Chef’s hot hamburger steak makes an impression on Pleasant Meadow residents

‘It was a huge hit when it was served’

When submitting a recipe for OMNI Health Care’s inaugural March Madness recipe challenge, Pleasant Meadow Manor chef Connie Doherty turned to an old-time classic that proved to be a big hit when served to the Norwood long-term care home’s residents.

The “hot hamburger” she served is a hamburger steak plated with two sides – mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley – and covered with a special onion-mushroom gravy.

To make this resident-favourite meal, Connie mixes ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and Worcestershire sauce.

She then divides the meat mixture evenly into burger patties which are then placed on a tray and put in the oven and cooked to an internal temperature of 71 C (160 F).

Connie then makes a sauce for the meat by sauteing thinly sliced onions and mushrooms in vegetable oil and mixing in brown gravy to finish.

“It was a huge hit when it was served,” Connie says of the hot hamburger steak.

Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, says the March Madness contest, which saw 16 recipes compete in a bracket contest where votes were cast each week between April 14 and May 6, was close.

The winning entry was a Mediterranean omelette, created by Josephine Goddard at Country Terrace, which won “by a very thin margin,” Chris says.

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

Chris came up with the idea to encourage nutritional care managers and cooks to showcase their most-loved recipes and to highlight the high-quality meals served in OMNI 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.

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Taco-istic Treats Fiesta spices things up at Pleasant Meadow

‘When the residents asked to have tacos, the life enrichment staff stepped up to the plate and hit a home run

Pleasant Meadow Manor residents were recently treated to an afternoon “fiesta” that included lots of tasty tacos, pina coladas and Mexican-themed music – and this was after they’d already eaten lunch.

The residents of the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home recently asked to be served tacos, so the life enrichment team came up with an idea to make that wish come true and then some, says life enrichment co-ordinator Kim Williams.

“When the residents asked to have tacos, the life enrichment staff stepped up to the plate and hit a home run,” she tells The OMNIway.

The Taco-istic Treats Fiesta was held July 7. The life enrichment team made soft tacos filled with seasoned beef and an assortment of toppings, including cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, chopped jalapeno peppers, guacamole, sour cream and salsa.

Tortilla chips and Mexican corn salad were served on the side, and team members provided residents with non-alcoholic pina coladas to wash everything down.

Kim says the teamwork involved that day was stellar.

“The life enrichment staff had a great assembly line going, with two staff members making the tacos to order, one staff member playing the bartender and one delivering the goodies,” Kim explains.

To ensure everyone could participate, residents who couldn’t make it down to the fiesta were served tacos in their rooms.

The event included Mexican music videos playing on the home’s large-screen smart TV. Life enrichment team members wore sombreros and they decorated the activity room and trolley to add to the experience for the residents.

Kim says the tacos were so good that some residents couldn’t get enough.

“One resident had five tacos, and this was after he had a full lunch,” she says.

Kim says the event got residents socializing, and there was “a lot of chatting and laughter among the residents.”

“This program went off so well that the life enrichment staff are planning our next treat day,” she says.

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Laughter is proving to be the best medicine at Pleasant Meadow Manor

New laughter yoga program is having emotional benefits for residents

Pleasant Meadow Manor residents are discovering that laughter truly is the best medicine.

Residents were recently introduced to laughter yoga sessions led by Kim Williams, the Norwood long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator, and they’re seeing first-hand the emotional benefits the program delivers.

Laughter yoga is an exercise that marries voluntary laughter with breathing exercises. During laughter yoga sessions, participants maintain eye contact with one another which leads to contagious laughter.

Kim starts the sessions with a brief history and description of what laughter yoga is to help residents understand how the exercises may help them and to explain that it’s an activity that has been used in the medical profession.

This, she says, is to prevent participants from feeling “silly or foolish” during the exercises.

Kim and the residents then do warm-up exercises which consist of clapping and gently moving their bodies and legs. They then do deep breathing exercises.

They move on to the laughter exercises intermixed with “child-like playfulness,” and some singing. Sessions always include an affirmation which they say as loudly as they can: “I’m awesome, you’re awesome, we’re all awesome.”

Some of the laughter exercises Kim and the residents do include:

Gradient laughter: Everyone starts laughing quietly, gradually becoming louder

Roller-coaster laughter: Residents bring their arms up over their heads while saying “awww.” They then bring their arms down while saying “weee” or laughing

Full-moon laughter: The “favourite” laughter exercise where everyone howls like a wolf

“And of course, Rick (Riel), our maintenance manager, joins us for our Santa Claus laughter and our monkey laughter, which really gets everyone laughing for real and at times can cause tears of laughter,” Kim tells The OMNIway.

