Spirit of Winter Olympics comes to Maplewood

The Olympic rings and torch to mark Maplewood's winter games are seen outside the Brighton long-term care home.

The Olympic rings and torch to mark Maplewood’s winter games are seen outside the Brighton long-term care home.

Residents competing in their own version of Winter Olympics this week

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 — Deron Hamel

The spirit of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics has touched down at Maplewood, where residents and staff members at the Brighton long-term care home celebrated with their own opening ceremonies which included a torch relay.

Acting as Olympic torchbearers, residents Douglas Nicholson, Ena Clews, and John and June Closs carried a makeshift torch through Maplewood’s corridors to the “Olympic Stadium” — the dining room.

“The afternoon was such a hit,” says life enrichment co-ordinator Rachel Corkery, adding the day included a snowball fight.

“Man, I got hit by so many snowballs, but the best part was seeing all their faces and hearing their laughter. It was so much fun.”

During the next week, three teams of residents will be competing in Maplewood’s version of Winter Olympic events. The specially planned events include an ice-cream meltdown, bowling, curling and slalom races.

There are three resident teams competing. The teams are named after the three words in the Olympics’ motto: Citius (swifter), Altius (higher), Fortius (stronger).

Closing ceremonies will be hosted next Sunday to mark the end of a fun week and gold, silver and bronze medals will be presented.

Corkery says residents’ excitement is building.

“The residents are really looking forward to a great week,” 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 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.

Expert uses interactive exercises to engage palliative-care network

Dr. Brian Nichols is seen here speaking to a group of palliative caregivers.

Dr. Brian Nichols is seen here speaking to a group of palliative caregivers.


Dr. Brian Nichols emphasizes self care

February 10, 2014 — Deron Hamel

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – Psychotherapist Dr. Brian Nichols recently provided a group of local caregivers — including several staff members from OMNI Health Care long-term care homes — with a series of interactive exercises to help them evaluate their work and encourage them to always make time for themselves.

During his presentation at an event Feb. 6 hosted by the Four Counties Long-Term Care Palliative Network, Nichols said palliative care is a “calling” and wants those practising end-of-life care to be sure they’re in the right career.

He also told the 70 people attending that caregivers need to tend to their own needs in order to be effective — and to avoid burnout.

Nichols used a video presentation, art therapy and one-one-one exercises to engage people.

These exercises largely helped people look inside themselves. For instance, one exercise had 10 participants at a time watch a short video about a woman interviewing her father and asking him about a family member who had died. Nichols asked people to react to the film and share the feelings they experienced.

So what does Nichols want caregivers to take away from the event?

“I believe the most important things they already know,” he tells the OMNIway. “So (it would be for them) to go inside themselves and quieten the voices that say, ‘I’m not good enough’ . . . and connect with their heart.”

Nichols, who has volunteered with Hospice Peterborough and spent time in Africa helping people afflicted with AIDS through the end-of-life process, knows first-hand of the personal challenges that come from providing care to people who are dying.

To ensure he’s always focused, Nichols has created a list of what he calls “tools for strengthening powers of observation.” He adds these activities “help me discover who I really am.”

These are some of the ideas he recommends other caregivers consider adopting in their lives:

– Daily journaling
– Meditation
– Art
– Yoga
– Music
– Walks
– Gardening
– Travel

In other words, these are all things caregivers can do for themselves to enrich their lives and keep them focused on their work.

“Self care is essential,” Nichols says. “Look after yourself first, and then you can give.”

The Four Counties Palliative Care Network holds five workshops annually to discuss best practices in palliative care in long-term care homes. The network consists of representatives from long-term care homes in Peterborough, Haliburton and Northumberland counties, as well as the City of Kawartha Lakes.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Resident-to-resident relations can create grey areas

But residents’ rights must be central in decision-making, says DOC

When a long-term care home resident expresses romantic interest in another resident, it sometimes creates a grey area. What’s important, says Lesley Dale, is that residents’ rights are top of mind for home staff and family members. Read more

Supportive Measures key to preventing unwanted advances: administrator

PMM

Pleasant Meadow Manor would turn first to OMNI’s proven program

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Although Pleasant Meadow Manor has not had incidents of residents making unwanted sexual advances on other residents, administrator and director of care Sandra Tucker says staff members would look first to a tried and proven intervention — Supportive Measures — if they occurred.

A core OMNI Health Care program, Supportive Measures is aimed at developing an individualized approach to care. It also utilizes individual interventions to identify the causes of anxiety and agitation and enact processes to help residents feel calm and secure in their home.

Tucker says if an incident of unwanted sexual advances occurred at the Norwood long-term care home, a staff member would approach the resident making the advances and redirect them using tools from the Supportive Measures program.

