Two OMNI homes win prizes for videos highlighting the Residents’ Bill of Rights

Burnbrae Gardens and Village Green will receive $50 Tim Hortons gift cards from the OARC

Two OMNI Health Care long-term care homes have won prize draws for videos they created highlighting the 27 rights listed in the Residents’ Bill of Rights as part of a contest organized by the Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils (OARC).

Burnbrae Gardens and Village Green will be receiving $50 Tim Hortons gift cards which both homes will be using to host doughnut parties for residents.

A third OMNI home, West Lake Terrace, received an honourable mention on the OARC website for the video residents and team members submitted.

The OARC challenged Ontario long-term care homes to work with residents to create videos to teach others about the Residents’ Bill of Rights during Residents’ Council Week, which ran Sept. 13-19.

In the video submitted by Burnbrae Gardens, residents are wearing T-shirts listing the 27 rights. Each T-shirt is embossed with two residents’ rights – one on the front and one on the back. Residents had their photos taken wearing the T-shirts, and the photos were made into a slideshow accompanied by music.

Resident Jeannine LeClerc, who is fluent in French, provided a translation in the video for every resident right.

“Residents were super excited to know that they will receive a Tim Hortons recognition party for all their hard work in putting this video together,” Burnbrae Gardens administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) April Faux tells The OMNIway.

April says the prize is a bonus for a project everyone found rewarding to create.

“To be honest, we had so much fun as a group making this video that the gift card we received was just an extra little reward on top of the fun and laughter we had putting it all together,” she says.

The video created by Village Green features the Greater Napanee long-term care home’s residents and team members reading the residents’ rights.

In some segments, Village Green residents and staff members act out residents’ rights so viewers can see examples of residents’ rights in action.

Village Green LEC Ulana Orrick says residents were overjoyed when they learned they would be having a doughnut party thanks to their work on the video.

Ulana says when she asked residents how they felt about being recognized for their work, the most common reply was “I feel proud.”

“Our residents were thrilled to be one of the winning homes, and we will be having a party soon to celebrate with our Tim Hortons Gift card,” she says.

“This was such a great way for residents to express themselves and to feel some ownership of their home.”

The video created by West Lake Terrace, called Through Our Eyes Bringing the Residents’ Bill of Rights Alive, features a slideshow of residents and team members holding cards with each residents’ right explained as a rendition of the Beatles’ In My Life plays.

Click here to watch the Burnbrae Gardens video.

Click here to watch the Village Green video.

Click here to watch the West Lake Terrace video.

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Pirate-themed activities engage Village Green residents in fun, education and exercise

High Seas Adventure Day proves to be engaging on many levels

Well, shiver me timbers!

Village Green residents were recently treated to a pirate-themed day at the Greater Napanee long-term care home that creatively combined fun, education and exercise.

On Sept. 23, the Village Green life enrichment team organized High Seas Adventure Day for residents that began with residents finding a message in a bottle on their tables at breakfast.

“Ahoy! Today be a special day at Village Green,” the message read. “Today we sail the seven seas in search of pirate treasure! Join us in the Galley (the activity room) to get your pirate name and start your adventure!”

Team members dressed up in pirate costumes and residents could put on a pirate hat embossed with the famous symbol of pirates, the skull and crossbones, to have their photo taken.

From there, residents were treated to a variety of pirate-themed activities throughout the day that included an educational session on the history of pirates, a game of pirate bingo and even digging for hidden treasure, explains Ulana Orrick, Village Green’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

There was also a high seas-themed exercise class many residents participated in, she adds.

Residents were even “certified” as pirates for the day.

“Residents were given a pirate name and an honorary pirate certificate,” Ulana says.

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YouTube has been a valuable resource at Village Green during the pandemic

When safe, outdoor concerts could not be held, residents turned to YouTube for entertainment

Throughout much of last summer and autumn, Village Green hosted several outdoor concerts that met COVID-19 safety regulations and provided residents of the Greater Napanee long-term care home with much-loved musical entertainment.

