some of the major issues we’re seeing in long-term care as well as some of the exciting things ahead for OMNI.

The OMNIway is planning to create more videos to share on its news site, and we invite you to contact us if you have videos you would like to share.

We’re also getting ready to launch a WordPress news site in the next month. The site will have a fresh, new look that will include a space for videos and a sidebar with OMNI’s Twitter feed. There will also be space for aggregated news content — written and video — addressing areas of interest to the long-term care sector, including dementia care, diabetes care and seniors issues.

We are also continuing our series exploring the issue of rights, risks and regulations related to sexuality and safety in long-term care. The OMNIway has already spoken with several homes about this topic and we’ve been pleased with the engagement level.

As always, we are interested in hearing your comments. 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, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Home uses external expert to help with sexuality-related issues

Safety and Sexuality Lead Image Jan 21 20143

‘You really need someone who has no biases’

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 — Natalie Hamilton

When two residents living in long-term care both willingly pursue a relationship together, it’s not Rosebridge Manor’s place to intervene, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) says.

But about once a year, staff members at the Jasper, Ont. long-term care home find themselves in a position where a relationship or the desire for a companionship poses an ethical dilemma.

For instance, questions arise when a resident with dementia is approached by another resident and it’s unclear whether the first resident would welcome those advances.

“It’s hard because you want to give people as much freedom as consenting people but you still have to protect the people who may not be able to say no,” Kathy Barr says.

“Every case is so very individualized and all the team members have to sit together and bring in an outside body to help if it’s something where there’s an ethical dilemma.

“If it’s just a case of two residents who want to have a relationship and both of them are enjoying and wanting that relationship, that’s fine. We don’t interfere, it’s not our right to interfere with that,” the LEC says.

When the questionable cases arise, Rosebridge involves its ethics committee and also solicits the help of Debora Steele. Steele is a Kingston-based psychogeriatric resource consultant for Lanark, Leeds and Grenville.

“It’s a very grey area. It’s a very touchy area. Do we talk to the families? Do we have the right to do that?”

Barr says there’s a variety of dynamics and opinions involved in these situations.

“You don’t really recognize those issues until they stare you right in the face.”

When it happens, there’s a variety of people, including staff and families, weighing in and using their individual past experiences to guide them.

“That’s when you really need someone who has no biases to really look at the situation and help us get through that.”
 
Steele also provides training in Gentle Persuasive Approaches and co-ordinates all of the education for long-term care homes within Rosebridge’s Local Health Integration Network.

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 is exploring the rights, risks and regulations related to the issue of sexuality and safety.

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.

Falls reduced by 30% at Country Terrace in 2013

 

This wheelchair is equipped with alarms that sound if a resident at risk of falling gets up from their seat.

This wheelchair is equipped with alarms that sound if a resident at risk of falling gets up from their seat.

 

Focus on falls prevention pays off for home
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When Country Terrace recently did an audit on the number of falls at the Komoka long-term care home, team members were surprised to see how well their many falls-prevention strategies are working.

The home reduced the number of falls from 412 in 2012 to 286 in 2013, an improvement of 30 per cent, and team members are hoping these numbers continue to decline.

Registered practical nurse (RPN) Brenda Kumagai is one of the home’s falls-prevention champions. She cites Country Terrace’s physiotherapy program, exercise programs, toileting regimens, family education and installation of proper lighting as contributing factors to the success.

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.

Reducing restraints is perhaps the greatest challenge long-term care homes face in the effort to reduce falls. Restraints, such as wheelchair seat belts or bed rails, can cause people — especially those with cognitive impairment — to want to get beyond the barriers, putting themselves at risk of falling in the process.

However, many family members insist their loved ones have restraints. This is where team members like Kumagai play an important role educating families about the dangers of restraints. Often, family members change their minds about having their loved ones’ wheelchairs or beds equipped with such devices once they learn about the risks they pose.

Scrutiny has also played a strong part in reducing falls at Country Terrace, says Kumagai. Staff members are made aware of residents who are at high risk of falling and these residents are closely watched and preventative measures, such as removing nearby clutter, are taken.