For example, the staff member might approach the resident and start talking about a subject of interest to change their focus. Or a staff member might suggest the resident join them for a walk.

However, if a situation arose involving two consenting residents and there was no objection from the residents’ power of attorney (POA), Tucker says staff members would not interfere — after all, this is the residents’ home and they have the right to pursue relationships.

Tucker underscores that residents’ rights must remain top of mind.

“We work at the residents’ home; they don’t live at our work,” she says. “If there are two consenting adults wishing to have a relationship, who are we to interfere with that?”

If a POA objected to this — for example, if the incident involved a resident with a spouse living outside the home — staff members would accommodate the POA’s wishes.

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 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.

Online test may be valuable tool in detecting Alzheimer’s

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SAGE developed to foster early diagnosis

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 — Deron Hamel

A new online test developed by Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center may help flag early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers.

The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE) has been developed to evaluate people’s thinking processes and detect warning signs compatible with symptoms of cognitive impairment.

While the test cannot diagnose Alzheimer’s disease — further testing by a specialist is necessary to determine if a person has cognitive impairment — the test’s results can be shared with doctors to assist with diagnosis, researchers say.

“It is normal to experience some memory loss and to take longer to recall events as you age,” the SAGE website says. “But if the changes you are experiencing are worrying you or others around you, SAGE can be a helpful tool to assess if further evaluation is necessary.”

If the test indicates signs of Alzheimer’s disease, a primary-care physician can interpret results and recommend next steps. If the test does not indicate symptoms, the physician can keep the results on file and compare them to future tests to determine changes.

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease early is important, so people who have it or related dementia can access needed supports earlier and even avoid potential crisis situations.

“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,” says Mimi Lowi-Young, the Alzheimer Society’s CEO, in a statement.

The Alzheimer Society estimates 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. This includes many people living in long-term care homes.

The written SAGE test evaluates several areas of cognition and takes about 15 minutes to complete. It includes questions involving short-term memory, picture recognition, spatial reasoning and drawing exercises.

Click here for more information on SAGE, including a link to download the test.

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.

Prolific Canadian chiseler continues to create

 

Frances Gage reads from the book written about her life and talent.

Frances Gage reads from the book written about her life and talent.

 

Positive outlook and drive inspire others at Streamway Villa
Monday, February 3, 2014 — Lisa Bailey

COBOURG, Ont. – From the town  park and art gallery near her home at Streamway Villa in Cobourg to the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Frances Gage’s artistry graces many spaces for all to see.

At 90, she continues to create today, fashioning pendants and other small pieces from clay as gifts for staff members at the long-term care home.

“Never stop working, never stop looking. That gives you all sorts of ideas that you want to use,” Gage advises when asked what she’d tell others inspired to sculpt.

Gage has been described as one of Canada’s most prolific sculptors, though she prefers to be called a “chiseler.”

“Sculptors do everything, chiselers are mostly carvers,” she explains.

Gage has created hundreds of works of art in everything from wood to cast stone for many commissions in public spaces. She’s done everything from portrait busts of business leaders and walnut relief panels at London’s Fanshawe College, to crests for Toronto’s bridges and a marble sculpture called “Woman” at the Women’s College Hospital.

Gage studied at various art institutes, including the Ontario College of Art and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. She was friends with Frances Loring and Florence Wyle, who were known as the first women of Canadian sculpture, and she had a connection with Canada’s renown Group of Seven landscape painters, producing a portrait of AY Jackson and working in a rat-infested studio shack in Toronto that Tom Thomson once used.

“It had tremendous atmosphere,” Gage says of the shack, describing it with the remarkable memory and sharp wit that endears her to many.

“It had an orange floor that was high in the middle and low in all four corners, so I didn’t have to sweep the floor at all,” she says with a smile.

Gage’s life was chronicled in a book a few years ago, sparked by a talk she gave at the Art Gallery of Northumberland in Cobourg. She returned to the gallery after moving to Streamway Villa and shared with fellow residents during an outing the story of her piece called “Proud Cat,” which is displayed at the gallery.

“It was so great to hear about the history of it and the work that went into this one piece,” says Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Verleysen.

“She’s absolutely a talent and one amazing lady,” Verleysen says, noting Gage’s positive outlook on life and drive are to be emulated.

“I’ve never seen someone with so much passion about what she did, it’s unbelievable. She’s so open about it and she’s very modest at the same time.”

A visit to Gage’s room reveals some of her life’s loves. Her radio plays classical music – a source of inspiration, she says – and books reflect a love of reading. Photos of friends and animals adorn a large area on one wall.

“To see how many friends come here on a daily basis and the flowers that are delivered just shows how much she means to so many people,” Verleysen says.

