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Frost Manor looking ahead to maintain programing and visitation during colder months

Team members will ‘try to keep things as normal as possible’ while adhering to safety guidelines

With the start of winter less than a month away, Frost Manor team members have been looking at ways to maintain programming and visitation for residents during the colder months while adhering to important safety measures as the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lyndsay Burton, the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator, says she and her team will “try to keep things as normal as possible” for residents in the coming months.

“We are still running programs with the usual social distancing (and with) the usual cleaning and sanitizing, so that does help that the residents can have some sense of normality going into the winter season,” she says.

Naturally, residents have been missing the in-house entertainment that’s normally a cornerstone of programing at Frost Manor.

Instead, Lyndsay says the team has been focusing on providing residents with Montessori-style activities, which she says have been especially fruitful for residents who normally don’t participate in programming.

Montessori activities include programs that tap into people’s strengths, such as colouring or sorting items.

“We have been focusing on that because a lot of our low-active residents did enjoy coming to music programs, so we want to make sure that their needs are still being met,” Lyndsay says.

Because visitation will continue to be important for residents and their families, especially during the holiday season, Frost Manor is working to create a new window-visiting location to provide families with some cover from the wind and the other elements, she adds.

Due to the uncertainty and changing rules surrounding visitation during the pandemic, the Frost Manor team is trying to stay ahead of the curve by always having window visits as an option for residents to connect with their loved ones, Lyndsay says.

“We want to still be able to offer window visits and still have the (outdoor visits) as well, so a lot of the visits are really working off of the guidelines created by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care,” she says.

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Riverview front-line team receiving care packages as thanks for work during pandemic

MaryEllen Hearns has been distributing gifts to Riverview Manor and other Peterborough LTC homes to show her support and gratitude

Riverview Manor front-line team members have been on the receiving end of some community kindness recently.

Peterborough resident MaryEllen Hearns has been putting together care packages for front-line staff members at Riverview Manor and other long-term care homes in the area to show support for the work they’re doing to keep residents safe during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

MaryEllen collects donations to create the care packages and puts the name of sponsors on each bag that gets dropped off at long-term care homes, explains Riverview Manor registered practical nurse Becky Dennie.

Inside the care packages are items that include popcorn, protein bars, bottles of premium water, energy drinks, vitamin C tablets, lotion and gift cards.

Inspired by a friend in northern Ontario who was putting together care packages for long-term care homes, MaryEllen called Riverview Manor in August and offered to put together care packages to bring to front-line staff members.

MaryEllen has been distributing care packages throughout the Peterborough area. At the time of this writing, she has distributed 56 care packages to Riverview Manor, and the home will be getting up to 90, Becky says.

As the care packages get dropped off at Riverview Manor, Becky distributes them to front-line staff members, starting with the personal support workers (PSWs).

“We are almost done distributing the care packages to the PSWs, so then I will start giving them out to the registered staff,” Becky says.

Becky says staff members have been overjoyed with the care packages and appreciative of what MaryEllen is doing.

“They think the care packages have been great – they really like the gifts that have been inside the packages,” she says.

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Springdale honours veterans with Remembrance Day programs

Although it was a smaller event this year due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Springdale Country Manor still honoured Remembrance Day on Nov. 11 with several activities throughout the day.

The day’s events included a two-minute moment of silence and a video program about Canada’s military history and Canadian veterans was played for residents throughout the day, says the Peterborough County long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney.

“We did our moment of silence, and in the afternoon one of the LEAs (life enrichment aides) brought a small group of residents together to do a service and to have singalongs,” she adds.

Sonia also read a poem and the Legion prayer over the intercom.

While there is only a few veterans living at Springdale Country Manor, the resident veterans received some extra attention, Sonia says.

“One resident veteran had a visit from her daughters, and for the other veterans we made sure they got some extra TLC,” she says.

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The Riverview Manor trees that keep on giving

Vinyl adhesive trees at the home have been used successfully by the BSO team to engage residents with cognitive impairment in meaningful activities

The Riverview Manor Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team has been using life-like vinyl adhesive trees to engage residents living with cognitive impairment in meaningful activities.

Riverview Manor bought the trees last year and recently put one up on a wall on each end of the Peterborough long-term care home for residents to decorate, explains registered practical nurse and BSO team lead Becky Dennie.

Residents and BSO team members have been spending time at the trees decorating them with paper leaves to match the seasons.

Currently, the trees have autumn leaves. When winter arrives, the trees will have winter items on them, Becky says.

The BSO team can take a couple of residents to the trees at a time and change the leaves to match the season as an activity, she adds.

Riverview Manor’s life enrichment department has also been using the trees to create resident programming, says life enrichment aide (LEA) Adam Wicklum.

During the Thanksgiving Weekend, LEA Taylor Ioannou accompanied residents from each side of the home to a tree and asked them to describe the things they were thankful for, Adam says.

