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Evacusleds could ‘save a lot of lives’ in emergencies: PSW

 

Willows Estate fire-safety team members prepare to move a volunteer on a mattress fitted with an Evacusled during a mock evacuation.

Willows Estate fire-safety team members prepare to move a volunteer on a mattress fitted with an Evacusled during a mock evacuation.

Willows fire-safety team member attests to value of new devices

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 — Deron Hamel

If a fire ever broke out in a long-term care home equipped with Evacusleds, the devices would “save a lot of lives,” says Willows Estate personal support worker (PSW) and fire-safety team member Hayley Barclay.

Barclay spoke to the OMNIway days after the Aurora long-term care home completed its first-ever vertical evacuation — bringing people down flights of stairs — during a fire drill on Feb. 28.

Evacusleds are devices with tiny wheels that fit under bed mattresses. In an emergency, staff members can rush into the rooms of residents who have Evacusleds, lift residents to the floor without getting them out of bed, and pull them across the floor to safety in short order.

“I think the value of the Evacusleds is priceless,” Barclay says, adding the team only had two weeks of training with the devices before the mock evacuation. “The (Evacusleds are) great; they’re easy to use and easy to explain to people.”

Not only did the fire-safety team safely “rescue” 42 resident and staff-member volunteers in an exercise that ran smoothly, they did it in only 26 minutes, a feat Central York Fire Services (CYFS) Capt. Ryan Schell says is “unheard-of.”

“That even blew my mind,” says Barclay of the team’s success. “I didn’t think we would be able to do it in that amount of time.”

Willows Estate is the first long-term care home in the Newmarket-Aurora region that CYFS has seen use Evacusleds, says Schell. Willows Estate recently bought 12 of the devices.

Before the alarm was sounded to start the evacuation, Barclay says she was feeling anxiety, but as soon as the drill began, she was focused and her fire-safety training kicked in. Having the Evacusleds made the exercise run smooth for the team, she adds.

Barclay says she recommends other long-term care homes invest in Evacusleds to enhance resident safety.

Aside from being excellent safety devices, Evacusleds are also comfortable, she adds. Even in the event of an emergency, residents whose beds are fitted with the devices would feel little disruption.

“I’ve been in an Evacusled and you don’t feel a thing, even going down stairs,” Barclay says.

Click here to watch a YouTube video of the evacuation.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

CYFS says Willows fire-safety team setting example for other LTC homes to follow

Willows Estate's fire-safety team (pictured above) impressed Central York Fire Services during a recent evacuation drill.

Willows Estate’s fire-safety team (pictured above) impressed Central York Fire Services during a recent evacuation drill.

Fire department wants to use video and Evacusleds in demonstrations

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 — Deron Hamel

AURORA, Ont. – Central York Fire Services (CYFS) personnel is so impressed with the Willows Estate fire-safety team’s recent evacuation drill they want to use a video of the exercise to demonstrate how long-term care homes should react in an emergency.

Willows Estate’s fire-safety team conducted its first-ever evacuation of the second floor during a fire drill at the Aurora long-term care home Feb. 28. The OMNIway filmed the exercise, which took 26 minutes for staff members to evacuate 42 volunteer residents and staff members from rooms.

The evacuation included safely moving people from the second floor down a stairwell.

“I’d like to showcase these people (Willows Estate’s fire-safety team) as an example of how to do this correctly,” CYFS fire prevention officer Ryan Schell tells the OMNIway. “(They) evacuated the second floor of a long-term care facility in 26 minutes — that’s unheard-of. The zone was evacuated in 10 minutes (which) well exceeds provincial standards.”

The evacuation was also unique because it was the first time Evacusleds were used in a fire-safety drill at the home. Evacusleds are devices with tiny wheels that fit under bed mattresses. In an emergency, staff members can rush into the rooms of residents who have Evacusleds, lift residents to the floor without getting them out of bed, and pull them across the floor to safety in short order.

The Evacusleds also played a major factor in the fire-safety team’s success, says Schell.

Willows Estate is the first long-term care home in the Newmarket-Aurora region that CYFS has seen use Evacusleds, says Schell. Willows Estate recently bought 12 of the devices.

In addition to using the video for training purposes, CYFS personnel also wants to show others the value Evacusleds bring to fire-safety teams. In fact, the fire department has borrowed one of the Evacusleds from Willows Estate for a month to use in demonstrations.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Willows Estate ‘leading the way’ in LTC fire safety: CYFS captain

RN Christine Quizon is seen here preparing to evacuate a staff volunteer during Willows Estate's Feb. 28 fire drill.

RN Christine Quizon is seen here preparing to evacuate a staff volunteer during Willows Estate’s Feb. 28 fire drill.

