Residents applaud care provided at Country Terrace

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Ann Pus and Mac Grant underscore value of care provided at Komoka home

Friday, August 15, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Ann Pus was always thankful for the high level of care her husband, Anton, received when he was living at Country Terrace 10 years ago.

So, when Ann, 89, decided in July 2012 that it was time for her to move into a long-term care home, she didn’t hesitate about going to Country Terrace.

“I’m here because my husband liked it here,” Ann says, adding the care staff members provide at the home has remained consistent since her husband was a resident. “They do an honest-to-goodness good job of taking care of me. . . . And I want to stay here.”

Since coming to live at Country Terrace, resident Mac Grant says he has only seen and heard good things about the home. Staff and residents, he says, treat each other with respect, and the care provided is excellent.

“Everything is fine and dandy for me here,” Grant says. “There’s good staff, and the caregivers are quite good — the people who look after the building do a very good job as well.”

Country Terrace administrator Karen Dann says a key strength found at the Komoka long-term care home is the staff. Staff members, she says, put residents’ needs first and go above and beyond to ensure their experience at Country Terrace is as enriching as possible.

“I have wonderful staff, both personal support workers (PSWs), registered and managers who truly want each and every resident to have the best possible experience at Country Terrace,” Dann says.

“I see staff sitting holding hands of distraught residents, sitting beside a resident who is dying offering comfort and companionship, laughing with residents and making every effort to meet every request that comes their way.”

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.

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Resident reacts to negative media report on LTC

Country Terrace

Mac Grant says Country Terrace is a great place to live

Thursday, August 14, 2014 — Deron Hamel

While long-term care homes are often the subject of negative press, Country Terrace resident Mac Grant says he thinks some reporters have been “watching too many old movies on TV.”

A recent news report cited several homes in southwestern Ontario — including Country Terrace — for the number of reported instances of abuse. Country Terrace staff members are committed to reporting, investigating and following up on any instance of alleged or suspected abuse to ensure the safety and care of residents.

The term “abuse” as used in long-term care home reporting is much broader than many news outlets represent.  The definition includes verbal and emotional abuse, including disrespectful comments and neglectful care that could, for example, arise from a delay in coming to the assistance of a resident.

These are not tolerated by long-term care homes but are not measured in the community or most other health-care settings. Reported instances of abuse are not ranked in any way by measures of severity, and there is no process for retracting reported allegations that have been cleared upon investigation.

Since coming to live at Country Terrace, Grant says he has only seen and heard good things about the home. Staff and residents, he says treat each other with respect. He adds there’s a high level of care offered to residents living at Country Terrace.

“I’m very happy here,” he says over the phone, from his room at the Komoka long-term care home. “The management team is on top of everything.”

Occasionally, Grant notes, there are incidents where two residents don’t get along. When this happens, he says staff members are always quick to intervene and take steps to ensure those residents are kept separate.

“And in general, I’d say (resident conflicts are) pretty rare,” Grant says.

Administrator Karen Dann adds that resources like the province’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) initiative are a valuable tool for preventing resident-on-resident abuse.

“I am not negating that sometimes dementia leads to residents acting out in a way that may affect other residents or staff, but through our behavioural support program we address these behaviours and are committed to keeping all residents safe from harm,” she says.

“My experience, both as a staff nurse and as administrator here, is that staff are 100 per cent committed to providing a safe and happy experience for our residents.”

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.

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Older adults are ‘morning people’: study

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Researchers emphasize importance of older adults completing cognitive tasks in the morning

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Older adults are shown to be higher functioning when given demanding cognitive tasks in the morning compared to later in the day, according to a recent Canadian study.

Research from the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences indicates that testing people in the morning also stimulates the cognitive networks that help younger individuals pay attention and reduce distraction.

The study’s lead author, John Anderson, a PhD candidate with the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences and University of Toronto’s psychology department, emphasizes the importance of time of day in the brains of older adults.

“Their improved cognitive performance in the morning correlated with greater activation of the brain’s attentional control regions — the rostral prefrontal and superior parietal cortex — similar to that of younger adults,” Anderson says.

Based on the study’s findings, Anderson recommends older adults perform their most challenging tasks in the morning.

The study examined 16 people aged 60 to 82 and 16 people aged 19 to 30. The people were given memory tests involving studying and recalling picture and word combinations at different times of day.

During the testing process, individuals’ brains were scanned to help scientists understand which areas were activated. A notable finding was that older people tested between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. were less likely to pay attention to distractions than those tested later in the afternoon.

Dr. Lynn Hasher, a senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute and psychology professor at the University of Toronto, underscores the importance of early-in-the-day testing of cognitive function for older adults.

“Since older adults tend to be morning-type people, ignoring time of day when testing them on some tasks may create an inaccurate picture of age differences in brain function,” Hasher says.

The study’s findings were published July 7 in the online edition of Psychology and Aging.

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.

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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.

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People make the difference at Woodland Villa, couple says

Ron and Dorothy Clare are seen here relaxing in their private room at Woodland Villa.

Ron and Dorothy Clare are seen here relaxing in their private room at Woodland Villa.

Ron and Dorothy Clare discuss their favourite aspects of home

Monday, August 11, 2014 — Deron Hamel

SOUTH STORMONT, Ont. – Ron and Dorothy Clare have lived at Woodland Villa for the past year, and both husband and wife say what makes life great at the Cornwall-area long-term care home is the people.

Inside the home, the Clares say residents and staff members are a friendly bunch who facilitates a warm, welcoming atmosphere that is an ingrained part of Woodland Villa’s culture.

“The people here — all the people here — are really nice . . . and that’s an important thing,” Ron says.

Dorothy says the warm atmosphere is something she noticed from the day she and Ron moved into the home. Woodland Villa residents and staff members, she says, were quick to introduce themselves and make them feel at home.

“Everybody wants to know the new person who came in, and they always come to you to introduce themselves,” Dorothy explains. “Everyone meets everyone else very quickly.”

She adds that the many activities offered by the home’s life enrichment department provide an excellent forum for residents to interact and get to know each other.

The homey atmosphere the Clares have found at Woodland Villa extends to their private room, which is adorned with Ron’s elaborate carvings and paintings, and to the meals served.

Good food, the Clares say, is an important to them and to other residents, they say, adding choices are given to residents at every meal.

“They have a pretty good system here (for food service),” Ron says.

Another aspect of Woodland Villa life the Clares like is the home’s residents’ council. They say the meetings provide an outlet for residents to dialogue and have their voices heard.

“We’re asked if we want to see anything improved or if we want something done different,” Dorothy says. “And they listen.”

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.

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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.

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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

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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.”

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