Kim learned about laughter yoga when she was a student in the recreation and leisure program at Fleming College and a laughter yoga instructor visited her class.

While admittedly skeptical at first, Kim says she noticed physical benefits after her initial laughter yoga session and even says she slept better that night.

Eventually, she took classes to become a certified laughter yoga instructor.

She first used laughter yoga with residents while working as a life enrichment aide at Frost Manor, where the sessions went over well. In fact, one Frost Manor resident said laughter yoga helped ease the severe anxiety she lived with, Kim notes.

Kim is noticing similar benefits at Pleasant Meadow Manor.

“We have found that our residents’ spirits are lifted, and you can see them smiling throughout the day,” she says.

“The way that I measure the benefits to the residents is that they returned for the next session and ask when the next one will be scheduled.”

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In-house collaboration delivers memorable diner-style lunch to Pleasant Meadow residents

‘You could hear a pin drop in all the dining rooms as residents thoroughly enjoyed and devoured their chosen meal’

What began as an idea to make onion rings for Pleasant Meadow Manor residents quickly blossomed into an interdepartmental collaboration that created a 1950s-style diner for everyone that raised money for the Norwood long-term care home’s garden.

In late May, life enrichment co-ordinator Kim Williams asked nutritional care manager Judy Schell if she and her team could make onion rings for residents on June 22 to celebrate National Onion Ring Day.

Judy liked the idea but suggested they do more than just make onion rings. Judy envisioned making onion rings as well as hamburgers, chicken burgers, french fries and root beer floats to create a diner atmosphere that would bring back fond memories for residents.

To sweeten the deal, meals could be sold to staff members with all proceeds going towards beautifying the home’s garden.

The two departments collaborated to make this happen.

The nutritional care team prepared the food while the life enrichment team made the floats and decorated the dining areas. Decorations included a large sign that read “PMM Diner” and a jukebox.

Team members served residents wearing special hand-painted hairnets, and the burgers, onion rings and fries were served in handmade containers that were delivered on a tray, diner-style.

It was immediately evident this was going over well with residents, Kim says.

“You could hear a pin drop in all the dining rooms as residents thoroughly enjoyed and devoured their chosen meal,” she tells The OMNIway.

“Some commented that they were stuffed and that they hadn’t had a root beer float since they were kids.”

It turns out staff members enjoyed organizing this event as much as the residents enjoyed eating the delicious food.

“All the staff that were involved in pulling this off have asked to do it again, so I take this collaboration of the life enrichment and nutritional care staff as a great success,” Kim says.

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Sunday tradition inspires Pleasant Meadow cook’s favourite recipe

Dean Smith serves up his turkey roast dinner for March Madness recipe challenge

Pleasant Meadow Manor cook Dean Smith found inspiration in a Sunday tradition when he decided to enter OMNI Health Care’s March Madness recipe challenge.

No meal says “Sunday” quite like a roast dinner, and Dean’s favourite type of roast is turkey. And a roast turkey dinner on Sundays is also a fan favourite with residents of the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home, Dean says.

“I have chosen this meal and recipe because it is, by far, my most favourite dish in the home to create,” Dean explains.

“(It is also) the residents’ most chosen meal for residents’ choice meals, (and) it’s one that hit home for me because I also like it a lot.”

Dean’s turkey dinner features sliced, juicy roast turkey accompanied by mashed potatoes, mashed turnip, sage stuffing and gravy.

The meat, mashed vegetables and stuffing are all layered on the plates to provide an eye-appealing look.

Dean says he’s happy to be able to provide Pleasant Meadow Manor residents with one of his own favourite meals – and having a roast dinner makes for a perfect Sunday for the home’s residents, he says.

“I live in a large family myself – and a gorgeous turkey dinner with all of the fixings always goes down easy with friends and family on a Sunday afternoon because nothing unites us more than delicious comfort food,” he says.

Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, says the March Madness contest, which saw 16 recipes compete in a bracket contest where votes were cast each week between April 14 and May 6, was close.

The winning entry was a Mediterranean omelette that was created by Country Terrace team member Josephine Goddard.

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

Chris came up with the idea to encourage nutritional care managers and cooks to showcase their most-loved recipes and to highlight the high-quality meals served in OMNI 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.