Taylor wrote down residents’ words and placed them on colourful paper leaves with their initials.

The BSO team is also working with residents to decorate the trees during special holidays. For Halloween, there were pumpkins underneath the trees. Poppies were placed there for Remembrance Day. There will be a Christmas theme in December.

Most importantly, residents are enjoying their activities at the trees.

“The residents love the trees,” Becky says.

BSO is a provincial initiative that’s enhancing quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that can cause agitation. The funding, which is provided to long-term care homes through Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks, is largely put towards staff education.

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Autumn-themed craft helps keep spirits high at Kentwood Park

Residents recently created colourful tree paintings which are now on display for all to enjoy

Kentwood Park life enrichment aide (LEA) Brandy Courtney recently created a safe, autumn-themed craft to help support residents of the Picton, Ont. long-term care home during the COVID-19 pandemic and to celebrate the changing of seasons.

Residents were provided with a paper template drawing of a tree with leafless branches. The goal of the activity was for residents to paint fall leaf colours – yellow, orange, red and brown – on the trees.

A small group of residents was provided with paint and a special tool to dab colours on the trees: broccoli.

Dabbing pieces of the vegetable into the paint to stamp on the tree branches created a realistic pattern of vibrant autumn colours, Brandy says.

“Making these colourful fall trees with the residents and using a healthy snack to do it, well, you can’t get any better than that,” she tells The OMNIway.

Brandy explains her inspiration for creating the activity for residents.

“I saw this craft online and automatically thought of my residents at Kentwood Park, and how much fun this would be to do together,” she says.

The trees have been placed on Kentwood Park’s large activity board for all residents and staff members to enjoy, Brandy says.

Brandy adds that activities like this are important to residents during the pandemic.

“It’s important to do the very best we can to keep all residents’ spirits high during this difficult time,” she says. “The residents and I had a blast making these trees, and we look forward to other pandemic-friendly crafts that I will come up with next.”

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Maplewood residents judge spooky Halloween trunk contest

Maplewood residents went “trunk-or-treating” recently.

The Brighton, Ont. long-term care home’s life enrichment team came up with a creative way to engage residents in a fun activity just before Halloween.

Staff members were encouraged to decorate the trunks of their cars with a Halloween motif. The designs were presented on Oct. 29 for residents to judge in a contest to decide their favourite design.

The staff members’ vehicles were parked on the home’s front lawn and residents were invited to the patio after lunch for a viewing and some Halloween sweets, explains Maplewood life enrichment aide Rosanne Blackburn.

There were six designs for residents to choose from, including one resident’s bicycle which had been decorated with a Halloween witch in the seat.

Cook Jackie Jeffery won first place in the contest for her design which featured a graveyard flanked by two ghoulish spectres.

The contest was also an opportunity for Maplewood residents to participate in a safe activity that also captured the Halloween spirit, Rosanne says.

“The residents really enjoyed (the contest),” she says.

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New OMNI website feature helps families book visits with residents

Families are praising the application for being easy to use; staff members say it’s saving them time

A new application on the OMNIway website that helps family members schedule visits with their loved ones living in OMNI Health Care long-term care homes is receiving praise from those who have used the feature and from staff members, home managers say.

Family members have been pleased with how quick and easy it is to book a visit with their loved ones, while staff members have been complimenting the application for the time it has been saving them which can be spent on resident care.

Families can visit the booking page, select the home they wish to visit and choose the type of visit they want – indoor, outdoor or virtual.

The application self-organizes and ensures double bookings don’t happen for those homes that do not have the capacity for multiple visits at a time.

For example, if one family member reserves a 2 p.m. spot for a visit on a particular day, the 2 p.m. block is then immediately removed for that day. Some homes can accommodate more than one visit at a time, and those homes have the ability to set up more than one booking for a particular time slot.

When appointments are booked through the application, home administrators receive an e-mail notifying them.

Each day’s bookings can then be printed and distributed to the staff members who organize the visits as well as to the team member who is screening at the front door of homes.

“It’s very user friendly … and it’s a great program, in my opinion,” April Faux, the administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) at Burnbrae Gardens, says of the application.

“There is minimal room for error, we’ve never had anyone double book, and it gives families lots of options for visits.”

Sonia Murney, the LEC at Springdale Country Manor, says in addition to simplifying bookings for family members, the website feature also reduces the workload for staff members.

Because the application does all the work, staff can focus more on resident care.

“I think this is going to be a huge time saver,” she says.

At the time of this writing, 10 OMNI long-term care homes are using the application and more may be added in the future. Family members of residents of homes using the system are still welcome to phone to arrange visits, if they prefer.

Family members wishing to book a visit online can click here to learn more.

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CEO gives OMNI homes a top grade for COVID-19 response

‘It has really been about dedicated staff going over and above,’ says Patrick McCarthy

Asked how he would grade team members at OMNI Health Care’s 18 long-term care homes for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization’s president and CEO Patrick McCarthy doesn’t hesitate in his response.

