It’s Christmas all year at Riverview Manor

Christmas trees with rotating seasonal decorations adorn the walls of both of the home’s dining rooms

For the past 21 months, it has been Christmas year-round at Riverview Manor, thanks to the ingenuity of one of the Peterborough long-term care home’s life enrichment team members.

With limited space in the two dining rooms for Christmas trees – due to COVID-19 pandemic protocols, residents have been spaced six feet apart during mealtimes – Tina Hutchinson came up with the idea to put trees on corner walls in December 2020.

Tina and the life enrichment team attached branches from the home’s artificial Christmas trees to the walls and decorated them with holiday-themed ornaments and lights as they do every holiday season.

After the Christmas season ended, the team decided to leave the trees up and add decorations throughout the year to match seasonal themes, Tina explains.

“So now, decorations for every season, every holiday, are put up on the tree,” she tells The OMNIway.

In February, the tree had a Valentine’s Day theme, in spring, Easter was the theme. In summer, a fisherman adorned the tree accompanied by Canada Day and Father’s Day motifs. With autumn now here, the tree has owls, school buses and Halloween pumpkins.

Tina says having year-round Christmas trees at the home is beneficial on several levels. Aside from saving space in the dining rooms, they also save time, since the trees don’t need to be assembled or dismantled.

They are also conversation pieces for residents and help create a fun, festive atmosphere in the dining rooms.

The decorations also encourage residents to reminisce about favourite memories from various times of the year, Tina adds.

“And everybody always knows what time of year it is by looking at the decorations,” she says. “They love the decorations.”

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Royal memories: Riverview resident reflects on friendship with Queen Elizabeth II

Joan Brownson served with Her Majesty in the British Army during the Second World War

To the world, she was Queen Elizabeth II, but before she was the monarch who reigned as head of state of the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth realms, including Canada, then-19-year-old Joan Brownson knew her as “Lizzie.”

As a teenager in the 1940s, this was the name the future monarch preferred to be addressed by when she and Joan served alongside each other as mechanics in the Women’s Auxiliary Territory Service, a branch of the British Army, during the Second World War.

Six days after Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Sept. 8, Joan, a resident of Riverview Manor in Peterborough, sat down with The OMNIway in an interview organized by life enrichment aide Adam Wicklum to talk about her time spent with the woman who would become the longest reigning queen in history.

As mechanics in the army, Joan and Princess Elizabeth, as she was then known, worked side by side on military vehicles, diagnosing engine problems and making repairs.

Although “mechanic” may often be seen as a largely male-dominated profession, Joan says many women learned the trade during the war when everyone needed to pitch in to help. “We just needed people at that time and we all needed to pick up what we could do,” Joan tells The OMNIway.

Joan, 96, says she remembers then-Princess Elizabeth as being friendly and well-liked but also a humble young woman who would shun the attention that came with her notoriety.

“She was a person like me, (and) what she wanted and what I wanted were the same things,” Joan says.

Another memory Joan has is how she and others would protect the future monarch from media attention. When press photographers would try to take her picture, the future monarch’s comrades would form a circle around her to shield her from the cameras.

“There was a time when she suddenly (got more media attention) and we had to just watch whatever she was doing, and we would gather around her,” Joan says.

“There was somebody – and it wasn’t always obvious – but there was always somebody watching her.”

Princess Elizabeth would ascend to the throne and become Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. In 1957, Joan moved to Canada and settled in Peterborough, where she and her husband raised five sons.

Like the Queen, Joan has also led a life dedicated to public service. She has served as a volunteer with the Special Olympics and has been involved with the Royal Canadian Legion. She has also served as a member of the Riverview Manor residents’ council. In 2019, Joan received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario Long Term Care Association for her service to others.

While this has been a sad time for Joan as she joins other citizens of the Commonwealth in mourning the passing of our Queen, she says she has also been reminiscing about happy times shared with her friend “Lizzie” many years ago.

“I was very upset when I heard,” Joan says of the Queen’s passing.

After a brief pause, she smiles as she recalls a happy memory of her youth.

“I enjoyed her company and I liked her a lot,” Joan says of the Queen. “We had a lot of fun and we got along so well together.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Riverview Manor resident Joan Brownson holds a newspaper with a photo of Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away Sept. 8. Joan and the Queen served together in the British Army during the Second World War.

Riverview LEA’s band gives residents their first outdoor entertainment of 2022

Residents’ council chose Trevor Davis’s band, Charlie Horse, to perform on July 14

Riverview Manor residents enjoyed their first outdoor entertainment of 2022 in style on July 14, when a local band featuring one of the Peterborough long-term care home’s team members played a show in the back garden.

The band – called Charlie Horse – includes life enrichment aide (LEA) Trevor Davis on guitar, and the combo played a wide range of tunes for residents that day.

