Riverview team dedicates Butterfly Run to residents who’ve experienced child loss

‘We are their voice today’

DOURO-DUMMER, Ont. – Riverview Manor team members participated in the five-kilometre Peterborough Butterfly Run April 30 in support of families and individuals who have experienced the loss of a child, miscarriage or infertility.

As much as the Riverview team – dubbed the Riverview Baby’s Breath – was walking the paths of the Robert Johnston Eco-Forest Trail in Douro-Dummer Township to raise money for people who have recently experienced such loss, they were also there to support some of the residents they care for, says Tammy Colman-Sadd.

Tammy, the director of care at Riverview Manor, notes there are residents of the home who know the pain of child loss, and many come from a time when such things weren’t discussed.

Some still find it difficult to talk about the loss of a baby, she adds. There are long-term-care home residents who have experienced child loss and miscarriage who never shared the trauma they went through with their surviving children, Tammy says.

Staff members sometimes learn about such trauma when residents quietly share their experiences decades later, she notes.

A bereaved mother herself, Tammy knows the pain of child loss. She also knows how important it is to talk about the grief that comes with losing a child rather than hiding it.

The Riverview Manor team’s walk was dedicated to those residents who still cannot talk about their loss.

“We are their voice today,” Tammy, who organized the walk for the Riverview team, told The OMNIway before the start of the event.

Nine Riverview Manor team members participated in this year’s Peterborough Butterfly Run. At the time of this writing, there is still money to come in and team members say they expect about $1,000 will be raised for local families and individuals.

As with the past two years, the Butterfly Run was virtual to enhance safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of having many teams participating at the same time, teams from across the Peterborough area were allowed to complete their walk or run between April 24 and May 1.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Riverview Manor team members pose for a group photo during the Peterborough Butterfly Run at the Robert Johnston Eco-Forest Trail April 30. 

Rosebridge Manor aims to boost its volunteer roster

People needed to provide one-to-one-support, help with outings

As provincial government restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic ease, many OMNI Health Care homes are welcoming family members and visitors once again.

Rosebridge Manor in Jasper is experiencing this return of entertainers and loved ones, much to the joy of its residents.

But as life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Kathy Barr looks ahead towards planning upcoming programs and activities, she’s coming up a bit short in terms of volunteers.

While Rosebridge Manor has typically had a healthy roster of volunteers, the number of people available to lend a helping hand has dwindled during the past two years amidst the pandemic.

Some volunteers are aging and are not up to coming into the home anymore, others are nervous about the coronavirus, and some have moved on with their lives in other areas.

“That’s going to be a work in progress – getting volunteers back in the home,” Kathy says.

“We need to work on building that back up because so many things have happened over the last two years — more than two years — that have impacted our volunteer program. We have to almost start from scratch again with the exception of one or two volunteers.”

While Kathy expects students to reach out to the home to complete their volunteer hours, she’s also looking for additional volunteers to spend time with residents.

People can help in many ways, Kathy says. They can assist with outings and activities and programs. Of particular need at the moment, are volunteers who can spend one-on-one time with individual residents, the LEC says.

Having conversations, sharing a short story, enjoying music, or playing a card game are just a few examples of one-to-one activities.

“That’s the first priority.”

As spring here, residents are also looking to enjoy the outdoors so that will be happening more often when warmer weather arrives.

Volunteers can play a role there too by accompanying residents on a stroll around the property or taking part in gardening. The summer also holds opportunities for volunteers to assist with barbecues and other outdoor events.

For more information about volunteering, call Kathy at 613-283-5471 and/or keep an eye on an upcoming edition of the home’s newsletter.

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Creative team members ensure Burnbrae residents have Easter during outbreak

With safety precautions in effect, residents enjoyed cookie decorating, a colouring contest and window visits from the Easter bunny

Despite being in the midst of an outbreak, Burnbrae Gardens residents were still able to enjoy an Easter celebration with safety precautions in effect, thanks to the Campbellford long-term care home’s team members tapping into their creativity.

