More nurse practitioners equal stronger LTC sector, says administrator

NPs also positioned to train front-line staff

The Ontario government’s plan to provide funding for 75 new, in-house nurse practitioners (NPs) in long-term care homes over the next three years is another step towards enhancing quality in long-term care homes, says Village Green administrator Linda Pierce.

Pierce notes how the Greater Napanee long-term care home already has an NP who visits when residents have care needs that are beyond front-line staff members’ scope of practice but do not warrant a transfer to hospital. The NP is accessed by the home through the South East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

Although there is a physician who regularly visits Village Green, Pierce says there are those times when he cannot tend to a resident at a moment’s notice. This is where the NP steps in.

NPs visit long-term care homes to provide on-site care for medical issues that front-line staff members are unable to treat. Some of their work includes writing prescriptions for antibiotics, administering IV therapies, doing post-fall assessments and performing G-tube reinsertions.

Based on the value the NP is bringing to residents and staff members, Pierce says more NPs in the sector would enhance quality exponentially.

Additionally, Pierce notes that NPs are positioned to help train front-line staff members to enhance their skills.

“That will be a value to all long-term care homes,” Pierce says. “I think (more NPs) will be supportive to the homes because it will mean an additional player on the team. . . . It’s going to support the residents and lead right back to enhancing their quality of life.”

As part of the funding, long-term care homes that successfully apply for NP funding but are unable to recruit one will be able to access Ontario’s new Grow Your Own Nurse Practitioner in Long-Term Care program.

Once launched in 2015-16, this initiative will support homes in providing registered nurses with the education and training to become nurse practitioners.

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.

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NPs are a valuable educational resource for LTC staff

Burnbrae Gardens team members discuss how NPs are sharing knowledge

The value nurse practitioners (NPs) bring to long-term care homes has been discussed extensively by the OMNIway recently, but as Burnbrae Gardens team members point out these health-care professionals also bring valuable educational resources to homes. Read more

More LTC NPs will pave way for enhanced seniors care

Burnbrae Gardens’ participation in NPSTAT one example of reduced hospital transfers

Having access to a nurse practitioner (NP) is enhancing quality of life for residents living at Burnbrae Gardens, and by adding 75 new NPs to Ontario long-term care homes, the province is paving the way for better seniors’ health care while reducing burden on emergency rooms, says April Faux. Read more

NP announcement ‘exciting,’ says Frost Manor nurse

FrostManor

Nancy Lafete commends province for funding 75 in-house NPs over three years

March 12, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When long-term care residents need medical attention that cannot be provided by in-house nursing staff, they often need to be transferred to hospital. But when homes have access to a nurse practitioner (NP) this transfer is usually avoided — and the more transfers can be avoided the better, says Nancy Lafete.

Lafete, a charge nurse at Frost Manor, says the province’s March 3 announcement that 75 in-house NPs will be funded over the next three years is “exciting” news for Ontario long-term care homes. More NPs, she says, will help enhance quality of life for residents.

She has seen the strong value NPs bring to residents through Frost Manor’s involvement with the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) Nurse Practitioners Supporting Teams Averting Transfers (NPSTAT) program.

For about four years, the Lindsay long-term care home’s residents requiring medical treatment normally provided in hospital have had access to NP Sarah Reynolds through the initiative.

The result, says Lafete, has been that residents get to remain in their home for treatment.

“It’s really nice to have that support,” Lafete says. “The residents . . . stay comfortable here in their own surroundings; (the program) is working very well.”

NPs visit long-term care homes to provide on-site care for medical issues that front-line staff members are unable to treat. Some of their work includes writing prescriptions for antibiotics, administering IV therapies, doing post-fall assessments and performing G-tube reinsertions.

Michelle Acorn, the NP lead at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa, says the province’s announcement is good news for long-term care homes across Ontario.

She adds that NPs are a good fit for the long-term care sector.

“They know how to look after all ages and stages of health; they know how to look after seniors as well,” she says.

NPs are also focused on preventative care. When residents experience urinary tract infections, falls or wounds, NP’s will examine the causes and suggest measures that can be taken to prevent future occurrences, Acorn notes.

As part of the funding, long-term care homes that successfully apply but are unable to recruit an NP will be able to access the province’s new Grow Your Own Nurse Practitioner in Long-Term Care program.

Once launched in 2015-16, this initiative will support homes in providing registered nurses with the education and training to become NPs.

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.

Patient ombudsman announced by Ontario government

OMNI-02

Process already in place for complaints and concerns in long-term care homes

Monday, March 10, 2014 — Deron Hamel

TORONTO – OMNI Health Care is supportive of a section of accountability legislation announced at Queen’s Park March 6.

The province is proposing the establishment of a patient ombudsman to resolve complaints lodged against Ontario’s long-term care homes, hospitals and 14 Community Care Access Centres.

While long-term care homes have long had processes in place for reporting concerns and complaints to Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care inspectors, the new office will extend to some other parts of the health-care system that have not been subject to the same degree of inspection and oversight.

OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy wants residents and family members to be clear that if they need to lodge a complaint against a home, there are processes that remain in place, whether communicating the concern directly to the home, through residents’ council or family council, OMNI head office, or directly to the ministry.

In each of OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes, residents and family members have access to information posted in common areas outlining toll-free telephone and mail contact information for the purpose of lodging complaints.

Additionally, there is existing protection in OMNI homes and under the Ontario Long-Term Care Homes Act for whistleblowers, which McCarthy says OMNI continues to support as an accountability measure in the sector.

If Premier Kathleen Wynne’s idea for a proposed patient ombudsman’s office is created, McCarthy says he hopes that it will broaden Long Term Care’s existing complaint processes, addressing resident and family concerns relating to system issues and transitions involving home care and hospital — an important element in a more integrated health-care system.

An office with oversight of community and acute-care providers, he adds, would be well placed to look at the broad issues affecting the greater health-care system.

“So long as the office has some power in looking at system and quality issues that are beyond the purview of providers alone, then that’s a positive development for residents and patients,” McCarthy says.

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.

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Administrator underscores role of storytelling in strengthening health system

OMNIway stories capturing attention outside Ontario

December 13, 2013 — Deron Hamel

When a nurse in Nova Scotia was recently looking for information about the Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) initiative he did an Internet search and came across an OMNIway story about Streamway Villa’s success with the program that’s posted on the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) website.

Streamway Villa

Streamway Villa

From there, the nurse e-mailed Streamway Villa administrator Kylie Szczebonski to learn more about what the Cobourg long-term care home had accomplished through its involvement with BSO, a provincial initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation.

“And I gladly gave him everything that I had,” Szczebonski tells the OMNIway. “I sent him a lot about Central East LHIN and the whole (BSO) project, and then talked about Streamway Villa and OMNI and how OMNI is really taking off with our Supportive Measures program.”

Szczebonski says this illustrates the role OMNI Health Care and its 17 long-term care homes can play in addressing issues related to elder care in Canada.

Likewise, the administrator says the OMNIway, which is produced by Axiom News, can play a role facilitating this engagement via the success stories published on the website.

“We are in a media world. Google something you want to know and it will pop up, and that’s the way of the future,” Szczebonski says. “Because (the OMNIway) is online, the stories that are out there are going to catch on. A lot of the stories focus on our quality and that’s really what’s going to capture people’s attention — all everybody hears in health care is quality, quality, quality. That’s because quality is important.”

Szczebonski refers to the fact Canada is the only G8 nation without a national dementia strategy, an issue that’s received media attention this week due to the Dec. 11 G8 dementia conference in London. The administrator says OMNI’s homes and the OMNIway can play a part in bringing stakeholders across the country together through news stories showcasing what’s working.

Ideally, this information sharing could eventually lead to a nationwide strategy, Szczebonski says.

“We’re not copyrighting things because we want people to take what we’ve done and use it,” she says.

See the links below to read OMNI stories posted on the Central East LHIN’s website.

Documentaries deliver hope for long-term care leaders

Responsive behaviours, restraints, medication use decreasing at Streamway Villa

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.

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OMNIway explores sexuality, safety in LTC

Series to unpack issues including rights, risks and regulations

December 11, 2013 — Natalie Hamilton 

In one long-term care home, romantic sparks fly between a man and a woman who live in the same residence.

The man is married to another woman.

In another long-term care home, a man with dementia inadvertently enters the wrong room and starts going through personal belongings.

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 will explore the rights, risks and regulations related to the issue of sexuality and safety.

We’ll provide a glimpse into the realities of people of the opposite sex living together and their inclination to maintain or find new relationships. We’ll look at how those relationships help them maintain the quality of life similar to couples residing elsewhere. The OMNIway will look into the home’s role when a relationship is mutual.

We’ll also explore what happens when the desire is one-sided or an act is triggered by confusion and how OMNI intervenes to keep residents safe.

We’ll look at the supportive measures in place to prevent people with dementia from wandering and how to support those who are confused, while protecting their dignity and maintaining a safe environment for all people who reside in the home.

“Safety and security is our No. 1 priority,” OMNI president and CEO Patrick McCarthy tells the OMNIway.

Confusion and wandering as a result of cognitive impairment can occur in long-term care homes and “it’s a behaviour we need to monitor and to take into account when we design and carry out our plan of care for each resident,” McCarthy says.

It’s an issue that is growing as homes receive more residents with complex conditions, such as mental health and dementia-related behavioural challenges.

One of OMNI’s signature core programs is called supportive measures. The program strives to provide an individualized approach to care for residents, with or without dementia. Supportive measures strategies include one-to-one interventions to identify the causes of anxiety and agitation and put processes into place to help residents feel calm and secure in their home.

In addition to supportive measures, OMNI incorporates Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) into its training policies and procedures. BSO is a $40-million provincial initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation.

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.

Increased LHIN engagement would strengthen communication lines

OLTCA encourages homes to play leading role in LHIN engagement

November 27, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy says he hopes to see increased engagement between the organization’s 17 long-term care homes and the five Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) they’re within.

Members of a panel discussion discuss the role the long-term care sector can play engaging with the 14 LHINs.

