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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.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

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Helen Sadio becomes Burnbrae Gardens’ new DOC

‘This is a chance to make a bit of a difference’

Helen Sadio started working at Burnbrae Gardens six years ago; today, she’s the Campbellford long-term care home’s new director of care (DOC).

Helen is taking over as DOC after Laurie Gibson retired from the position Nov. 10.

She started as DOC the week before Laurie retired, and while much of Helen’s work so far has been transitioning to her new position, she says she’s looking forward to taking on new challenges and responsibilities.

“This is a chance to make a bit of a difference,” she tells The OMNIway. “I’ve always tried to keep an upbeat attitude and get everybody laughing and smiling, so I will continue to do that while trying to make everyday life a little bit more exciting for everyone involved.”

Helen began working at Burnbrae Gardens in 2014 after moving to Canada from the UK, where she worked as a registered nurse for the National Health Service (NHS).

Helen initially worked as a personal support worker at Burnbrae Gardens while she waited for her RN qualifications from the UK to be certified by the College of Nurses of Ontario. She began working as an RN at Burnbrae in 2015.

Although she has only recently become Burnbrae Gardens’ DOC, Helen says she has a good feeling about things to come, adding her familiarity with residents and staff members has made the transition seamless.

“I’ve got a really positive vibe about it,” she says. “I’m familiar with all the residents and staff and how Burnbrae works, so I’ve got a good head start.”

As part of the company’s culture, OMNI Health Care long-term care homes often promote their staff members to management positions, rather than hiring from outside.

This, Helen says, demonstrates commitment to team members and shows that OMNI “values the staff.”

Helen has had lots of well-wishes and kind words from her colleagues since becoming DOC, but she has also been touched by the amount of support from residents she’s received.

“I have had a few other visitors to the door to say congratulations and that has been from the residents, and that’s been really cool,” she says.

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The fair must go on

After the Norwood Fall Fair was cancelled this year due to the pandemic, the Pleasant Meadow team created their own version of the resident-favourite annual event

Since the Norwood Fall Fair has been cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Pleasant Meadow Manor hosted its own version of the annual 152-year-old event on Oct. 13.

Participating in the Norwood Fall Fair has become an important part of the culture at Pleasant Meadow Manor for residents over the years, so the life enrichment team wanted to keep up the tradition, explains Kim Williams, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

“Back in April, when the news that the Norwood fair had been cancelled, I presented the life enrichment team with the idea of holding our own fair day; we decided this would be a fun idea,” she tells The OMNIway.

The Norwood Fall Fair – which started in 1868 and had not been cancelled since the Second World War – features a midway, rides, vendors, and baking and crafts contests.

Every September, the residents start making crafts and baking pies, cookies and pastries for the fair. Virtually every year residents come away with prizes for their crafts and baking entries.

For Pleasant Meadow Manor’s version of the fall fair, the life enrichment team set up the activity room with fun games, including a “milk-the-cow” contest and bobbing for doughnuts.

“This created a lot of laughter from both the residents and staff members,” Kim says, adding the walls were decorated with some animals that would be found at the fair.

There were baking contests for both residents and staff members. Staff member Jeanette Davis won first place in all categories and was named Pleasant Meadow Manor’s Baker of the Year.

Staff served lemonade and baked goods made by the residents for treats, and there was even a candy floss machine.

“The residents said it really smelt like a fair,” Kim says.

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Self-directed art program at Kentwood Park also has therapeutic benefits

A self-directed art program at Kentwood Park has proven to be an ideal program for residents to be creative, expressive and to have a fulfilling activity in a safe environment.

Many of the Picton, Ont. long-term care home’s residents participate in the program, which encourages them to paint or draw whatever comes to mind.

The program has been especially popular since the global COVID-19 pandemic began in March because it’s an activity residents can do independently in their rooms.

Residents are set up with everything they need to be creative: paper, paint, brushes, pens and pencils, explains life enrichment co-ordinator and environmental services manager Lisa Mills.

“Whatever they make is a big surprise for us in the end,” she tells The OMNIway. “We never know what they’re going to paint.”

One of the key benefits of this program is that the paintings or drawings residents create can be a window into how they’re feeling, Lisa says.

“It’s an expressive thing for them; whatever their emotion is for the day is what you will see (in their art),” she says. “If they’re happy, it will be a happy picture, if they’re not happy that will come through.”

Lisa says if a resident paints a picture that’s sad in nature, staff members will talk with the resident about how they’re feeling, so there’s a strong therapeutic value to the program, she says.

“It’s a very emotional program for them,” she says.

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Springdale residents treated to their first live entertainment since March

Performer Trevor Baker played country music for residents from outside the dining room window Oct. 5

SPRINGVILLE, Ont. – Springdale Country Manor residents were treated to their first live music entertainment since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, and they couldn’t have been happier.