Charlie Horse’s playlist includes songs from many genres, such as country, western swing, country-blues and ragtime.

The Riverview Manor residents’ council chose the band, whose name is, in part, a tribute to Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who passed away in 2021 at age 80.

“Plus, we’re kind of country and western, so that’s where the ‘horse’ (in Charlie Horse) came from,” Trevor explains.

With the arrival of summer, many OMNI Health Care homes have been taking advantage of the warm, sunny weather to host outdoor entertainment for residents.

Outdoor entertainment is a big crowd-pleaser at long-term care homes, and live music encourages lots of resident engagement.

Riverview Manor is no exception.

LEA Adam Wicklum says there were many residents from both the north- and south-side neighbourhoods who attended the performance that day.

Most residents chose to gather in the garden under the large gazebo, while others found spots along the walking path under one of the shady trees.

And, of course, there were refreshments available to keep everyone cool and hydrated.

“(The residents) also enjoyed a refreshing treat of Popsicles on a beautiful summer day,” Adam says.

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Montessori interventions spark new optimism for Riverview resident

Quick action from the BSO team helps enhance resident’s quality of life

A resident who recently moved into Riverview Manor was having a challenging time adjusting to their new home and was convinced they were at Riverview “by accident.” But after being assessed by the Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team and receiving appropriate interventions, the resident’s outlook on life at the Peterborough long-term care home has become more optimistic, team members say.

When the resident first moved into the home they complained of boredom, said they “hated” being at Riverview, and didn’t “know how to live” at the home, says personal support worker and BSO team member Karlie Phillips.

Karlie discovered that what was making the resident unhappy was a lack of programs that suited their interests, so she completed a Montessori assessment with the resident to explore ideas for activities that fit with the resident’s interests.

Montessori programs in long-term care homes are done individually or in small groups and include activities that build upon residents’ strengths and interests.

Karlie created several activities that met the resident’s needs and interests. These included button sorting, sock sorting, and cutlery matching, where the resident wraps knives and forks into napkins to help the dietary team.

The resident is also helping others, Karlie notes.

There is one resident who believes they need to pay for the food they eat at the home. Karlie has given the resident she’s working with a payroll stamp that says “paid.”

When the second resident wants to pay for their food, the first resident stamps a piece of paper with the “paid” stamp for them.

Karlie says these activities have made the resident much happier with life at Riverview Manor.

“The resident is very pleased with these activities and just wants to (keep their) hands busy and keep going; (the resident) doesn’t want to be in one spot,” she tells The OMNIway.

The resident was also interested in the smartwatches staff members wore. The resident wanted to learn more about the watches, which perform a variety of functions.

One of the staff members explained what the watches were and showed the resident that the watch can be used to count the number of steps people take in a day.

The resident, who is an active walker, was interested in keeping track of their steps, so Karlie gave the resident an extra smartwatch she had and showed the resident how to use it.

Karlie then provided the resident with daily walking goals.

“Now the resident is walking up and down in our service hallway trying to reach those goals,” she says.

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BSO interventions improve Riverview resident’s home experience

Reluctant about their new home at first, the resident is now enjoying life at Riverview Manor

Riverview Manor’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team recently helped a new resident transition to life at the Peterborough long-term care home after the resident faced challenges adjusting to their new environment.

The resident moved into Riverview Manor earlier this year and was experiencing agitation on their first day, explains BSO team member Sarah Plumpton.

The resident was refusing to take their medication and was upset and confused about being in a new home. Making matters more challenging, the resident had to spend their first days in isolation, due to an outbreak at the home.

Immediately, the BSO team stepped in to help the resident. Team members noticed the resident was finding it easy to open up to one BSO team member, personal support worker Karlie Phillips.

Karlie and the resident began building a rapport that was easing the resident’s anxiety.

The BSO team began creating best-care strategies for the resident on Day 1, Sarah notes.

The team found the resident required constant activities to keep preoccupied, so team members made a point of keeping the resident busy with activities they enjoy.

The resident also had a preference for being cared for by older staff members when it came to being administered medications or attending to activities of daily living.

“We also found that you really had to be conscientious of your body language; you had to be opening and welcoming, and we found your tone of voice had to be a certain way and that there were words you could not to say,” Sarah says.

The resident’s doctor also performed a medication review and changed the times of day when the resident’s medications were to be administered. This also had a positive effect on the resident, Sarah notes.

The resident’s agitation has eased since the BSO team began putting interventions in place. The resident has also become good friends with another resident, and this has also improved their experience at the home, Sarah notes.

“Everything is so much better now,” she says.

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Best care strategies help Riverview’s BSO team improve resident’s quality of life

‘The resident still has both good and bad days, but we are having more good days because of the best-care strategies’

Riverview Manor’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team has helped enhance a resident’s quality of life and improved their emotional well-being by using best-care strategies and supportive measures.