Members of a panel discussion discuss the role the long-term care sector can play engaging with the 14 LHINs.

This, he says, would create stronger communication lines as well as build upon successes already being seen by OMNI homes that are strongly engaged with their LHINs.

For instance, Rosebridge Manor in Jasper is involved with many of the South East LHIN’s mental health initiatives. Through its engagement with the LHIN, the home can listen to the mental health issues that come forward. Some of these issues have even made their way to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

McCarthy’s comments were made Nov. 25 in an interview during the Ontario Long Term Care Association’s (OLTCA’s) Fall Symposium, an annual educational event that features keynote speakers, panel discussions and networking.

“It’s a two-way communication,” he said of home-LHIN engagement, following a panel discussion on the issue. “We can help (the LHINs) with resources at the home level (and) they can help us by informing us as to what the issues are on the ground that have a system-wide impact.”

When it comes to long-term care homes engaging with LHINs, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, given the breadth of different needs and resources homes have, McCarthy notes.

For example, OMNI has several homes in the Champlain LHIN. But the two OMNI homes in Ottawa, Forest Hill and Garden Terrace, have different needs and available resources than Woodland Villa, which is located in Long Sault, just outside of Cornwall.

Even the physical structure of homes comes into play. For example, if an OMNI home wants to participate in a program that deals with mental health, does it have the capacity and staffing levels to do it?

OLTCA CEO Candace Chartier also emphasizes the importance of an individual approach to LHIN engagement.

“(The homes) know the residents they’re looking after and they know the community they’re in and they know the issues that they’re facing,” she said.

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.

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

BSO an example of LHIN engagement success: McCarthy

Responsive behaviours reduced when resources applied

December 3, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

MARKHAM – OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy says the province’s Behavioural Supports Ontario initiative is an example of the positive things that come from long-term care homes engaging with the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).

McCarthy’s comments were made Nov. 25 in an interview during the Ontario Long Term Care Association’s (OLTCA’s) Fall Symposium, an annual educational event that features keynote speakers, panel discussions and networking.

BSO is a $40-million provincial initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation. Funding is provided to long-term care homes through the LHINs.

Much of the funding is put towards staff education — and by giving staff members the educational resources, they have been able to enhance quality of life for residents affected by Alzheimer’s and related dementia, McCarthy says.

“There has been a reduction in behaviours, but also a reduction in the use of medications as interventions,” McCarthy tells the OMNIway.

“We followed some residents who had PRNs (pro re nata medications — pharmaceuticals given on an as-needed basis) for antipsychotics and their use fell off dramatically because we were intervening, not with drugs, but with Montessori techniques, being a big one.”

All 17 of OMNI’s long-term care homes are involved at some level. In the Central East LHIN, Riverview Manor and Streamway Villa have been lead homes in educating other long-term care homes, both within in the LHIN and within the OMNI family.

Results from engagement with BSO have been impressive.

In its first year of involvement with BSO in 2012, Riverview Manor saw a 35.5 per cent decline in responsive agitation, while the rate of PRN medication administration dropped 34.4 per cent.

Likewise, Streamway Villa reported a large reduction in incidents of responsive behaviours, such as aggression, wandering, physical resistance and agitation, after team members began applying their BSO learnings.

From a corporate perspective, a major benefit from being involved with BSO, and thereby the LHINs, has been that best practices garnered through educational sessions have been brought into OMNI’s policies, McCarthy notes.

“We’ve been able to take their knowledge and learnings and we’ve been able to incorporate it into our Supportive Measures program,” he says.

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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Study claims singing show tunes may stave off dementia symptoms

“Popular songs help enhance cognition, quality of life for people with dementia, research shows”

November 14, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Musical activities are always popular in long-term care homes, and new research is suggesting that singing — particularly show tunes — can stave off the impact of dementia.

“The message is: don't give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

“The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

The results of the study conducted by U.S. researchers indicates that residents who are encouraged to sing show tunes, such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow and When You Wish Upon a Star, demonstrate improved cognition and enhanced quality of life.

During a four-month period, the scientists studied nine people affected by dementia who regularly sing show tunes at their eastern U.S. long-term care home. The residents are involved with a choir designed by the researchers. The residents were led in a 50-minute chorus of a variety of show tunes three times per week. This is why this is common practice in many care homes similar to Home Care Heroes.

The original choir consisted of 18 residents. The nine residents who did not participate in singing during the course of the study observed those who did. Results between the two groups of residents were compared.

The study indicates that singing show tunes is particularly beneficial to residents with moderate to severe dementia.

Scans on residents involved with the study showed enhanced activity in various regions of the brain; a factor scientists believe is the result of singing songs from The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Oklahoma and Pinocchio.

Neuroscientist Dr. Jane Flinn of George Mason University in Virginia is one of the researchers involved with the study. Based on the study’s results, Flinn recommends long-term care homes consider encouraging residents with cognitive impairment to sing show tunes.

“Even when people are in the fairly advanced stages of dementia, when it is so advanced they are in a secure ward, singing sessions were still helpful,” Flinn told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

“The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

Click here for more information on the study.

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