Residents have been in isolation since the outbreak was declared April 8, and staff members wanted to keep spirits high by providing everyone with Easter treats and some surprises to mark the holiday, says Burnbrae Gardens administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) April Faux.

Initially, the home planned to host an outdoor Easter egg hunt for staff members’ children, and there was also supposed to be a parade, but those plans were cancelled when the outbreak was declared.

Instead, April and the life enrichment team organized Easter cookie decorating for residents, providing them with cookies, icing and utensils that were delivered to every resident who could participate.

There was a colouring contest where residents were provided with markers and sheets of paper. Team members also made Easter baskets filled with small treats that were customized to each resident’s diet texture that were delivered Easter morning.

Due to safety precautions in effect, residents are being delivered meals in their rooms, but team members provided Easter-themed placemats with their tray service to keep with the holiday theme.

“Staff wanted to ensure the residents had that special touch,” April tells The OMNIway. “The staff really went the extra mile to try to bring a smile to their faces in light of the times they’re facing.”

Capping off the Easter weekend was a visit from the Easter bunny, played by former Pleasant Meadow Manor LEC Chris Garden, who came to residents’ windows for visits.

“That really brought a lot of smiles, and sometimes tears, to their faces,” April says. “She has done this for the past few years, but it was extra-special this year because we were in isolation, and it just meant that much more to have that special touch, so a big thanks to Chris for doing that for us.”

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Redeveloped Village Green will be an important community asset: administrator

Job creation and improved local access to LTC beds are among the community benefits the new 128-bed home will provide, says Linda Pierce

When the project to redevelop Village Green is completed, the state-of-the-art 128-bed long-term care home will not only enhance the living and working experience for residents and staff members, it will also be a major benefit to the community, says Linda Pierce.

Linda, Village Green’s administrator, says the redeveloped Village Green will create employment opportunities for Greater Napanee as well as ensure more people in the region requiring long-term care will be able to stay close to home.

Village Green employs about 85 people. Because the redeveloped home will be almost double in size – Village Green currently has 66 beds – about twice as many people will be needed to staff the new home.

Linda notes the region around Greater Napanee contains many small towns and villages where people have lived all their lives. A major benefit the additional 62 beds will bring to the region, she says, is that people living in these communities needing long-term care will have increased access to beds.

“That’s comforting for people to know; that you’re going to be where you grew up,” Linda tells The OMNIway, adding this is equally important to families.

“Being close to Mom and Dad is important (for families), and in our area, we are an aging population. … We have cared for our moms and our dads and our aunts and uncles … and that’s a great honour to be able to (continue to) do that.”

Village Green was approved for redevelopment by the province in November 2020. Construction on the new Village Green, which will be located at the northwest corner of Drive-In Road and Highway 41 in Greater Napanee, could start as early as autumn.

Once completed, the new Village Green will be a Class A long-term care home consisting of four spacious living areas that will each be home to 32 residents.

The redeveloped Village Green will also have modern amenities, such as wider hallways and more home-like dining areas, and privacy will be enhanced by limiting all rooms to no more than one or two beds.

Outside, the new Village Green will have scenic gardens and outdoor space as well as a “whole home” gathering area and chapel space.

“It’s going to be just absolutely stunning,” Linda says of the redeveloped Village Green. “It’s going to have quite a presence in our community.”

– This is Part 3 of a three-part story series

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March Madness recipe challenge now down to four contenders

Asian beef, Mediterranean omelette, chicken shawarma sandwich and steak salad are the meals advancing to the semi-finals

The quarter-final votes are in and counted, and there are four meals advancing to the next round of voting in OMNI Health Care’s first annual March Madness recipe challenge.

The meals advancing to the semifinal round are:

– Asian beef

– Mediterranean omelette

– Chicken shawarma sandwich

– Steak salad

You can click here to vote for your favourite meals in Round 3 of the bracket contest.