“A-plus is considered the top mark, but we need to put another plus beside it” to truly recognize the contribution of staff members, McCarthy tells The OMNIway.

The global COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March by the World Health Organization. OMNI homes immediately put strict ministry protocols into effect, and OMNI’s pandemic plan was followed to the letter.

Knowledge of the virus, its transmission and impact has grown over time, and protocols, directives and guidelines have continuously evolved to reflect that knowledge.

The expanded availability of public health resources for testing and tracing has also had a significant effect on the ability to contain the spread.

While a major COVID-19 outbreak did occur in late March at one OMNI home, Almonte Country Haven, McCarthy says staff members at the home went above and beyond to care for residents in the face of the highly contagious virus.

“They were heroic in the contributions they made and their personal sacrifices; they showed tremendous passion and caring for their residents and each other,” he says.

Limited outbreaks among staff or residents have occurred at several other homes, and staff showed equal dedication and caring, McCarthy adds.

Aside from adhering to safety protocols and strong staff diligence, McCarthy says OMNI homes have also focused on communication with staff during the pandemic.

For example, daily team huddles for staff members to talk about issues and share information with each other on everything from residents’ well-being to the availability and use of personal protective equipment to the latest information about the COVID-19 virus has been vital.

But more than anything, McCarthy says OMNI staff members’ resident-centred approach to care and dedication to their work has been the big story during the pandemic.

“It has really been about dedicated staff going over and above,” he says. “They made sure the residents were cared for and were kept safe in a very difficult situation.”

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Baking season returns to the Willows

Residents bake 5 apple pies for recent tea social

At Willows Estate, autumn is baking season, says life enrichment aide (LEA) Azaria Kanda.

“As the weather cools, the leaves turn yellow, red and fall, it’s the perfect time to bake all the good old homemade pies and cakes to warm our hearts,” he tells The OMNIway.

With LEA Rosalie Patchell supervising, a group of residents at the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home were recently busy preparing and baking five apple pies that were served during a tea social on Oct. 18.

Aside from the residents’ work resulting in delicious apple pies for everyone to enjoy, baking also brought back many fond memories for the residents, Azaria says.

“These ladies, along with Rosalie, were socializing while reminiscing about their own former baking hobbies, family gatherings and much more,” he says.

“It is such a delight to watch these ladies fully immersed in this activity, for we know how much this has a positive effect on people. You can feel the exhilaration and pure joy as one is in charged of peeling the apples, while one is working on the dough and the other is helping set up the trays in preparation for the baking.”

Azaria adds that activities like this also bring back a valuable sense of accomplishment for residents, who know the fruits of their labour were enjoyed by many.

“No matter how old you are or where you sit in life, you want to feel like you are making a contribution to society or even a small living circle,” he says.

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BSO interventions have enhanced quality of life for Riverview Manor residents during pandemic

Team members reflect on how they have helped residents through a challenging time

The global COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging to deal with for all people living in long-term care homes, but many residents who are also living with cognitive impairment have found the lack of family contact and physical restrictions the pandemic has brought to be especially challenging, say members of Riverview Manor’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team.

However, Karlie Phillips and Carly Kenny say the BSO team has applied interventions that have helped residents of the Peterborough long-term care home through this difficult time.

For example, one resident living with cognitive impairment who will sometimes wander was finding restrictions difficult to cope with during an isolation period, so BSO team members engaged her in activities she found interesting.

Of note, Karlie says the resident enjoys colouring and sorting activities, so team members would bring her colouring books and sorting games that would keep the resident busy and, most importantly, happy.

On those occasions when the resident wished to leave her room, Karlie says she would equip the resident with a mask and accompany her to the dining room where they could be alone.

Karlie would then provide one-to-one activities to safely give the resident the change of environment she needed.

Adapting to the resident’s needs worked well, Karlie says.

“The resident understood why (the restrictions were in place); we had to explain why things were different and why we have to wear masks, and eventually she would stay in her room,” Karlie explains.

Sometimes the resident would come to her doorway, but team members understood this was a cue the resident was looking for someone to spend time with, so team members would stay with the resident.

Carly notes that isolation can increase agitation for people living with dementia, but by using BSO interventions and working collaboratively with other staff members, the BSO team members can enhance quality of life for residents.

“We really want to make sure that we have interventions to make sure residents (maintain their quality of life) – it’s a process, but we’ve been successful,” she says.

BSO team lead Becky Dennie says BSO skills have been “very important” during the pandemic.

“It has been especially important to have the specially trained staff to work with people exhibiting behaviours because (the pandemic) does create new behaviours – loneliness being huge – and having those familiar faces popping in to see them throughout the day has helped,” she says.

BSO is a provincial initiative that’s enhancing quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that can cause agitation. The funding, which is provided to long-term care homes through the province’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks, is largely put towards staff education.

– More to come