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.

Osteoarthritis expert offers advice to enhance quality of life

Woodland Villa resident Wally Taillon and life enrichment aide Brenda McLaren are seen here in 2011 during a visit to the Cornwall Aquatic Centre. Residents are seeing benefits from the home's aqua-therapy program. (OMNIway archives)

Woodland Villa resident Wally Taillon and life enrichment aide Brenda McLaren are seen here in 2011 during a visit to the Cornwall Aquatic Centre. Residents are seeing benefits from the home’s aqua-therapy program. (OMNIway archives)

Physical activity, not medications, the key to controlling and preventing joint disease

Thursday, January 8, 2014 -- Deron Hamel

A leading researcher who has been studying osteoarthritis for 25 years says physical activity is the No. 1 thing people can do to prevent the degenerative joint disease as well as the best way to treat it.

In an interview with the OMNIway, Dr. Gillian Hawker, chief of medicine at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, notes that people with osteoarthritis, which is common in long-term care home residents, are often prone to depression, anxiety and other mood and physical disorders.

In fact, about one quarter of people who have osteoarthritis have symptoms compatible with depression, Hawker says.

Given the negative impact osteoarthritis can have on elderly people, caregivers need to be aware that physical activity, not medications, is the key to improving quality of life for those with the disease.

“Research shows that the primary approach is not drug-related; it’s a self-management approach,” Hawker tells the OMNIway. “Physical activity, in particular, is extremely effective at improving function, reducing pain and improving mood.”

Hawker suggests that caregivers get people mobile to stave off or prevent osteoarthritis. Simple walking can be an excellent way to stay mobile — and that includes walking with a cane or walker.

For those who are immobile, Hawker suggests a warm pool of water.

“Warm pools are good because the heat is soothing and the buoyancy of water removes the stress of weight-bearing,” she says. “If someone has been really physically inactive for a long time, getting them into a pool is a great way to get them started in physical activity.”

Hawker says walking and pool therapy can show better results in relieving pain than medications, which can have negative side effects, especially in an older population.

“In fact, physical activity, put head to head with Tylenol and anti-inflammatory drugs, et cetera, does just as well if not better in clinical trials,” she 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 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.

OMNI and Wildwood Care Centre learning from each other

Wildwood Care Centre

Wildwood Care Centre

Managing St. Marys home opens opportunities

Monday, January 6, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Since OMNI Health Care began managing Wildwood Care Centre in July, the long-term care provider and the St. Marys long-term care and retirement residence have embarked on a fruitful symbiotic relationship.

One of the strong points of the relationship, says OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy, is that OMNI has been learning about some of Wildwood’s best practices that the organization can share with its other 17 homes.

Likewise, Wildwood has been adopting many of OMNI’s policies, such as supportive measures training, in an effort to introduce the organization’s culture to the home’s staff members.

“We’re sharing policies with them and moving them on to a platform where they can get full access to our policies,” McCarthy tells the OMNIway.

McCarthy says OMNI has been garnering valuable information from the 60-bed Wildwood Care Centre that can be shared within the organization.

For instance, Wildwood has a policy on needle-stick injuries that McCarthy says is “much more expansive” than OMNI’s current policy.

“(Wildwood’s needle-stick injury policy) is more inquiring, so it’s a much better system,” he says.

Wildwood Care Centre also uses a point-of-care tool, whereas OMNI homes do not, “so it’s a great opportunity for us to observe the positives and the negatives . . . we can learn from that when we start to roll it out in our homes,” McCarthy says.

Wildwood Care Centre’s administrator is Scott Walsh, whose family owns the home. McCarthy says OMNI is happy to be working with Walsh and is proud to have Wildwood Care Centre as a part of the OMNI family.

“We are really pleased to be working with him; it’s a great home in a great town in a great part of Ontario,” he 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 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.

Accreditation, health record platform, managers’ forum some of 2014’s highlights

CEO Patrick McCarthy discusses what’s on the horizon for OMNI in coming year

 

OMNI-Brochure-image

Friday, January 3, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Preparing for accreditation, moving each of its 18 long-term care homes to the MED E-care health record platform and the seventh annual spring managers’ forum are some of the major highlights at OMNI Health Care in 2014.

In a recent interview, OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy enthusiastically spoke about some of the key events to look forward to in the coming year.

At the moment, homes are busy preparing for Accreditation Canada surveyors to visit March 23-28. This is the third time OMNI has sought accreditation — three-year accreditation was granted to the organization and its homes in 2008 and 2011. The purpose of accreditation is to increase transparency and demonstrate that national standards of excellence have been met or exceeded.

“(Surveyors) will be visiting our homes and visiting our office, and we’re looking forward to a very positive outcome from that,” McCarthy tells the OMNIway.

OMNI has teams at each of its homes preparing for the surveyors’ visits and “they’ve done a great job,” he adds.

Another milestone OMNI will reach in 2014 is moving all but three of its homes to the MED E-care platform by the end of the year. The web-based platform helps long-term care homes provide better information around key quality indicators which, in turn, positions providers to maximize case mix index scores.

The tool also helps homes better manage resources to ensure the highest quality of care delivery.

“Our applications are designed to minimize care staff’s time documenting so that they have the opportunity to better assist their residents,” MED E-Care says on its website.

This spring, OMNI will host its seventh annual spring managers’ forum at Fern Resort near Orillia. The three-day event consists of workshops, presentations and activities for managers.

Prior to the forum, McCarthy says managers will be asked for their input about what they would like to see in the program to make it the most productive event possible where attendees walk away with valuable information they can use, McCarthy says.

He adds that the opportunity for managers to come together and network is one of the event’s strong points.

“I think people learn a lot from working with each other,” he 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 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.

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