BSO team member and personal support worker Karlie Phillips says the resident was experiencing agitation before an outbreak at the Peterborough long-term care home that lasted from December to February.

Due to safety protocols in effect, residents were in isolation during the outbreak, and this resident’s agitation became worse, Karlie says.

Karlie says one of the things team members noticed was when the outbreak ended, this resident was not recognizing familiar faces, including those of caregivers.

BSO team members knew they had to do something to improve the resident’s quality of life, Karlie says, so they began by observing the care that was being delivered to discover what was causing agitation.

One of the things the team discovered was the resident did not like having to go through the process of having clothes changed. Team members contacted the resident’s family and asked if they could bring open-back clothing to the home to mitigate issues their loved one was having when being changed.

The family did so, and the resident stopped becoming agitated when having clothing changed.

The resident was also becoming agitated when being administered medications early in the morning. Since the resident prefers to sleep in, Riverview’s physician was asked to perform a medication review to determine if medications could be given later in the day.

The physician approved administering the resident’s medications later in the day. The resident was able to sleep in and have medications administered later in the morning, which resulted in decreased agitation, Karlie says.

“(The resident) also likes to have the medications put into chocolate pudding and in drinks, we found,” Karlie says.

Once the causes of the resident’s agitation were determined, detailed best-care strategies were written up for team members working on all three shifts, and a list of “care champions” was created to identify team members who were most successful at completing care.

The result has been that the resident is most often allowing team members to complete care without becoming agitated, Karlie says.

“The resident still has both good and bad days, but we are having more good days because of the best-care strategies,” she says.

BSO is a provincial initiative to help enhance the quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation. The funding, which is provided to long-term care homes through Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks, is largely put towards staff education.

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New managers share their vision for Riverview Manor’s future

Continued partnerships with post-secondary institutions, they say, will be a top priority

Two new managers at Riverview Manor say they’re excited about helping to create the future of the Peterborough long-term care home which, they say, will be built upon “the great base” that’s already in place.

Administrator Matt Riel and director of care Tammy Colman-Sadd, who started their positions in January, also say building upon the dynamic partnerships Riverview Manor has long held with post-secondary educational institutions will be a major part of that plan.

Matt and Tammy say the partnerships Riverview Manor has with Trent University and Fleming College are key to building the future of the home.

“We have had RN students, we have had RPN students here, we currently have 13 or 14 PSW students doing their hours here, and we have another group that will start in a few weeks, so I think both Tammy and I believe (Riverview Manor) is a place where we can educate the next group of staff that are going to come and work here and grow into the future,” Matt says.

“We want to be a real community partner in providing that education to students.”

For many years, students enrolled in nursing, personal support worker and other programs at Trent and Fleming have done their placements at Riverview Manor. Many of the home’s staff members are also graduates of Trent and Fleming programs.

Looking ahead, Matt and Tammy say they want Riverview Manor to continue collaborating with educational institutions to build a strong foundation of nursing and caregiving in the community.

“We want to be a teaching home and we want people to build their careers based on the foundations of OMNI,” Tammy says.

The managers also say they’re fortunate to be working in a long-term care home that has always been focused on being a valuable community partner, in addition to being a home providing excellent resident care.

“We have been very fortunate to have inherited a home that has solid groundwork already built, and I think we are very fortunate that we can take the new generation of health care and move it forward and bring that to fruition,” Tammy says.

“We can set the groundwork here in building the practices we want, and it’s going to give us the opportunity to set the bar for long-term care.”

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Tammy Colman-Sadd started at Riverview Manor as a nurse. Three weeks later she was DOC

When the management spot opened, her fellow nurses encouraged Tammy to apply for the position

When Tammy Colman-Sadd started a position as a registered nurse at Riverview Manor in December, she had no idea that in less than a month she would be the Peterborough long-term care home’s director of care (DOC).

But that’s exactly what happened when she accepted the DOC position in January, after applying for the job at the urging of her co-workers.

“It was actually my colleagues on the floor who encouraged me and asked me to apply for the DOC position, which I found was quite interesting because I had only been here three weeks,” Tammy, who has previous experience in health-care management, tells The OMNIway.

Tammy has a distinguished career in health care. She has been an RN for 28 years and has worked as an emergency ICU trauma nurse and has several nursing sub-specialties.

A key strength Tammy brings to the DOC position, and one she’s embracing at Riverview Manor, is generating nurse leaders and promoting nurse leadership.

She describes nurse leaders as nurses who “exert exceptional critical thinking and nurses that lead by example and exercise best practice guidelines and setting the standard of care high above the others.”

Tammy says a factor that has made her transition into the DOC position in such a short time so smooth is the support she has received from her peers, both at Riverview Manor and at OMNI Health Care’s head office.

Of note, she credits chief operating officer Shawn Riel, western regional director of operations Pat Chartier, director of IPAC Doneath Stewart and clinical operations manager Susan Cymbaluk for their support and encouragement during the past four months.

