OMNI teams continue tapping into their creativity to enhance quality of life during pandemic

Maplewood life enrichment aide Rosanne Blackburn, pictured above, recently dressed as Elvis and danced to one of the King’s songs for the home’s residents.

Staff members are coming up with ideas to keep residents happy while adhering to safety policies

While OMNI Health Care long-term care homes continue to navigate through the changes that have come with the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization’s team members have been demonstrating their creativity to keep quality of life high for residents.

Two major changes that came into effect after the pandemic was declared in March were that non-essential visitation inside long-term care homes was suspended and group programming was put on hold (the Ontario government is now relaxing visitation restrictions in phases).

But homes have figured out ways to keep residents happy despite the changes.

For instance, it was a different kind of Father’s Day at Country Terrace on June 21, but it’s an important day of the year for the home’s dads, so team members wanted to do something to honour them since there would be no family gatherings inside.

The life enrichment team decided to host an event called Doughnuts for Dads and treat the gentlemen living at Country Terrace to doughnuts and coffee from Tim Hortons.

“For Father’s Day we wanted to make sure every dad got a treat as sweet as they are,” says life enrichment aide (LEA) Rachael LeBlanc.

Maplewood residents have been missing their regular entertainment, so LEA Rosanne Blackburn has been coming up with ways to keep people smiling and the laughter flowing.

Knowing how important entertainment is to the Brighton long-term care home’s residents, Rosanne has been providing entertainment by dressing up in costumes.

One day she dressed up as Elvis and danced to one of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll’s songs. On another day, she danced to the song Lollipop by the Chordettes – with a big lollipop in hand. Rosanne also served residents tea and coffee while dressed as a clown.

Rosanne says her ideas have gone over so well with residents they are eager to know what she’s going to do next.

“They get a good chuckle out of it,” she tells The OMNIway. “They always tell me when I come in, ‘I’m waiting for your next costume; I can’t wait to see what it’s going to be.’ ”

Frost Manor in Lindsay recently opened its therapy garden. Staff members have been accompanying residents outside and, while maintaining social distancing, hosting some activities, such as fan-favourite games like Yardzee.

Frost Manor life enrichment co-ordinator Lyndsay Burton says residents’ family members have played a large part in getting the therapy garden looking its best by providing donations to buy extra flowers.

“The pandemic adds a new challenge to programming outdoors with social distancing and added infection control measures, (but) our life enrichment team is up to the challenge,” she says.

“The front patio and therapy garden are now bursting with colour. The added funds allowed us to purchase many more flowers, veggies, soil and new mulch for our gardens.”