OMNI residents show dedication to each other and their homes in 2018

Residents helping engage others about Bill of Rights, sanitizing hands during an outbreak and keeping yards in top shape were among the stories we saw this year

People living in OMNI Health Care long-term care homes demonstrated commitment to their fellow residents and to their homes in 2018 in a variety of ways that were meaningful and enhanced quality of life.

Frost Manor residents’ council president Diane Hickman and Lyndsay Irwin, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator, collaborated this year to educate residents and team members on the Residents’ Bill of Rights after a report released by the Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils indicated there was disconnect between residents and long-term-care home staff members when it came to understanding what the Bill of Rights is.

The pair discovered that staff members at the Lindsay long-term care home were indeed doing a good job respecting people’s rights. The question was, did they realize this?

Diane and Lyndsay decided to focus on “reminding” staff of the things they were already doing well. They selected some residents’ rights to focus on for a series of educational sessions, including privacy, participating in decision making, and respect and dignity.

“Diane went around engaging residents to find out what was important for them to highlight in a message they wanted to bring to the staff,” Lyndsay says. “We did a lot of reminders; we wanted to highlight that the things staff members are already doing are making a difference, and that was one way that we were really able to reach staff members.”

During an outbreak at Village Green in July, resident Karen Traczyk stepped up to the plate to help with infection-control duties. Village Green is trying to empower residents to become involved with their care as much as possible, and registered practical nurse Denise Simpson saw an opportunity for Karen to make a difference.

Denise asked Karen to stand in the dining room with a bottle of hand sanitizer before and after meals to encourage her fellow residents to wash their hands frequently. She would ask residents and staff members to wash their hands, and she dispensed foam sanitizer for them.

“Karen did a great job of taking on the role, and it helped her be a part (of care delivery) in the home,” Denise says. “(W)e also want to get residents involved in their own care. Sometimes directing people comes better from your peers than from staff.”

Country Terrace resident Tracey Welles says she was once told that “being active is the best medicine for physical and mental health,” and this is advice she has taken to heart.

Tracey kept active at the Komoka long-term care home this year by tending to its gardens, cleaning the walkways and doing her best to make sure Country Terrace keeps looking its best.

“I did not want to just lay around in bed and give up,” Tracey says when asked what inspired her to take on chores around the home.

There are terrific social benefits to having created a job for herself at Country Terrace, Tracey says, adding she has made a name for herself among residents and staff members.

“People know who I am before I even know them because they know I am the one who is helping around the home,” she says. “It’s nice to hear good things about me.”

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