Team’s top-notch preparedness evacuates second floor in 26 minutes during drill

Monday, March 3, 2014 — Deron Hamel

AURORA, Ont. – Central York Fire Services (CYFS) fire prevention officer Capt. Ryan Schell says the success of Willows Estate’s Feb. 28 evacuation drill shows the home is “leading the way” in fire safety in the region’s long-term care homes.

Schell is referring to the fact the Aurora long-term care home’s fire safety team was able to evacuate 42 staff and resident volunteers from rooms on the second floor and down a flight of stairs in only 26 minutes.

“That’s unheard of,” Schell tells the OMNIway, moments after the drill was complete. “Not only did they do it in a timely manner, I think they’re leading the way. . . . When it comes to evacuating people, these guys are at the top of their game.”

Rooms were evacuated in about 90 seconds each. The fire zone was evacuated in 10 minutes. Schell says these times “well exceed” provincial fire safety standards.

Prior to the evacuation drill, the home’s fire safety team spent two weeks preparing for it. Schell commends team members for their effort.

“The fire safety team here at the Willows went above and beyond,” he says.

This is the first time the Willows team has performed a “vertical evacuation” down a stairwell. It’s also the first time the Willows used Evacusleds during a fire safety drill.

Evacusleds are devices with tiny wheels that fit under bed mattresses. In an emergency, staff members can rush into the rooms of residents who have Evacusleds, lift residents to the floor without getting them out of bed, and pull them across the floor to safety in short order.

The home recently bought 12 of these state-of-the-art emergency devices.

CYFS personnel are so impressed with how quickly people were evacuated they’ve borrowed one of the Evacusleds from Willows Estate for a month to use in demonstrations.

Most fires happen between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. With this in mind, Willows Estate simulated a night shift, with six staff members on hand to perform the drill. Night charge nurse and fire safety team member Lesley Noordhuis says she and other participants were anxious ahead of the drill, but when the time came, everyone jumped into their roles seamlessly.

“As long as everyone works together as a team, it will go smoothly — and what we did today just proves that,” she says

Stay tuned to the OMNIway for Part 2 of this story: CYFS Using Willows Example for Training

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Country Terrace going to the dogs

Pet therapy program enhancing quality of life

Pet therapy’s positive impact on people with cognitive impairment is well documented, and the Country Terrace team sees these benefits every time a St. John Ambulance therapy dog visits the home, says Veronica Couto. Read more

Local media highlights Woodland pet-therapy program

The Cornwall Standard Freeholder story about Woodland Villa volunteer Bridget Le Touze and her St. John Ambulance therapy dog, Finnigan.

The Cornwall Standard Freeholder story about Woodland Villa volunteer Bridget Le Touze and her St. John Ambulance therapy dog, Finnigan.


LEC commends newspaper for coverage of important initiative

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Woodland Villa life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Lisa Doran is applauding a local newspaper for recent articles highlighting the Long Sault home’s pet-therapy program.

The Cornwall Standard Freeholder recently published feature stories about how volunteer Bridget Le Touze and her St. John Ambulance therapy dog, Finnigan, visit the home’s residents every two weeks.

Le Touze and Finnigan recently received the Cornwall District Kennel Club trophy for completing the most volunteer hours in the region. The duo also was awarded the St. Joseph’s Continuing Healthcare Centre trophy, which recognizes the team that best represents the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program.

The newspaper wanted to publish a story with a photograph of Le Touze and Finnigan volunteering, and wanted to conduct the interview while the pair was volunteering. Le Touze suggested Woodland Villa, so reporter Lois Ann Baker stopped by during the home’s pet-therapy program one day.

“I really enjoyed the story,” Doran says.

“She said we’re a friendly home and that they enjoy coming here. It was an honour for us, too, (because) we really enjoy having them come here.”

Doran says the pet-therapy program brings a lot of value to residents. When Le Touze and Finnigan are at Woodland Villa, they circle the home, visiting rooms that are marked with a paw print. This sign means residents have requested a visit.

Doran says the atmosphere is always upbeat when Le Touze and Finnigan visit. In fact, many of the home’s 111 residents look forward to the program.

To qualify as a therapy dog, Finnigan went through a lengthy training program. Finnigan has a gentle nature and responds well to residents, Doran says. “The residents are happy when they see an animal come in, and Finnigan is a very friendly dog.”

The St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program’s website explains the positive impact animals can have on people with cognitive impairment.

“Through petting, affection, and regular visitation of a dog, patients/residents find peace in the gentle contact with the dog and in its quiet presence,” the site says. “(People) talk more to others, participate in activities, eat and sleep better, smile more. As a result their quality of life is improved.”

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Falls reduced by 30% at Country Terrace in 2013

 

This wheelchair is equipped with alarms that sound if a resident at risk of falling gets up from their seat.

This wheelchair is equipped with alarms that sound if a resident at risk of falling gets up from their seat.

