In-house social workers add a new dynamic to OMNI homes

By providing social work services to residents, OMNI is staying ahead of the curve among LTC providers, says Alicia Niewiatowska

Social worker Alicia Niewiatowska says she has a unique but clearly defined role to play in the lives of residents living at the five OMNI Health Care long-term care homes she serves – and that’s to “enhance their quality of life from a psycho-social perspective, because the medical one is well covered.”

Alicia is one of the social workers who have joined the OMNI team this year to add a new dynamic to the organization and take the high level of care OMNI prides itself on up another notch.

Since March, she has served the residents of Kentwood Park, Rosebridge Manor, Village Green, West Lake Terrace and Woodland Villa as an in-house advocate when they need someone to talk with or if they require mental-health support.

Alicia says the role OMNI has created for social workers is unique.

“Social workers (in long-term care homes) are usually relegated to the admissions process or doing community liaison work with other agencies, but (OMNI’s) program is really looking to be much more in-depth and focused on psycho-social needs,” she tells The OMNIway.

Alicia is also at the ready to help family members navigate the system when needed as well as to connect residents with valuable services they may want outside the home, such as library programs.

Alicia worked in the long-term care sector before joining the OMNI team, and she brings a wealth of experience working with residents and family members to her role.

One of the aspects of her job Alicia says she likes best is that she’s a “mobile social worker,” serving many residents at different homes, which broadens the positive impact she can make.

OMNI has rolled out a social worker program across many of its seniors homes this year, and Alicia is crediting the organization for positioning itself ahead of the curve by recognizing the need for social work in the seniors home sector and understanding the important part social workers can play enhancing quality of life for long-term-care home residents.

Ontario long-term care homes are not mandated to have social workers on staff. The addition of social workers to the organization shows OMNI’s commitment to residents, Alicia says.

“OMNI is going ahead and doing what they think is best for residents, which I wholeheartedly agree with,” she says.

– This is Part 1 of a four-part story series about the role of social workers in OMNI Health Care homes.

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