Working alongside Riverview Manor administrator Matt Riel, whom Tammy describes as a “role model” every day, has helped her become stronger in her role, she says.

“Matt has been supportive in my role, (and) he has been able to help me better myself in my role, and I think we’re a good team as far as we think very similarly and we have a great passion (to achieve) similar outcomes,” she says.

Tammy says that aside from being a long-term care provider that’s focused on the residents living in its long-term care homes, she has also found OMNI to be strongly focused on employees, and this, she says, is a key strength she sees within the organization.

“I think OMNI is very geared towards their employees and that’s why I love my position and I love the company, and I really see a future with this company, so, to me, that speaks volumes,” she says.

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Riverview Manor administrator brings well-rounded experience to position

Matt Riel has previously served as administrator at three other OMNI homes

A key strength Riverview Manor administrator Matt Riel brings to his position is well-rounded experience managing three other OMNI Health Care long-term care homes in the span of two years.

Matt, who became Riverview Manor’s administrator in January, joined the OMNI team in April 2020 when he became the administrator at Kentwood Park in Picton. He has also served as administrator at West Lake Terrace and Willows Estate.

A Peterborough native who says he’s happy to be back in his hometown, Matt says the experience of working with people from across OMNI has afforded him the opportunity to work with many people within the organization who have helped him grow professionally in a short time.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work at some of the smallest OMNI homes and at some of the larger OMNI homes; I’ve worked with a diverse group of people, from small communities, like Picton in Prince Edward County, to much larger communities, like Aurora (in the Greater Toronto Area), and now I’m back in Peterborough,” Matt tells The OMNIway.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of people across the company and with a lot of experienced managers, and I have worked with the great staff across the board at OMNI, so it has been great.”

Matt says he’s found lots of support throughout OMNI during his first two years with the organization. When he began his OMNI career at Kentwood Park, the COVID-19 pandemic had just started and there was lots of uncertainty in the long-term care sector, which had never faced a crisis of this magnitude.

However, Matt says working with team members such as Streamway Villa administrator Kylie Szczebonski early on and later with Aimee Merkley, Doneath Stewart, Pat Chartier and Shawn Riel from head office while at the Willows, he was able to make transitions and meet challenges.

The teamwork and camaraderie he has experienced since joining the OMNI team have stood out for Matt, he says.

“I had an opportunity to learn through some really great mentors,” Matt says, adding that the addition of director of care Tammy Colman-Sadd to the Riverview team when he came on board has also been a plus.

“Having Tammy join our leadership here around the same time (has benefited Riverview Manor), and she has brought a lot of knowledge to her position,” he says.

Looking ahead, Matt says he’s looking forward to the completion of the Riverview Manor capital redevelopment project, which will see a new 192-bed home on Langton Street in Peterborough’s north end replace the existing 124-bed home on Water Street.

“I’m excited to work with the staff here and I look forward to growing with Riverview as it advances to a larger home in the future,” he says.

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Community chips in to help Riverview Manor celebrate Nursing Week

Riverview Manor paid tribute to the Peterborough long-term care home’s nurses and personal support workers (PSWs) last week with five days of food-filled events, and much of the celebration was made possible by families, local businesses and community organizations chipping in to help.

Each day, from Monday to Friday, front-line staff members were provided with something different as a show of gratitude for their dedication to residents and hard work.

Monday was ice cream day that included a variety of frozen treats for everyone, thanks to some outside help, notes Becky Dennie, Riverview Manor’s manager of resident quality and co-IPAC lead.

“We were able to utilize a $200 donation from a family member to obtain ice-cream sandwiches and cones,” she tells The OMNIway.

On Tuesday, 90 apple fritters that were donated by Kawartha Buttertart Factory in Douro-Dummer arrived at the home for apple fritter day.

Wednesday was pop and potato chip day. As an add-on, nurses and PSWs each received a carnation courtesy of local florist Rambling Rose Flowers.

Thursday was candy day, and capping off the week on Friday was a barbecue for everyone where hamburgers, hot dogs and a variety of salads were served.

The manager of the Tim Hortons on Water Street donated three dozen doughnuts with coffee and tea to the Riverview Manor team each day last week.

There was a draw for a $25 gift card for Walmart and Esso that was donated by supplier Handicare Canada. The Chemung Lake District Lions Club donated 10 $20 pizza vouchers so team members could enjoy complimentary meals.

Each Riverview Manor team member also received a name-tag holder, with registered staff receiving a key chain as well.

National Nursing Week 2022 was May 9-15. The week is set aside to acknowledge nurses and other front-line staff members for their work.

Health-care organizations across Canada dedicate the week every year to acknowledging nursing teams.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Riverview Manor team members were given key chains and name-tag holders during Nursing Week.