“We also look at patterns,” Kumagai tells the OMNIway. “For instance, in the evening, people may have more falls, so we will look at ways to protect them more.”

Kumagai conducts quarterly assessments on residents to examine their falls history, medications and safety devices.

Falls prevention is a major area of focus for Canadian long-term care homes. Falls pose serious health risks to seniors, and Health Canada estimates falls cost the Canadian health-care system more than $2 billion annually.

Teamwork has also played a crucial role in reducing falls at Country Terrace, Kumagai says. Front-line staff and the physiotherapy team meet monthly to discuss falls that have occurred and to develop interventions to prevent reoccurrence.

“We work well together as a team,” the RPN says.

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

Residents’ council helps to make Streamway Villa home

Streamway Villa residents' council president Barb LeBlanc (left) says the home is "like a family."

Streamway Villa residents’ council vice-president Barb LeBlanc (left) says the home is “like a family.”

Summer outing in the works

Monday, January 20, 2014 — Lisa Bailey

To be heard and respected is important to Barb LeBlanc who, as a long-time member of Streamway Villa’s residents’ council, has helped to enrich the lives of residents at the Cobourg long-term care home.

“At one meeting, we asked why not have bacon and eggs for supper instead of breakfast,” she says, citing an example of one change that’s come about. “People do that (at home), so now they do that (here). Actually we’re having bacon and eggs tonight for supper, so even little things like that they’ll go out of their way to do for us.”

LeBlanc, who is the council’s vice-president, will go around and talk to other residents, taking notes from their conversations and bringing their ideas, concerns or questions to the table. She says she enjoys the interaction and appreciates the opportunity and forum to express opinions freely.

“This is a great home,” LeBlanc says. “We’re like a family, we know everybody, and because we live here, we’re allowed to voice our opinion.”

Council discussions can touch on any area of the home; the respective managers receive notes from the meeting and have 10 days to respond to questions or concerns, and their responses are posted publicly in the home.

The process is part of new ministry standards, which life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Verleysen says is a positive change. “It’s so they know we’re trying to make a difference,” she says.

Residents’ council also discusses future events, and at their first monthly meeting of 2014, Streamway Villa’s council decided to visit Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto for this summer’s group outing.

“It’s definitely a highlight for 2014,” Verleysen says, noting the idea of the aquarium visit piqued strong interest because it is a new attraction that no one at the home has seen.

This is the second year that Streamway Villa has planned a summer group outing; last June, 19 residents accompanied by six staff volunteers attended a Toronto Blue Jays’ home game. It was a refreshing change of pace for residents as well as staff members, who were singing and enjoying one another’s company, Verleysen says.

“It was the best day,” she says, adding the staff volunteers’ teamwork was amazing, and the residents’ renewed spirits bumped up their social interaction and participation in the home’s activities following the trip.

The annual summer outing was inspired by Streamway Villa’s make-a-wish program, which LeBlanc brought to residents’ council after seeing the positive impact made by granting a resident’s last wish to attend a Toronto Blue Jays’ game.

“We started a wish box and we found that so many people wanted the same wish, we thought we would make this bigger and combine a lot of residents’ wishes in one day,” Verleysen says.

All of these collaborative efforts serve to enhance residents’ quality of life, which is the best possible result.

“We’re here to make a difference,” Verleysen says.

If you have a story to share or feedback on this article, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 25, or e-mail lisa(at)axiomnews.ca.

If OMNI can do it, Canada can do it

Springdale

Springdale administrator discusses importance of creating national dementia strategy
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When asked if Canada could have a national dementia strategy, Maureen King cites the province’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) initiative as evidence that widespread protocols and practices can work effectively.

King, the administrator at Springdale Country Manor, notes how OMNI Health Care has adopted many ideas and processes outlined in BSO, a $40-million provincial initiative designed to enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation.

The result has been reduced agitation and happier residents living in OMNI long-term care homes.

“Think of all the residents we have with Alzheimer’s — that’s a lot of lives we’re touching,” King tells the OMNIway. “Now imagine if the country had such a strategy, because just what (OMNI) has been able to do has been phenomenal and is changing lives of residents with Alzheimer’s who have responsive behaviours in our homes every single day.