Residents looked forward to sitting in the Village Green garden and watching performances from their favourite local entertainers who played from a stage set up in the home’s parking lot.

However, when the weather turned colder and hosting outdoor shows was no longer an option, the Village Green life enrichment department turned to the Internet to help meet residents’ musical needs.

In particular, the online video platform YouTube became the go-to tool to provide residents with meaningful programming, says Village Green life enrichment co-ordinator Ulana Orrick.

Some local churches and a local public school have uploaded musical performances to YouTube which the residents have enjoyed watching, Ulana says.

“Normally, the public school would come in to perform for residents, but this year they made YouTube videos instead and sent Village Green the links,” she tells The OMNIway.

“The residents can still see the kids who would come in, so watching the videos has been a lot of fun for them.”

Residents have also found YouTube channels they enjoy watching. Sing Along with Susie Q, a YouTube channel hosted by Susan McAllister-Bee, a St. Thomas, Ont.-based musician and music teacher, is a particular favourite of residents, Ulana says.

Village Green, being in a rural area, can at times experience bandwidth shortages. But even when the videos pause to buffer, residents are so into the music they barely notice, Ulana says.

“The residents will keep going; they will keep singing, even when the video freezes,” she says.

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Conversations with residents a highlight of student’s Village Green placement

‘They have years and years of experience and stories that they love to tell and love to talk about,’ says Griffin Newton

Griffin Newton says his favourite part of his two-month student placement at Village Green was the time he spent getting to know the Greater Napanee long-term care home’s residents.

Griffin, a Grade 13 student at Napanee District Secondary School, recently completed his co-op placement at Village Green. The experience has helped shape his career path, and he has applied to Loyalist College’s recreation and leisure program for the September intake.

As part of his placement, Griffin spent much of his time helping with activities and playing games or reading newspapers with residents.

It was through the time he spent with residents that Griffin says he learned a great deal about the people living at Village Green.

“They have years and years of experience and stories that they love to tell and love to talk about,” Griffin says.

“If you are a people person, they love to talk and they love to talk with you because their stories have been a big, monumental part of their lives and you have to be able to listen.”

One memorable moment for Griffin came when he was reading a newspaper with residents. Walter Gretzky, the father of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, had recently passed away and there was an article about the world’s most famous hockey dad.

It turned out one of the residents knew the elder Gretzky many years ago.

“When (the resident) knew him, he sold cheese back in the day, and the other residents didn’t know that, so that was one of the great stories I heard,” Griffin says.

Griffin, who has also been working as a front-door screener during the pandemic, says having these conversations gave him “a new perspective” on people living at Village Green. Hearing about their stories and experiences was a chance to get to know them on a different level.

“I also love working there and being down there and interacting with the residents and, right now, taking their mind off of everything, especially with COVID,” he says.

– This is Part 2 of a two-part story

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Village Green placement steers student towards LTC career

‘I did a two-month placement there and fell in love with it’

Griffin Newton was no stranger to Village Green when he started a two-month co-op placement at the Greater Napanee long-term care home earlier this year.

His mother, Tammy Newton, is Village Green’s clinical care co-ordinator, and Griffin has been familiar with the home from an early age.

So when it came time for Griffin, a Grade 13 student at Napanee District Secondary School, to do his co-op placement, his mother suggested he consider Village Green, where Griffin also works as a front-door screener.

Tammy saw in Griffin a key strength that’s valuable in long-term care work: his ability to connect with people.

“She came up with the idea of my going back and making a connection (at Village Green) because she said I was always good at interacting with other people and helping others, so why not try that out,” Griffin tells The OMNIway.

“I did a two-month placement there and fell in love with it.”

During his placement, Griffin spent much of his time working with the life enrichment department helping out with activities.

He enjoyed the experience so much he plans to make a career out of it.

Griffin, who will complete his high-school studies this year, has applied to the recreation and leisure program at Loyalist College for the September intake.

Graduates of this program often go on to work in life enrichment departments at long-term care and retirement homes.

One idea he came up with during his placement was to draw a cartoon animal on the whiteboard every morning as well as to write a pun.