 

Focus on falls prevention pays off for home
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When Country Terrace recently did an audit on the number of falls at the Komoka long-term care home, team members were surprised to see how well their many falls-prevention strategies are working.

The home reduced the number of falls from 412 in 2012 to 286 in 2013, an improvement of 30 per cent, and team members are hoping these numbers continue to decline.

Registered practical nurse (RPN) Brenda Kumagai is one of the home’s falls-prevention champions. She cites Country Terrace’s physiotherapy program, exercise programs, toileting regimens, family education and installation of proper lighting as contributing factors to the success.

Physiotherapy and exercise programs help enhance mobility. Assisting residents with regular toileting helps decrease the risk of a person trying to stand up on their own to make their way to the washroom. Making sure areas are well lit helps people see where they’re going.

Reducing restraints is perhaps the greatest challenge long-term care homes face in the effort to reduce falls. Restraints, such as wheelchair seat belts or bed rails, can cause people — especially those with cognitive impairment — to want to get beyond the barriers, putting themselves at risk of falling in the process.

However, many family members insist their loved ones have restraints. This is where team members like Kumagai play an important role educating families about the dangers of restraints. Often, family members change their minds about having their loved ones’ wheelchairs or beds equipped with such devices once they learn about the risks they pose.

Scrutiny has also played a strong part in reducing falls at Country Terrace, says Kumagai. Staff members are made aware of residents who are at high risk of falling and these residents are closely watched and preventative measures, such as removing nearby clutter, are taken.

“We also look at patterns,” Kumagai tells the OMNIway. “For instance, in the evening, people may have more falls, so we will look at ways to protect them more.”

Kumagai conducts quarterly assessments on residents to examine their falls history, medications and safety devices.

Falls prevention is a major area of focus for Canadian long-term care homes. Falls pose serious health risks to seniors, and Health Canada estimates falls cost the Canadian health-care system more than $2 billion annually.

Teamwork has also played a crucial role in reducing falls at Country Terrace, Kumagai says. Front-line staff and the physiotherapy team meet monthly to discuss falls that have occurred and to develop interventions to prevent reoccurrence.

“We work well together as a team,” the RPN says.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If OMNI can do it, Canada can do it

Springdale

Springdale administrator discusses importance of creating national dementia strategy
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When asked if Canada could have a national dementia strategy, Maureen King cites the province’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) initiative as evidence that widespread protocols and practices can work effectively.

King, the administrator at Springdale Country Manor, notes how OMNI Health Care has adopted many ideas and processes outlined in BSO, a $40-million provincial initiative designed to enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation.

The result has been reduced agitation and happier residents living in OMNI long-term care homes.

“Think of all the residents we have with Alzheimer’s — that’s a lot of lives we’re touching,” King tells the OMNIway. “Now imagine if the country had such a strategy, because just what (OMNI) has been able to do has been phenomenal and is changing lives of residents with Alzheimer’s who have responsive behaviours in our homes every single day.

“(BSO) has become a part of who we are and how we operate and how you can expect to be cared for if you come into an OMNI home. . . . OMNI is an organization that has taken itself to task and said, ‘We are going to be leaders.’ ”

So, if OMNI can enact a strategy like BSO, why can’t Canada create and implement a national dementia strategy, King says, noting Canada is the only G8 country without a strategy.

The lack of a national dementia strategy in Canada received significant media attention in December during a G8 conference in London, England focused on dementia.

With the populations of G8 nations — Canada, Britain, the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan — aging at a fast pace there’s more need now than ever to find a cure, attending health ministers concluded. The ministers vowed to invest resources to find a cure for dementia by 2025.

Until a cure is found, however, a national strategy is needed for Canada, King says. And creating one can start with bringing experts together to discuss what works best and how to implement procedures.

“If we can say, ‘Here’s how OMNI cares for residents with responsive behaviours,’ why can’t you take the same philosophies and principles and say, ‘This is how our country cares for people who have dementia,’ ” King says.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Osteoarthritis expert offers advice to enhance quality of life

Woodland Villa resident Wally Taillon and life enrichment aide Brenda McLaren are seen here in 2011 during a visit to the Cornwall Aquatic Centre. Residents are seeing benefits from the home's aqua-therapy program. (OMNIway archives)

Woodland Villa resident Wally Taillon and life enrichment aide Brenda McLaren are seen here in 2011 during a visit to the Cornwall Aquatic Centre. Residents are seeing benefits from the home’s aqua-therapy program. (OMNIway archives)

Physical activity, not medications, the key to controlling and preventing joint disease

Thursday, January 8, 2014 -- Deron Hamel

A leading researcher who has been studying osteoarthritis for 25 years says physical activity is the No. 1 thing people can do to prevent the degenerative joint disease as well as the best way to treat it.

