Streamway toasts volunteers for making a difference

Streamway Villa residents Fred and Joan Hawes are seen here enjoying the home's recent volunteer barbecue.

Streamway Villa residents Fred and Joan Hawes are seen here enjoying the home’s recent volunteer barbecue.

Annual BBQ brings together all those who enrich residents’ lives

October 17, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Streamway Villa recently hosted a volunteer barbecue to say thank you to the many people who give their spare time to enhancing the lives of residents at the Cobourg long-term care home.

The barbecue has been a tradition at Streamway Villa for the past four years, and is always held in the autumn when there are fewer events and everyone has more time.

Hosted in Streamway Villa’s courtyard Sept. 28, the barbecue featured live entertainment for the first time. Food included sausages, hamburgers, salads and cake.

Residents and staff members made thank-you cards with a special inscription:

“We are very fortunate to have such amazing volunteers like you that come to our home to strive to bring hope, love and understanding to all of our residents in the form of musical entertainment, crafts, block walks, lending a helping hand on van outings/events or socializing one on one with our amazing residents,” the cards read. “Streamway Villa would not be the comfortable, fun and hopeful home it is without our volunteers.”

As a token of appreciation for their hard work and dedication to residents, staff members gave the volunteers soup mugs that read, “Volunteers are souper” on one side and on the other side, “Our team is ‘souper’ because volunteers like you go above and beyond in all that they do.”

Life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Verleysen notes that these words incorporate a core element of OMNI Health Care’s culture: going above and beyond to ensure the best quality of life for residents.

“All life enrichment staff were present to cater and engage with our volunteers as well as say a speech at the end of the day,” she says. “The sun was out, the food was amazing, the music was great and many laughs and stories were heard.”

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

Long-time staff acknowledged at Village Green celebration

A scene from Village Green's recent 35th anniversary celebration.

A scene from Village Green’s recent 35th anniversary celebration.

35th anniversary a time to reflect on people’s


October 16, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Village Green’s rural location, coupled with the home’s friendly staff members and OMNI Health Care’s corporate culture, has resulted in many people spending the bulk of their careers at the Greater Napanee long-term care home, says administrator Linda Pierce.

Pierce, who has herself worked at Village Green for 25 years, says staff members’ commitment was top of mind during the home’s Oct. 7 celebration commemorating its 35th anniversary. As part of the celebrations, several staff members received pins acknowledging their many years of employment at Village Green.

Commemorative pins were awarded to staff members to honour five, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service.

“There were a phenomenal amount of pins given out that day,” Pierce says.

The home, which is located in the small village of Selby, is also a centre point for employment in the community, Pierce says.

“It’s a nice home,” she says of Village Green. “It has a really nice culture, and the people here are in it for the long run and we have very devoted people who really stick to it and they’re hard-working; they have common values and common goals.

“And the (staff members) love what they’re doing, so they’ve stayed here,” the administrator adds.

While Village Green had a large party for its 30th anniversary in 2008, the home decided on a quieter celebration in 2013. The event was advertised locally, and residents, their families and staff members past and present attended.

At the party, a 35th anniversary cake was presented and Bill Dunn, a local entertainer, provided music. The home also combined Thanksgiving into the 35th anniversary events, with a turkey dinner provided to staff members on all shifts.

Keep reading the OMNIway for upcoming stories about Village Green’s long-time staff members.

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

Is coconut oil the answer to the Alzheimer’s question?


Thank you to for the photo enhancement.

A study is looking into the possibility of preventing, controlling cognitive impairment

October 15, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Coconut oil is the latest natural remedy researchers are giving serious consideration to in effort to prevent and control Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

While there’s yet to be published clinical evidence attributing coconut oil to preventing or treating Alzheimer’s disease, a five-year U.S. study examining the substance’s effects on 65 people with mild to moderate cognitive impairment is expected to be released next year.

There is also anecdotal evidence supporting coconut oil’s positive effect on people with cognitive impairment, including the husband of Dr. Mary Newport, the researcher leading the study.

Newport, a doctor who heads a neonatology ward in Tampa, Florida, began including four teaspoons of coconut oil into her husband’s diet each day.

Then she began noticing improvements in her husband’s condition.

“Before the coconut oil, he could not tie his shoes,” Newport said in an interview with CTV News, adding her husband also had gait issues.

“That improved. He walked normally and he was able to start running again. He was able to start reading again, his conversation improved dramatically and then over several months we saw improvements in his memory.”

Newport says before she started giving her husband coconut oil he was not responding to his medications.

Some experts believe the key to using coconut oil as a treatment for cognitive impairment might be molecules called ketones. Ketones are produced when fat is turned into energy.

An estimated 500,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. Cognitive impairment also affects the majority of long-term care home residents.

While the Alzheimer Society of Canada underscores that there is yet to be conclusive evidence pointing to the impact of coconut oil on people with cognitive impairment, studies like this are important to finding a cure.

“(T)he interest in coconut oil reinforces the value we place on research,” the society’s website says. “It’s our best hope of finding effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and improving the quality of life and care for those affected.”

If you would like to comment on this issue, please e-mail deron(at), or call 800-294-0051, ext. 23.

See for related stories

BSO continues to demonstrate value

A glimpse at what’s working well

October 11, 2013 — Deron Hamel

The Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) program, the provincial initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation, is proving to be one of the most fruitful interventions the sector has seen recently.

OMNI Health Care homes have certainly seen the benefit of this program, which is funded to long-term care homes through Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks. Funding is largely put towards staff education.

There has been $55 million in provincial funding provided for BSO during the past two fiscal years.

In a Sept. 16 OMNIway article, registered practical nurse Allison Fairweather, Country Terrace’s BSO lead, commended the program for helping the Komoka long-term care home reduce its rate of responsive behaviours by half since the home began using methods derived from training made possible through the funding.

The home’s care team also sees the program’s value.

“They have to see it to believe it, but once they do, they’re hooked,” she says, adding it is rewarding to see her colleagues climb on board the BSO ship. “I find what helps the most is having someone show you exactly how it is done,” she adds.

This is just the latest BSO success story at OMNI; other OMNI homes have also seen benefits from the program.

In 2012, Riverview Manor in Peterborough reported a 35.5 per cent decrease in responsive behaviours, with a 34.4 per cent decline in PRN medication administration since it launched the program.

Pharmaceuticals considered PRN medications include psychotropic and anti-anxiety medications as well as sedatives.

At Forest Hill in Kanata, intentional decisions to reduce the use of restraints to keep residents safe resulted not only in fewer falls, but also in reduced agitation and anxiety. If this emotion starts to creep up again, they may have to look into increasing the anxiety medication or look into other natural alternatives like the best CBD oils on offer, as these are said to help ease anxiety and many other ailments.

At Streamway Villa in Cobourg, use of Montessori activities with residents who have dementia helped reduce as-needed use of psychotropic drugs from 63 per month to one.

The OMNIway will continue to share success stories from the BSO initiative.

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

– With files from Jeanne Pengelly