Innovative thinking remains in high gear at OMNI homes

Team members working in OMNI Health Care homes have been showing their ingenuity throughout autumn and using their knack for innovative thinking to create programs and ideas to help keep quality of life high for the residents they serve.

Michelle Geeves, a new life enrichment aide (LEA) at Springdale Country Manor, recently created a program that’s bringing residents back to primetime TV of the 1980s.

The program, called Laughing with the Golden Girls, sees residents watching episodes of the Golden Girls on DVD and then participating in trivia about the program and a discussion about the episode over cheesecake – the Golden Girls’ favourite dessert.

“Residents remember the Golden Girls well, and we have cheesecake because that was the Golden Girls’ favourite snack,” Michelle tells The OMNIway.

“We all laughed and thought it was fun.”

The Laughing with the Golden Girls program has prompted lots of reminiscing about the days when it was a top-rated TV show, says Springdale life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney.

“Michelle gets a good group of residents together and they sit around and chat and create memories and do all kinds of fun stuff,” she says.

It has been Christmas year-round at Riverview Manor for the past 22 months, thanks to the ingenuity of one of the home’s LEAs.

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, noting the trees have remained popular conversation pieces among residents.

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

At Maplewood, staff members are being encouraged to bring their pets to work from home to spend time with residents and their colleagues. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maplewood residents received frequent and meaningful visits from St. John Ambulance therapy dogs and their handlers.

But while restrictions began easing this year and other volunteers started returning, Maplewood has been unable to get the pet therapy visits residents enjoyed prior to the pandemic, says administrator Rachel Corkery.

In some cases, volunteers have moved away or have retired from volunteering, resulting in a shortage of pet therapy volunteers.

This is where staff can help, Rachel says.

Allowing staff members to bring their pets to spend the day at the home is a three-way symbiotic relationship, she says: a pet, such as a dog, visiting the home pleases residents and staff, and the animal is getting lots of attention as well, she notes.

“It’s hard not to smile to smile when you see a pet, especially something like a little puppy, walking through the home,” she says.