Maintaining high quality of life while staying safe has been a top priority at OMNI homes

While the global pandemic has presented obstacles, team members have answered the challenge and have worked within safety parameters to keep residents happy

Providing residents with a high quality of life has always been a cornerstone of OMNI Health Care, and while the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has created obstacles, team members working in the organization’s 18 long-term care homes have stepped up to the challenge of adapting to safety protocols while minimizing the impact on residents.

Socialization is an important part of life in every long-term care home. When the pandemic was declared in March, safety protocols were immediately put in place that resulted in residents being physically isolated from their families and other residents.

Knowing this was going to be difficult for residents, OMNI staff members began organizing window visits and video calls so residents could stay connected to their families. In fact, video calls have remained so popular at some homes that residents and families are still requesting them, even though restrictions on visitation have been eased recently.

“FaceTime and Skype are being offered seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., in half-hour blocks, and every day each block is spoken for, so residents and their loved ones are spending a lot of time together (through real-time video calls),” Forest Hill life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Craig Forrest recently told The OMNIway.

Programming is an important part of life in long-term care homes, and with large-group programming currently suspended, team members have had to think outside the box in order to fill the need for meaningful activities.

Shortly after the pandemic began, Springdale Country Manor life enrichment aide Trish Mills came up with an idea to take a keyboard down the hallways at the Peterborough-area long-term care home, playing and singing residents’ old favourites outside their rooms.

“When we cannot have programs or group gatherings we decided to take the music down the halls,” said Springdale LEC Sonia Murney.

Ontario has had one of the warmest summers in recent memory in 2020. Between the heatwave and the restrictions in place due to the pandemic, Streamway Villa residents have been in need of some fun, so the Cobourg long-term care home’s team members created a splash party that followed safety guidelines while providing some “cool” fun and laughter.

There were water guns, balloons, beach balls, a small pool and an inflatable unicorn to play a game of ring toss with (the object being to toss rings on the unicorn’s horn).

“We are trying to bring some normalcy back, and I have not seen some of the residents laugh like they did in a long time,” said LEC Laurie Kracht.

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