Among the photo display are pictures of Gage teaching in Guelph decades ago. “I think I learned more from teaching than from anything else, because when I was teaching (students) I thought about what they should be doing and then I thought of what I should be doing, which is something quite different,” she says.

Among Gage’s favourite creations is “Woman” at the Women’s College Hospital, which honours all of the women who work there, and “Sheltering Form,” which is in Cobourg’s Victoria Park and dedicated to victims of abuse.

Asked what it means to be able to share so many of her creations with the public, Gage replies immediately. “It makes me feel very responsible. I feel I’ve been given so much and I have to give it back,” she says, citing as examples the scholarships she received to attend the École des Beaux-Arts and the Art Students League in New York, and all of the people who mentored and taught her.

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.

Article on resident violence highlights triggers

Article

Maclean’s story steers clear of laying blame

Friday, January 31, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When a violent act occurs in a long-term care home, too often media outlets will cover the story, explain the incident in great detail but miss the bigger picture. The result is that fingers start pointing at the home and its staff members while the cause of the incident is ignored.

A recent article in Maclean’s magazine, however, takes a much different approach to a violent act in a long-term care home — one that focuses on what caused the incident rather on who to blame.

The article tells the story of Jack Furman, a 95-year-old resident of a Vernon, B.C. long-term care home who allegedly killed his roommate in August. Both men lived in the dementia unit at Paulson Residential Care. Furman, who has since been placed in a psychiatric hospital, was charged with second-degree murder (the charge was later stayed).

But what were the triggers leading to the alleged assault that claimed the life of 85-year-old Bill May? Who is Jack Furman and is there anything that will explain his alleged actions?

This is where the Maclean’s story comes in and tells us of another Jack Furman; a veteran of the First Special Service Force who fought in the Second World War; a man who witnessed — and committed — countless violent acts perpetrated in the name of war.

In 2010, Furman, who was already exhibiting symptoms of dementia, travelled to Italy to revisit the battlefields where he once fought. Interviewed by Historica Canada’s Memory Project, the veteran recounted how he couldn’t stand the sight of an animal being killed for food, let alone seeing a violent act against a person.

“And then you get over (to the battlefields) and you see guys that are seriously wounded, and you wonder how in the hell we could do this to each other,” Furman recounted. “It’s just beyond imagination.”

Furman also graphically discussed the process of quietly killing German sentries with a knife; and how they would leave stickers on the bodies of the dead soldiers that read “Das dicke ende kommt noch!” or “The worst is yet to come!”

We don’t know the details leading up to the alleged assault; they’ve not been released. What we do know is that Jack Furman’s life has been marked by horrors most of us will never experience. From what we know about dementia, the impact of memories stored from long ago can become vivid in the present day.

Jack Furman the man, not the violent act he allegedly committed, is what the Maclean’s article brings to the forefront.

Click here to read the full article.

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.

Streamway Villa residents pay it forward

Residents’ council member Barb LeBlanc (centre) visits   with the life enrichment team’s Christina Verleysen (left) and Lynette Sandercock.

Residents’ council member Barb LeBlanc (centre) visits
with the life enrichment team’s Christina Verleysen (left) and Lynette Sandercock.

Council helping people near and far

January 29, 2014 — Lisa Bailey

Streamway Villa residents understand what it is to give back, and act on it.

At their first meeting of 2014, members of the residents’ council were ecstatic to learn that council’s $300 donation to the Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts in the Philippines was matched by OMNI Health Care and the federal government.

The council also discussed the Christmas gifts they purchased for two local children in need through the Northumberland Mall Giving Tree program. The idea came from council vice-president Barb LeBlanc in consultation with other residents.

Supporting the Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts was sparked by an e-mail from OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy.

Giving to both of these initiatives was made possible through the annual Christmas bazaar held at the Cobourg long-term care home as well as other fundraising activities benefitting the residents’ council fund.

“2013 was the first year that we’ve ever donated money back into the community,” life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Verleysen says, noting it’s because the community “gives so much to us.”

Family and community members support the bazaar as well as the yard sales, social teas and annual carnival. Many donations are also made by families when their loved ones pass away.

This support is a reflection of the closeness that envelops the small home and community as well as the desire to make a difference.

“Being such a small home in such a close-knit community, we’re very fortunate that we have the relationship of a big family rather than a long-term care home,” Verleysen says. “I have 59 grandparents here and it doesn’t matter whether they came yesterday or when I first started, they are grandparents to me. And that’s how a lot of our staff members perceive our residents as well so the care is above and beyond.

“We’re very fortunate that we’re able to give to community when we can and still have money to do what we need to do here,” she says.

This includes activities and outings that enhance residents’ quality of life. For instance, residents’ council has decided this summer’s trip will be to a Toronto aquarium and they’re looking for an educational program featuring exotic animals to make a return visit to Streamway Villa.

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.

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.