OMNI launched the first annual March Madness recipe challenge in March in recognition of Nutrition Month in Canada.

The idea behind the contest was hatched by Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, to encourage nutritional care managers and cooks to showcase their most-loved recipes and to highlight the high-quality meals served in OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes.

Throughout March, nutritional care managers and cooks prepared their favourite meals, plated them and took photos that were sent to head office. The photos were accompanied by the name of each meal and its recipe.

Each week, throughout the contest’s duration, The OMNIway will announce the winners from the previous week’s match-ups in a story on this site.

The semifinals will end the week of April 29, and the final week of voting will end May 6 to decide the winning recipe.

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Bunny visit, egg hunt and lots of reminiscing highlight Garden Terrace Easter

‘We tried to plan as many events as we could’

Garden Terrace residents recently had a ball – an Easter ball, that is, when the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home hosted a social event April 14 that included some traditional Easter activities and lots of reminiscing.

Rachael King, the Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator, says many of the ladies and gents got dressed up for the event, which, she says, “was more like a social.”

Team members, she notes, decorated the home’s activity area and provided name tags for everyone as well as handed out tea and potato chips.

Then there was an appearance from the main attraction of the day, the Easter bunny. Life enrichment aide Dakota Lynch dressed up for the part and did the rounds handing out Easter eggs filled with a variety of chocolates and candy.

Rachael says one of the best parts of the event was seeing the residents share their favourite Easter stories.

“The residents really liked it (because) they got to reminisce about their Easter traditions,” she tells The OMNIway.

For instance, residents who are from Canada shared stories about how they had Easter-egg hunts as children, while residents who grew up outside of Canada shared memories of the traditions of their home countries.

Over the Easter weekend, there was another Easter bunny visit and a program called “thankful hour”, where residents talked about the things they’re thankful for.

And, of course, no Easter celebration would be complete without an Easter egg hunt.

“We tried to plan as many events as we could,” Rachael says.

While pandemic precautions were still in effect at the event, Rachael says there was also a shared feeling of optimism about life returning to normal.

“Everyone was sitting around and relaxing and talking about the good old days and about what’s coming up in life,” she says. “And that was very nice.”

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Dietary team members share their passion for making residents happy through meal service

Cooks and dietary aides profiled recently share a passion for their work and a love for serving residents

In honour of Nutrition Month, The OMNIway profiled several cooks and dietary aides working in nutritional care departments at OMNI Health Care long-term care homes throughout March.

Common threads among everyone we spoke with were a passion for their work and a love for serving residents.

Streamway Villa cook Litsa Christodoulou said every shift she works at the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home is a chance to make a difference in residents’ lives.

It can be something as simple as plating meals colourfully or making a happy face out of bacon and eggs, she says.

“I know it might sound a little bit kooky, but they love it; they will think that is the greatest thing,” Litsa tells The OMNIway.

Litsa has been doing “kooky” things like this for residents for seven years, and she says there’s no other job she can imagine doing.

“The thing I love about working in long-term care is the residents,” she says. “Putting a smile on residents’ faces – there is nothing more rewarding than that.”

Like cooks, dietary aides at OMNI homes also have a passion for making a difference in residents’ lives.

Roseann Evans has been a dietary aide at Willows Estate in Aurora for a year. Before that, she honed her hospitality skills working as a supervisor on cruise ships for 17 years.

Making the shift from working on cruise ships to working in a long-term care home has come with rewards, Roseann says, noting working at the Willows has given her the opportunity to ensure residents receive high-quality meal service.

And there’s also that personal touch that comes with working in a long-term care home.

“It’s a rewarding job, especially when you see the smiles on the residents’ faces and they call you by your name, that’s the thing for me,” Roseann says.

At Country Terrace in Komoka, Georgina Pantazopoulos works both as a cook and a dietary aide. She says having these dual roles lets her create the meals that make residents happy as well as the opportunity to see the smiles on residents’ faces when she is serving them as a dietary aide.