“(BSO) has become a part of who we are and how we operate and how you can expect to be cared for if you come into an OMNI home. . . . OMNI is an organization that has taken itself to task and said, ‘We are going to be leaders.’ ”

So, if OMNI can enact a strategy like BSO, why can’t Canada create and implement a national dementia strategy, King says, noting Canada is the only G8 country without a strategy.

The lack of a national dementia strategy in Canada received significant media attention in December during a G8 conference in London, England focused on dementia.

With the populations of G8 nations — Canada, Britain, the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan — aging at a fast pace there’s more need now than ever to find a cure, attending health ministers concluded. The ministers vowed to invest resources to find a cure for dementia by 2025.

Until a cure is found, however, a national strategy is needed for Canada, King says. And creating one can start with bringing experts together to discuss what works best and how to implement procedures.

“If we can say, ‘Here’s how OMNI cares for residents with responsive behaviours,’ why can’t you take the same philosophies and principles and say, ‘This is how our country cares for people who have dementia,’ ” King says.

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

There’s potential to find dementia cure in next decade: OMNI CEO

Canada is the only country in the G8 without a comprehensive Dementia Strategy.
Patrick McCarthy responds to G8 commitment to cure dementia by 2025
January 14, 2014 — Deron Hamel

OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy says the commitment made by G8 health ministers in December to find a cure for dementia by 2025 is not unreasonable, given the progress that has been made into treating other serious conditions.

“I think it has potential,” McCarthy tells the OMNIway, when asked about the probability of finding a dementia cure by 2025.

He adds that research has unearthed many discoveries about Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, which is also promising.

“It has been said in the past that a cure or a treatment is in sight — they’ve isolated several causal effects but haven’t really found ways to deal with that,” McCarthy says. “They have developed medications that help slow the progress and help speed up neuronal transitions.”

There’s another reason to believe that a cure for dementia might not be too far away; the fact that a lot of progress has been made into finding treatments for diseases such as cancer.

Meeting at a G8 conference in London 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.

McCarthy says he commends the G8 health ministers for their commitment to finding a cure for dementia, adding any inroads that will prevent or manage dementia will have a positive impact on society.

“Because it’s not a disease that’s easy to live with,” he says.

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.

Learn why early Alzheimer’s diagnosis is crucial

Alzheimer Society of Canada CEO Mimi Lowi-Young is seen here giving a speech at the Economic Club of Canada on the need for a national dementia plan.

Alzheimer Society of Canada CEO Mimi Lowi-Young is seen here giving a speech at the Economic Club of Canada on the need for a national dementia plan. Photo courtesy Alzheimer Society of Canada.

January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Monday, January 13, 2014 — Deron Hamel
The Alzheimer Society of Canada is promoting the importance of early diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia in its campaign Early Diagnosis Keeps Your Life from Unravelling.

The campaign was launched at the beginning of January to mark Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in Canada. The Alzheimer Society is encouraging Canadians to visit the campaign’s website, http://www.earlydiagnosis.ca, to learn more about dementia. By visiting the site, people will learn about symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as well as about why early diagnosis is important.

With early diagnosis, people who have dementia can access needed supports earlier and even avoid potential crisis situations. Unfortunately, people often don’t get early diagnosis. The reason, the society explains, is largely due to stigma about the disease. According to one Canadian survey, 60 per cent of respondents said it would be difficult for them to tell others they had had dementia because of preconceived notions about mental health.

The Alzheimer Society estimates 747,000 Canadians — many of whom live in long-term care homes — have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and the number is expected to climb to 1.4 million by 2031.

“Seventy-four per cent of Canadians know someone with dementia and more and more Canadians will continue to develop the disease. We want to make sure they’re getting the help they need at every stage of the disease,” says Mimi Lowi-Young, the Alzheimer Society’s CEO, in a statement.

“As devastating as the news can be, early diagnosis brings relief to families, gives them control over their situation and adds more years of living active and fulfilling lives.”

The campaign’s launch comes on the heels of a conference in London in December, where G8 health ministers pledged to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. The conference was held to address concern about the increasing number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia worldwide.

Related story: G8 health ministers commit to curing dementia by 2025

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