BSO meeting demonstrated Central East LHIN LTC homes are on same page with resident-centred care

LG-BSO Word Art

All LTC homes in region attended full-day event on Oct. 27

Streamway Villa RPN-BSO Sarah Wilson says the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) autumn community of practice session demonstrated how far long-term care homes in the region have come in developing person-centred interventions for residents with cognitive impairment. Read more

Program preparing students to work with seniors

A student from the Working with Seniors program at Toronto’s Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences is seen here wearing a suit that simulates the mobility and vision challenges many seniors face.

A student from the Working with Seniors program at Toronto’s Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences is seen here wearing a suit that simulates the mobility and vision challenges many seniors face.

Working with Seniors helps students better understand challenges in geriatric population

Baycrest Health Sciences and Toronto’s Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences have partnered to provide students enrolled in Michener’s health-care programs with the skills to meet the unique challenges of geriatric care. Read more

Did you know 72% of those with Alzheimer’s are women?


New Alzheimer Society campaign aims to reduce risk through education

January is Alzheimer Awareness Month across Canada, and the focus of this year’s campaign is the group that makes up the largest segment of the population affected by this chronic neurodegenerative disease – women. Read more

(VIDEO) LTC reporting means families, public will have better understanding of data

When public data reporting becomes mandatory for Ontario long-term care homes in April, people will have access to information that will allow for better understanding of the sector, says OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy. Read more

Health unit recognizes Riverview, Pleasant Meadow for high flu-shot rates

Homes saw 80%-plus vaccination rates in 2013-14

Two of OMNI Health Care’s Peterborough County long-term care homes were recently honoured for having more than 80 per cent of their staff members vaccinated during last year’s flu season. Read more

Canadian dementia strategy should start at the grassroots: DOC

‘A strategy like this can only benefit people, and it’s long overdue,’ says Lesley Dale

Burnbrae Gardens director of care (DOC) Lesley Dale says she’s applauding the Canadian government’s move to create a national dementia strategy, but adds that to make it successful engagement should start at the grassroots level. Read more

Ont. dementia strategy a would be a great start: King


Springdale administrator applauds recent petition

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 — Deron Hamel

A petition was recently launched to encourage the Ontario government to create a provincewide dementia strategy, and while Maureen King says a national strategy is needed, the Springdale Country Manor administrator notes this is a “great start.”

The petition, which was spearheaded by Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield and the Alzheimer Society of Windsor and Essex County, states that 200,000 Ontarians are living with dementia. The economic impact of the disease is expected to reach $15.7 billion by 2020.

The petition calls for a strategy that addresses primary health care, health promotion, illness prevention, caregiver support and investment research.

King says that while Canada needs a national dementia strategy, an Ontario strategy could serve as a Rosetta stone that other provinces could follow.

“Ultimately, I would like to see that tied up nationally, and wouldn’t it be nice if all the provinces had a basic concept of what a national plan should look like,” King tells The OMNIway.

“What a provincial plan needs to look like is how we’re going to address care as it progresses; community care, day care and long-term care. How that’s going to look (and) how we’re going to move through the system smoothly for people (with  dementia) because of their high needs and their sensitivity to change.”

Canada is the only G7 nation without a national dementia strategy. Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Italy and Japan all have national strategies.

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)

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

Diabetes program earns OMNI innovation award

Program enhancing quality of life for long-term care residents

A comprehensive diabetes program launched by OMNI Health Care in 2013 to enhance quality diabetes care for nursing-home residents across Ontario has earned recognition from the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA).

OMNI was awarded the Innovation of the Year award for the program during the OLTCA’s June 5 Quality Innovation Forum in Toronto.

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.

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 reduce the burden on the acute-care system.

The protocols developed are also designed to save time.

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 the case of a hypoglycemic event, this can have tremendous impact on the person. Research indicates elderly people often have heart attacks or strokes within eight weeks of a hypoglycemic event due to its impact on the body.

By responding quickly or even eliminating the risk, there’s a large-scale trickle-down effect, says Shawn Riel, OMNI’s chief operating officer.

