Innovation and creativity meet to enhance quality of life in OMNI homes

Team members have recently come up with amazing ideas to enhance residents’ quality of life

People working in OMNI Health Care long-term care homes have recently been demonstrating their talent for pairing innovation and OMNI’s core value of creativity to enhance quality of life for residents.

Frost Manor’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team has come up with a solution to reduce wandering in residents with cognitive impairment with a new project to help make navigating the Lindsay long-term care home’s hallways easier.

Residents with cognitive impairment are often challenged to find their rooms. Each of the halls at Frost Manor look similar, which can add to the confusion, says registered practical nurse and BSO lead Justin Hills.

So the BSO team invested in artwork to help solve this problem. A local painter was hired to come in and create murals on each of the home’s three hallways in early November.

Since the halls are named after trees – Maple, Elm and Birch – a mural corresponding to each tree was painted at the hallway entrances. Small lettering was replaced with large lettering to identify each hall as well.

“We have a couple of residents who wander, and they get confused about where they are going,” Justin says.

“So when we identify which hallway they are trying to get to, it will decrease that wandering behaviour and it will decrease the agitation for other residents, because they might otherwise wander into another resident’s room.”

Frost Manor is not the only OMNI home painting trees on walls. Kentwood Park’s residents and life enrichment team have created a way to celebrate people living at the Picton long-term care home as well as honouring past residents.

There is now a large painting of a tree in the home filled with paper cut-out leaves bearing the names of each of the 45 people who call Kentwood Park home.

When a new resident moves into Kentwood Park, their name is added to the tree and there is a gathering around the tree to officially welcome them.

If a resident passes away, there is a gathering of residents around the tree to remove the resident’s leaf and say a short prayer for them.

The idea, which came from life enrichment aides (LEAs) Brandy Courtney and Darlene VanVlack, was originally to provide closure for residents when someone passes away. Life enrichment co-ordinator Lisa Mills added the idea of using the tree to welcome new residents.

Lisa says the LEAs’ idea falls in line with two areas of OMNI’s focus on resident care: quality and mindfulness.

“Because Kentwood Park is such a small home, everybody feels like they’re family, and because everyone feels like they’re family we want new residents to feel welcome to this family,” Lisa says.

Many residents at Burnbrae Gardens have been pet owners at some point, and animal therapy has always worked well at the Campbellford long-term care home. So administrator April Faux bought four Companion Pets with money she had left in her programming budget for this year.

The Companion Pets – two cats and two dogs – are state-of-the-art stuffed animals made by Hasbro. The animals are incredibly lifelike. Their fur feels realistic, they bark and meow, they have heartbeats, they move their ears and eyes, and they will even roll over. The stuffed animals also respond to being touched and petted.

This has been one of the best investments April says she has made for resident programming. Residents are spending a lot of time with the stuffed animals and enjoying every moment of their time. Staff members enjoy petting the Companion Pets as well, April adds.

“The reactions the residents gave were heartwarming; it almost brought tears to your eyes how much the residents connected with (the Companion Pets),” April says. “It has surprised me, in a sense, the reaction they have with the residents.”

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