“He did this every day because the residents liked the first one so much,” says Ulana Orrick, Village Green’s life enrichment co-ordinator, who adds Griffin is well suited for this line of work.

Griffin says doing his placement at Village Green wasn’t so much “work” as it was learning about the home’s residents.

“It wasn’t a job for me, it was getting a chance to hang around with a group of interesting people I had not met before,” he says.

– This is Part 1 of a two-part story

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Village Green residents treated to a jungle safari without leaving home

Safari Day was beneficial to residents on many levels

Village Green residents were recently treated to an African safari that included a tour where they spotted different animals and learned about several creatures that live in a jungle habitat.

The activity, which was held on April 6, began with the life enrichment team hosting an educational program on Kenyan folklore in the morning.

Later, the life enrichment team and co-op placement student Griffin Newton led residents through the Greater Napanee long-term care home on the safari to search out the variety of “animals” that were made from pieces of cardboard cut into the shapes of different creatures and then painted by Griffin and his family.

The animals were created with “amazing” detail, notes Village Green life enrichment co-ordinator Ulana Orrick.

“Griffin has an immense artistic talent, and over the Easter weekend he and his family created all of these different animals by hand,” Ulana says.

Residents and their safari guides walked through Village Green looking for tigers, gazelles and other animals that one may spot on a safari.

As soon as an animal was spotted by residents, a life enrichment team member would provide information about the creature.

The safari ended in the home’s sunroom where there was a cardboard cut-out of a Jeep that served as a prop for residents to have their photos taken with.

The fun continued after the safari when residents were treated to a Kenyan-themed pub afternoon where they enjoyed drinks and special food made by team members.

The food included pigs-in-a-blanket – dubbed “boar in a blanket” – as well as a chutney and tropical fruit.

The day ended with residents learning how to play mancala, a strategy-based board game that originated in Africa.

Ulana says the activities from Safari Day met residents’ needs on many levels. Aside from being fun and educational for residents, the day also had social aspects and also proved to be a way to get people exercising.

“Walking in the halls, they were exercising without even realizing it,” Ulana says.

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Village Green residents remake famous scene from the musical Easter Parade

The classic musical film Easter Parade served as the inspiration for a fun program at Village Green that saw residents dress up in their favourite outfits and have their photos taken over the Easter weekend.

On April 2 (Good Friday), residents watched Easter Parade, a 1948 musical about a dancing team that stars Judy Garland and Fred Astaire.

On Easter Sunday, the Greater Napanee long-term care home’s residents had the opportunity to attend their own Easter parade and recreate a famous scene from the film where Garland and Astaire walk arm in arm.

The part of Fred Astaire was played by Chris, one of Village Green’s life enrichment aides, who was also dressed up for the role.

With protocols in place to keep everyone safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing was in effect and team members all wore face masks.

Village Green’s large dining room, which provides lots of open space, was used as the parade route for residents to walk through.

While some residents participated in the photoshoot, others chose to watch from the sidelines and provide encouragement.

“Residents could choose to watch and cheer or to strut their stuff and show off a bonnet of their own making,” says Village Green life enrichment co-ordinator Ulana Orrick.

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Being proactive has kept Village Green safe during the pandemic: administrator

‘We have … made a strong commitment to try to keep (COVID-19) out,’ says Linda Pierce

Village Green administrator Linda Pierce describes the COVID-19 pandemic as a bit like fighting an “invisible enemy” that is “circling the sky” – but by being proactive from the beginning, the Greater Napanee long-term care home has been able to keep residents and staff members safe from the virus.

“We can’t see it, but it’s there, and we’re fighting to keep it out, and staff members are doing an amazing job to keep it out,” she tells The OMNIway.

“It involves every day, every moment, ensuring mask-wearing, ensuring hand hygiene, ensuring social distancing.”

Aside from everyone on the floor being vigilant about safety measures and infection prevention, Linda says there has been strong leadership from both Village Green director of care Debbie McTaggart as well as from OMNI Health Care’s clinical operations manager Susan Cymbaluk.