In an interview with the OMNIway, Dr. Gillian Hawker, chief of medicine at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, notes that people with osteoarthritis, which is common in long-term care home residents, are often prone to depression, anxiety and other mood and physical disorders.

In fact, about one quarter of people who have osteoarthritis have symptoms compatible with depression, Hawker says.

Given the negative impact osteoarthritis can have on elderly people, caregivers need to be aware that physical activity, not medications, is the key to improving quality of life for those with the disease.

“Research shows that the primary approach is not drug-related; it’s a self-management approach,” Hawker tells the OMNIway. “Physical activity, in particular, is extremely effective at improving function, reducing pain and improving mood.”

Hawker suggests that caregivers get people mobile to stave off or prevent osteoarthritis. Simple walking can be an excellent way to stay mobile — and that includes walking with a cane or walker.

For those who are immobile, Hawker suggests a warm pool of water.

“Warm pools are good because the heat is soothing and the buoyancy of water removes the stress of weight-bearing,” she says. “If someone has been really physically inactive for a long time, getting them into a pool is a great way to get them started in physical activity.”

Hawker says walking and pool therapy can show better results in relieving pain than medications, which can have negative side effects, especially in an older population.

“In fact, physical activity, put head to head with Tylenol and anti-inflammatory drugs, et cetera, does just as well if not better in clinical trials,” she says.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or email deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Holiday season in full swing at Maplewood

Brighton long-term care home involved with a variety of resident-focused events

Thursday, December 19, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Maplewood’s holiday season began the first week of December with the Brighton long-term care home’s annual Christmas party with 8 Wing Trenton and the local Royal Canadian Legion branch, and the momentum has been ongoing since.

For the eighth consecutive year, Maplewood, 8 Wing Trenton and Royal Canadian Legion, Brighton Branch 100, joined together to celebrate the holidays Dec. 5. There was food, live music and a Santa handing out presents, making the occasion “one of the most amazing afternoons experienced all year here at Maplewood,” says Maplewood life enrichment co-ordinator Rachel Corkery.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus and the Bernard Sisters pose for a photo during Maplewood's recent family Christmas party.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus and the Bernard Sisters pose for a photo during Maplewood’s recent family Christmas party.

Last weekend, Maplewood staff members celebrated the spirit of the season with residents and their families at the home’s annual family Christmas party. Musical entertainers Adrienne and Sharlene Bernard, better known as the Bernard Sisters, were special guests at the party, bringing their much-loved humour and talent to residents and their families.

“Even Santa and Mrs. Claus stopped in for a quick visit before heading back to the North Pole,” Corkery notes, adding that since Santa was on hand, families and residents had their photos taken with him.

And the festivities don’t stop there.

This weekend will see a new idea brought to Maplewood’s Christmas season — a children’s Christmas party. The party will include a resident and his wife playing Santa and Mrs. Claus — something the couple has been doing for many years.

Andy Forgie, a regular entertainer at Maplewood, will be singing and playing guitar at the event, and each child will get a present from Santa, made possible by the home’s residents’ council.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or email deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Riverview Manor helps community with toy drive

Peterborough home collects two boxes of toys

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Riverview Manor has been demonstrating the Christmas spirit this holiday season through its involvement with a Peterborough radio station’s annual toy drive to benefit children in low-income families.

This year the home’s staff members and families donated enough toys to fill two medium-sized boxes with stuffed animals and other Christmas favourites for the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas appeal.

Local radio station Country 105 FM/Energy 99.7 FM spearheads a toy drive for the charity called the Magic Broadcast. The City of Peterborough also helps out by donating a bus with a volunteer driver to stop at various drop-off points in Peterborough to collect toys for the Salvation Army.

Staff members from Peterborough’s Country 105 FM/Energy 99.7 FM are seen here picking up toys during the Miracle Broadcast Dec. 14.

Staff members from Peterborough’s Country 105 FM/Energy 99.7 FM are seen here picking up toys during the Miracle Broadcast Dec. 14.

As part of the Miracle Broadcast, collected toys are brought to Lansdowne Place shopping centre.

As with previous years, Riverview Manor was a drop-off point this holiday season, and on Saturday the Miracle Broadcast bus swung by the home to fetch the donated toys.

Riverview Manor personal support worker (PSW) Virginia Gall, whose husband, George Gall, is news director at Country 105, was involved with the Riverview Manor toy drive.

Virginia decorated the donation boxes and got posters from the radio station advertising the event at the home.

Based on the success of the drive’s repeated success throughout the years, Virginia says the event will likely continue to be a fixture at Riverview Manor in the future.

“I think everybody really enjoys donating to such a great cause,” the PSW tells the OMNIway.

In addition to the toy drive, Riverview Manor is hosting a food drive for the Peterborough Food Bank this holiday season. To date, two bins have been filled with non-perishable food.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or email deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.