“The more events that we can eliminate, the better quality of life residents will have, and the lower health-care costs will be,” she says.

OMNI received a grant from Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. and Eli Lilly (Canada) Inc. in February 2013 to help make the 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.

A collaborative effort between registered staff members and community partners, including hospitals, clinicians and dietitians, made the order set a reality.

Medications were also assessed to find the pharmaceuticals that work best with the over-65 population. Every quarter a review is conducted to determine the success of interdisciplinary interventions on residents.

As part of the program, new protocols and strategies, including medications, were initially piloted at two OMNI homes, Riverview Manor in Peterborough and Pleasant Meadow Manor in Norwood. The program was then rolled out to OMNI’s other 16 long-term care homes.

One of the initiative’s greatest successes is that long-term care homes from outside the OMNI family are starting their own comprehensive diabetes programs focused on replicating OMNI’s successes, explains Riel.

“We’re hoping to help as many residents who live with diabetes in long-term care as possible to get more thorough assessments and receive better interventions to help them live a quality life,” Riel says.

OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy emphasizes the efforts that went into developing this program.

“There were hundreds and hundreds of hours of work, reaching out to engage the physicians locally and to work with registered staff and administration at the homes to make sure that we got it right and to listen to any constructive feedback that we were able to get,” he says.

“We were able to get the documentation of statistics to help support the need for change and to really make it work from that perspective.”

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

BSO helping Riverview keep antipsychotic administration low


Psychotropic medication usage 20% below provincial LTC home average

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 — Deron Hamel

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – When front-line staff members approach a Riverview Manor resident who has advanced dementia to provide her care needs, the resident often prefers to be left alone. So that’s just what staff members do.

They will approach the resident later, and if the women still does not want her care needs implemented, staff will again leave her. Only when the resident says it’s OK will staff members provide her care needs.

This is one example of how the Peterborough long-term care home’s number of residents on antipsychotic medications is only 12.28 per cent, well below the provincial average of 31.5 per cent.

While the resident does exhibit behaviours, this simple approach of giving her the space she needs ensures that medication doesn’t need to be administered.

Riverview Manor is involved with the province’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) initiative. BSO is a $40-million provincial initiative to enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions causing agitation.

Through funding allocated through the Central East Local Health Integration Network, Riverview Manor staff members have accessed education and training in BSO interventions. The home has a “BSO team” of staff members trained in these interventions, which include Montessori techniques and gentle persuasive approaches (GPA). The team is called in to help personal support workers when they are caring for this resident, should the need arise.

Staff members have even taken time to learn simple phrases in the resident’s native language to make her feel more at ease.

With interventions like these, the resident doesn’t exhibit behaviours, eliminating the need for psychotropic medications, explains administrator Mary Anne Greco.

“At Riverview, our philosophy of the utilization of medication, especially for any antipsychotic medications, is that it’s used very wisely and very judiciously,” she says. “We try that really as a last resort.

“We monitor (residents on antipsychotic medications) to make sure they’re not having any adverse side effects to the medication, we liaise with the family to see how they are doing and we’re always incorporating our Behavioural Supports Ontario team to assist with that so that all the staff are aware of the (best) approaches for residents so we don’t have to be looking at medication as a first line of care.”

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

VIDEO: Antipsychotic medication: the exception, not the rule


Thursday, April 17, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Riverview Manor has firm policy surrounding the administration of antipsychotic medication to residents affected by dementia. These medications are used sparingly and only as a last resort when other non-medical interventions have not helped calm a person who is exhibiting aggressive behaviour.

In fact, only 12.28 per cent of residents are on antipsychotic medications at the Peterborough long-term care home. This is well below the provincial average of 31.5 per cent.

A recent article in the Toronto Star accuses Ontario long-term care homes of “drugging helpless seniors at an alarming rate with powerful antipsychotic drugs.” Not only is this not the case at Riverview Manor, but stories like this are detrimental to the entire long-term care sector. Riverview Manor staff members explain in this video.