Front-line team members embrace creativity to enhance residents’ quality of life

Throughout 2021, we saw examples of how staff members were empowered by one of OMNI’s core values

Oftentimes, small things we do for others can make the greatest difference, and front-line team members working in OMNI Health Care’s 18 long-term care homes demonstrate this every day by harnessing one of the organization’s core values: creativity.

Throughout 2021, we saw many examples of team members thinking outside the box to make residents’ faces light up with smiles. This has been especially important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In January, Pleasant Meadow Manor registered nurse Shelly Vandenberg found inspiration in a pair of safety goggles she was wearing and decided to dress up like Scuba Steve, a character and toy from the 1999 Adam Sandler comedy film Big Daddy.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Kim Williams fashioned a pair of swim fins out of yellow construction paper for Shelly to wear on her feet. A homemade snorkel completed the outfit.

“Some of the residents wanted to splash water on her because she had scuba gear on, and another resident tried to encourage her to get into the bathtub,” Kim said.

“With just a little masking tape and some construction paper, I’m telling you, we can have lots of fun.”

Maplewood life enrichment aide Rosanne Blackburn has a long track record of coming up with creative, engaging ideas that bring smiles to residents and staff members alike.

In June, Rosanne organized a Western-themed day that saw her and other team members dress as cowgirls. Residents had a photo booth set up so they could have their own Wild West-style wanted poster made.

The nutritional care team also got in on the spirit of the day.

“The kitchen staff prepared ‘cowboy casserole’ and chicken chili for the menu,” Rosanne said.

At Burnbrae Gardens, nutritional care aide Nikki McAleaney made use of an unusual accessory she owns to add some fun to residents’ hot dog lunch one day in September.

Nikki’s friends and family members have given her food-themed hats as a nod to her job as a nutritional care aide. One of those hats is a hot dog hat, and when Nikki learned residents would be served hot dogs for lunch one day, she found the perfect reason to wear her special hat to work.

“With me working in the dietary department, I just thought it would be a really cute idea and bring some laughter to the residents by wearing a hot dog hat on hot dog day,” Nikki said, adding her plan worked.

“It brought them lots of laughter,” she says. “It felt really good to make residents so happy.”

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