Aside from being able to make a difference to residents each day, Georgina also commends her colleagues at Country Terrace for making it an ideal workplace.

“Everyone is so upbeat and caring, and that’s really nice – and that really makes a difference,” she says.

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Bunny visit merges Easter programming with pet therapy at the Willows

LEA Bobbi Wright dressed as the Easter bunny visited residents – and was accompanied by a real bunny

The Willows Estate team married an Easter activity with a pet therapy program on April 13 when two bunnies visited the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home’s residents.

One of the bunnies was in costume. Life enrichment aide (LEA) Bobbi Wright put on an Easter bunny outfit that day and strolled around the Willows, visiting residents and wishing them a happy Easter.

She also brought her daughter’s pet rabbit to the home that day and was able to bring residents some much-appreciated pet therapy.

When Bobbi visited residents as the Easter bunny, they were able to have some time with the real bunny.

Residents were able to pet and cuddle the rabbit with their hands, which had a positive impact on everyone, says Teddy Mazzuca, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC).

“The residents were really petting the bunny, and I was so impressed,” she tells The OMNIway. “It turned out so well – it was so nice that we could do this.”

This was the first Easter Willows Estate had a bunny visit, Teddy says.

“I don’t believe in my time we’ve had a bunny here, so this was nice,” she says. “Bobbi was willing to bring the bunny in, which was so nice of her.”

While it was Teddy who came up with the idea for the Easter program, she underscores that all activities at the home result from strong teamwork.

“It’s always a joint effort at the Willows,” she says.

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Playful puppies pop by Garden Terrace

A visit from four puppies and their mother proves to be both fun and therapeutic for residents

A visit from a mother dog and her puppies proved to be both fun and therapeutic for Garden Terrace residents.

On April 3, Dawn O’Leary, a nurse at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home, brought her Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever and her four puppies to visit residents.

Life enrichment team members took the pups to have visits with residents on each floor. There was also a playpen set up for the puppies.

During their visits, residents played with the puppies and they got to hold them. Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King notes that one of the residents’ favourite activities with the puppies was watching them jostle in the playpen.

“They loved watching the puppies wrestle,” she tells The OMNIway.

“The residents also reminisced. They talked about what they would name the dogs, they talked about dogs they had owned in the past, and they talked about what dogs meant to them.”

Some residents have had a version of pet therapy in the past using life-like robotic dogs, but these residents told Rachael it’s not the same as a real canine.

Rachael says the pups also encouraged resident engagement.

“Some residents who usually don’t come to programs came to this one, and that was nice,” she adds.

The program went so well Garden Terrace is planning to have Dawn return soon with the pups for another visit.

“Hopefully, we will have them back in a few weeks,” she says.

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Eight meals advance to second round of voting in March Madness recipe challenge

First round of voting between 16 meals was tight

Results from the first week of voting in OMNI Health Care’s first annual March Madness recipe challenge are in, and from the 16 entries submitted by nutritional care team members, eight meals have advanced to the second round.

During the first week of voting in the culinary battle royal, there were close calls across the board, but in the end, voters chose the victors who are moving on to Round 2.

You can click here to vote for your favourite meals in Round 2 of the bracket contest.

The meals that advanced to the next round of voting are:

– Asian beef

– Turkey club sandwich

– Mediterranean omelet

– Greek kabob

– Beef patty with mushroom sauce

– Chicken shawarma sandwich

– Tenderloin steak

– Steak salad

OMNI launched the first annual March Madness recipe challenge in March in recognition of Nutrition Month in Canada.

The idea behind the contest was hatched by Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, to encourage nutritional care managers and cooks to showcase their most-loved recipes and to highlight the high-quality meals served in OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes.

Throughout March, nutritional care managers and cooks prepared their favourite meals, plated them and took photos that were sent to head office. The photos were accompanied by the name of each meal and its recipe.

Each Tuesday throughout the contest’s duration, The OMNIway will announce the winners from the previous week’s match-ups in a story on this site.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.