Strong leadership has resulted in strong compliance, Linda says, crediting everyone working at Village Green for doing their part to keep residents and themselves safe during the pandemic.

“We started wearing masks inside the home before we were told we had to – I have to give credit to Debbie and to Susan and to all of the team, but when you have the leads and the supports directing it, it moves it along a path of heightened awareness,” Linda says.

“We have, collectively in our discussions together, made a strong commitment to try to keep (COVID-19) out.”

Most of all, Linda says the Village Green team always keeps the pandemic top of mind and people do not let their guard down.

“It’s a worry every day, (but) we are standing guard and we are trying our very best to keep our residents and staff safe,” she says.

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Province approves Village Green rebuild that will add 62 beds

Once completed, the new Village Green will benefit residents, staff and the community, says administrator Linda Pierce

The Ontario government announced Nov. 20 that approval has been granted to build a new 128-bed Village Green in Greater Napanee, a move the home’s administrator, Linda Pierce, says will benefit residents, staff members and the community.

Once completed, the new Village Green will have an additional 62 beds, nearly twice as many as the current home, which has 66.

“We are really excited about it,” Pierce tells The OMNIway. “This is such a complement to everybody: the team, the community (and) the people we serve.”

While there is no confirmation on when construction on the new Village Green will start or be completed, Pierce says a tentative site for the home is being considered on the west side of Lennox and Addington County Road 41.

Once completed, the rebuilt Village Green will be a Class A long-term care home with modern amenities, such as wider hallways and more home-like dining areas, and privacy will be enhanced by limiting all rooms to no more than one or two beds.

Pierce says eliminating three- and four-bed wards is crucial to ensuring high quality of life for people living in long-term care homes because lack of privacy can agitate residents.

By limiting rooms to no more than two beds, Pierce says residents will have increased privacy and a more home-like living experience.

“From bathing to dining experiences, everything will be enhanced,” Pierce says.

“Everything, in my opinion, will be more favourable to resident care and to the quality of life of the resident and the quality of life of the worker.”

Pierce also says the redeveloped Village Green will be a community asset because the additional 62 beds will help minimize waiting times for people in the region requiring long-term care.

Village Green is the latest OMNI Health Care long-term care home to receive approval for redevelopment. In 2018, approval was granted to build a new 160-bed Riverview Manor in Peterborough. The province recently announced approval for an additional 32 beds to be added to Riverview Manor, bringing the total to 192 beds.

Pleasant Meadow Manor, Almonte Country Haven, Woodland Villa and Country Terrace received approvals in 2018 for redevelopment projects to expand those homes.

Construction has started on the expansions to Pleasant Meadow Manor, Almonte Country Haven and Woodland Villa.

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Village Green residents were missing Tim Hortons, so staff built a Tim Hortons at Village Green

The creative life enrichment team built a Tim’s drive-thru in the home’s garden. Residents loved it

Challenging times often call for creative measures, and Village Green life enrichment team members really came through for residents when they heard how much people living at the Greater Napanee long-term care home were missing outings to Tim Hortons.

Before short-stay visits for Ontario long-term-care home residents were reinstated in late August by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, residents expressed to life enrichment co-ordinator Ulana Orrick that they were missing trips to Tim Hortons.

Many residents had not had Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts since the global COVID-19 pandemic began in March.

So on Oct. 6, the life enrichment team set up a Tim Hortons drive-thru in the Village Green garden. Life enrichment aide Jess Boot, a new team member, designed a Tim Hortons storefront facade that was placed on the front of the gazebo.

The Tim Hortons store on Centre St. in Napanee donated coffee, doughnuts and Tim Hortons staff shirts for the life enrichment team to wear.

The nursing team then assisted residents outside to the garden where they queued on the walking path as they would at a Tim Hortons drive-thru.

The residents loved it, Ulana says.

“We had music playing and lots of fun was had,” she tells The OMNIway. “At one point one of the residents exclaimed, ‘you can tell this is a real Tim Hortons because the lineup is so long!’ ”

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