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.

Platinum Jubilee: Pleasant Meadow resident recalls her brushes with royalty

Jill Raines shares her unique moment in history with fellow residents during Jubilee celebration

Pleasant Meadow Manor resident Jill Raines remembers having a front-row seat during one of the 20th century’s most memorable moments.

The Norwood, Ont. long-term care home celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee last week, and Jill had a chance to share the story of her brush with the monarch on the day of her coronation 69 years ago.

Following the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, the Royal Procession made its way through central London – and Jill and her sister were among the children moved to the front of the crowd to watch and wave as the newly crowned monarch passed.

Jill’s uncle, a colonel in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, was marching behind the gold coach carrying the Queen. Jill says she got excited and started waving and jumping up and down, calling out her uncle’s name.

But, Jill says, her sister felt she was “making too much of a scene,” so she “poked” her and Jill fell close to the carriage.

“I got a very good look at the carriage and it really was a sight to behold,” Jill recalled.

But this would not be the last time Jill saw the Queen. In 1977, during the celebration of her Silver Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth said hello to Jill as she passed by.

When Pleasant Meadow life enrichment co-ordinator Kim Williams asked Jill what she said in reply, Jill said, “oh no, you don’t speak to the Queen, you just smile sweetly and curtsy.”

This, of course, sparked more questions from the other residents as well as from the staff, Kim says.

“When I told her that I thought that it was cool that she got to see the coronation and the Queen herself, Jill said she never thought of it that way, but looking back she supposed it really was quite special,” Kim said.

Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne on Feb. 6, 1952, following the death of her father, King George VI. Her coronation took place 16 months later.

Pleasant Meadow Manor celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with trivia and a cake that was donated to the home by the Township of Asphodel-Norwood’s heritage and cultural committee.

Kim says the event was well-received by residents.

“The residents enjoyed the Jubilee party, and everyone helped each other with trivia,” she said.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pleaseant Meadow Manor resident Jill Raines and her husband, John, are pictured at left during the Platinum Jubilee celebration the home recently hosted in honour of Queen Elizabeth II. Pictured at right is a banner that was made for the occasion.

Ides of March celebration takes residents back to ancient Rome

Residents and staff mark March 15 by acting out a day in the life of Romans

Pleasant Meadow Manor became an arm of the Roman Empire on March 15 when the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home’s residents and staff members celebrated the Ides of March.

The Ides of March was the day in ancient Rome marking the deadline for settling debts, but it became more famous as the day Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC.

In honour of this day, Pleasant Meadow Manor life enrichment co-ordinator Kim Williams and her team organized an Ides of March party, which saw everyone dress up in togas and enjoy foods popular in the Mediterranean region, including mozzarella and feta cheeses, olives, cherry tomatoes, Italian flatbread crackers and grapes.

The snacks were washed down with non-alcoholic wine and grape juice.

The life enrichment staff shared famous quotes by Julius Caesar. The residents donned togas and became Julius Caesar or Roman goddesses to have their pictures taken in front of the Roman columns team members created for a backdrop.

“I was looking to do something different with the residents and came up with the idea of celebrating March 15th and the Ides of March,” Kim tells The OMNIway.

“The residents really enjoyed themselves and got quite a chuckle with the staff costumes and when they dressed up. One gentleman was quite impressed with his picture, exclaiming, ‘now that’s a handsome picture of me.’ ”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured above, Pleasant Meadow Manor resident Frank Bischof plays Julius Caesar as “life enrichment goddesses” Emily Gerow (left) and Sheila Fleury feed him grapes during a celebration of the Ides of March.

Dietary team member working towards next step in career path at Pleasant Meadow

Jessica Arscott has gone from working as a PSW to working in dietary and is now taking courses to help her one day become a nutritional care manager

Pleasant Meadow Manor team member Jessica Arscott is setting her sights on the next step in her 20-year career in long-term care.

While Jessica has spent most of her career working as a personal support worker (PSW), she’s now working in the nutritional care department at the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home and is taking courses to help her gain the skills needed to eventually become a nutritional care manager (NCM).

Jessica made the switch to the dietary department after an injury forced her to change duties. But Jessica’s years working as a PSW resulted in a strong connection with residents and she “didn’t want to lose the rapport with them,” she says.

The skills Jessica is learning through the online course she’s taking through CHA Learning are providing her with the knowledge she will need as an NCM.

“Taking on the education and hopefully the role of the nutritional care manager just gives me a different way to care for the residents; it gives me a different option to make sure that their needs are met,” Jessica tells The OMNIway.

“Right now I’m working in dietary, exploring the different shifts and learning the different responsibilities, and it has been nice because there is so much that I had no idea about relative to residents’ diets.”

For example, when Jessica worked as a PSW, she says she knew that protein drinks helped promote skin integrity, but she didn’t know how those drinks were made.

“But now I know,” she says.

Jessica also says Pleasant Meadow Manor NCM Judy Schell and Chris Weber, OMNI Health Care’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, have been with her to offer support and guidance.

Working with Judy every day, Jessica adds, has gone a long way in helping her learn about everything the NCM position entails.

“To have a mentor like her, I feel it would be an easy transition into a role like this,” she says.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pleasant Meadow Manor dietary team member Jessica Arscott is seen here holding a tray of muffins.

Pleasant Meadow cook embraces the creativity that comes with his job

Dean Smith has spent his life working in food services, and it’s LTC where he wants to be

It seems Dean Smith was destined to work in a long-term-care home kitchen.

Dean, who has worked as a cook at Pleasant Meadow Manor for the past two years, says his parents laid the groundwork for his career path – his dad is a butcher, his mother a personal support worker, so he says he’s not surprised to be working a job that marries food services with health care.

“I think a lot of us look up to our parents,” Dean tells The OMNIway.

But Dean also has a strong love of the culinary arts, something he says began in his youth with watching celebrity cooks like Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay on TV.

Dean answered the career call of the food services industry at a young age. He began working in restaurants at 13, starting with busing tables and eventually working his way up to serving as a line cook and sous chef in kitchens.

In 2015, Dean graduated from the culinary management program at Fleming College.

Dean says his favourite aspect of working at Pleasant Meadow Manor is trying out new recipes with the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home’s residents.

While cooks working in long-term-care home nutritional care departments need to follow specific nutritional guidelines, there’s still room for creativity, Dean says.

This, Dean adds, is the aspect of working in the Pleasant Meadow Manor kitchen he likes best.

Dean’s supervisor, nutritional care manager Judy Schell, recently sent The OMNIway an array of photos that illustrate Dean’s talent and versatility when it comes to creative cooking.

Entrées, salads and desserts – all colourfully and creatively plated – speak to the passion Dean has for his work.

Dean says his favourite recipe to prepare for residents is his butter-tart bar, which is essentially a butter tart minus the pastry shell, a dessert that residents have enjoyed.

“It’s great to be able to give the residents something that they maybe haven’t had before,” he says. “And we give residents good quality food.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured above are some examples of the meals Dean Smith has created for Pleasant Meadow Manor residents.

Strong teamwork ensured smooth meal service during Pleasant Meadow kitchen rebuild

‘Everyone worked well as a team to make it work’

Pleasant Meadow Manor’s nutritional care manager says strong teamwork among the dietary staff ensured seamless meal service for residents during the months the kitchen was being rebuilt as part of the $25-million redevelopment and expansion project underway at the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home.

Judy Schell is commending nutritional care team members for adapting to the changes that came with having to work in a kitchen that was relocated to trailers adjacent to Pleasant Meadow Manor for a year while a new kitchen was built as part of the renovations.

Judy says the nutritional care team showed “excellent teamwork” during this time and that the goal of delivering seamless meal service to residents was met.

The key to this success, she says, was careful planning and assigning duties to ensure everything was running smoothly. Everyone in the nutritional care department worked together to make sure residents’ food service continued to run smoothly while the kitchen was being operated from the trailers, Judy adds.

“Everyone worked well as a team to make it work. Each person had a specific area to work in and a specific job to do,” Judy tells The OMNIway.

“Everything kept going – it was like people were working separately but they were still working as a team. … There was a lot of pitching in and helping others out, and we have also been doing this throughout the whole pandemic.”

Since November 2020, construction has been underway at Pleasant Meadow Manor to add 34,000 square feet and 35 beds to the home.

When the project began, the home’s kitchen was temporarily relocated to trailers since the former kitchen was part of the area undergoing construction.

While construction continues, a new state-of-the-art kitchen with top-of-the-line equipment recently opened at Pleasant Meadow Manor.

There are four OMNI Health Care long-term care homes currently undergoing redevelopment: Pleasant Meadow Manor, Almonte Country Haven, Country Terrace and Woodland Villa.

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