While outside entertainers are still restricted from performing inside Ontario long-term care homes due to safety restrictions in place, Trevor Baker was able to perform country music during the lunch hour on Oct. 5 from outside in the courtyard while residents watched through the dining room window.

He performed for residents during both mealtime sittings.

During Trevor’s performance, Sonia Murney, the Peterborough County long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator, came outside to tell The OMNIway what was happening inside.

“When he first started playing, one resident wheeled herself right over to the window to listen because it has been months since residents have had live entertainment,” she said.

Sonia said since the pandemic began staff members have sung for residents and there have been karaoke programs, but it’s not the same as having professional entertainers come to play.

“The residents are really loving the music; it has been really nice for them. Some residents are even asking if he takes requests,” she said. “We’ve had requests for songs by George Strait and Travis Tritt.”

Given the success of Trevor’s outdoor performance, Springdale is hoping to provide dinnertime entertainment from the courtyard at some point, Sonia said.

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Province needs to address LTC staffing issues to better face second COVID wave

The need for more staff ‘is a big issue that’s affecting health-care providers across the country, and it’s seriously affecting long-term care homes,’ says OMNI CEO Patrick McCarthy

With health experts predicting a second wave of COVID-19 spread to begin within the coming months, the Ontario government needs to address staffing issues in the long-term care sector to help homes better prevent and manage infection, says OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy.

Given that long-term-care home residents are among the most vulnerable population groups, it’s crucial that additional funding be earmarked to address staffing levels of front-line workers and provide staff training, both of which will be key to preparing for the second infection wave, he adds.

“(Staffing) is a big issue that’s affecting health-care providers across the country, and it’s seriously affecting long-term care homes,” McCarthy says in an interview with The OMNIway.

While long-term-care home staff members have worked tirelessly to keep residents safe from the highly contagious virus, the first wave of COVID-19 impacted homes across Ontario and Canada.

Long-term care homes having access to more front-line staff members will improve residents’ safety, McCarthy says.

All long-term care homes in Ontario receive funding specifically earmarked to provide nursing, personal care, programs and support services with no element of profit or surplus retained from the provision of those health services. As a result, funding for additional care staff needs to come from the province.

Private long-term care providers across Ontario have asked the Ford government to increase the supply of personal support workers (PSWs) by supporting innovative training programs, including on-the-job training and remote training.

McCarthy adds that the COVID-19 pandemic affects long-term-care home staff members beyond their work inside the homes.

For example, there may be instances where people cannot come to work due to outbreaks in the community or in schools, and there needs to be staffing levels to in place to ensure there’s always a ready supply of front-line care workers.

“It’s all a package that affects the availability of staff and the homes’ ability to staff during the pandemic,” he says.

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LEC reflects on putting together a strong team amid pandemic

‘It has been an interesting roller coaster, but we seem to make it work’

Taking on a new managerial role in a long-term care home usually means taking on new challenges, and taking on a managerial role during a pandemic can multiply those challenges.

Fortunately, Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Laurie Kracht says she has a dedicated life enrichment team at the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home and that has helped the process run smoothly.

Laurie started working part-time at Streamway Villa in January and became the home’s LEC in July.

Aside from the usual training for her and her team, there were new rules and protocols in place due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“Getting everything together was difficult during that time, but we made it work,” Laurie tells The OMNIway.

“When I first started (as LEC), I needed to put together a team, so … having everyone fit together as a team was really amazing.”

Three life enrichment aides – Taylor Stacey, Devyn Sheppard and Kiana Gammage – were recent hires and students. While Kiana gave up her position to dedicate herself to her studies when the school year began, Taylor and Devyn have stayed on to work weekends.

Full-time life enrichment aide Lynette Sandercock has recently returned to Streamway Villa after taking a temporary leave.

What made things work was strong consistency through training, Laurie says. Having that consistency is important for a life enrichment team to thrive, she adds.

“You create consistency through training, you have processes and procedures in place for training and getting people on board – but during COVID-19 it’s all over the board and every day is a new day, but we did it as a team and I’m very pleased that I am keeping (Devyn and Taylor),” Laurie says.

“It has been an interesting roller coaster, but we seem to make it work, and I think we’ve kept the positivity and that was my goal.”

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Resident fortune teller gives Frost Manor carnival an added boost of fun and laughter

Heather Marshall was a ‘natural’ at playing the part during the home’s carnival-themed month, say staff

One of the key factors that made Frost Manor’s carnival-themed month in August so successful was the high degree of resident involvement, and resident Heather Marshall filling in as a fortune teller was a memorable part of the event, says Frost Manor life enrichment co-ordinator Lyndsay Burton.

The idea to have a fortune teller during the carnival came from residents’ council president Diane Hickman who was initially going to play the part.

However, Diane couldn’t be the fortune teller on the designated day, so Heather, who serves as the council’s treasurer, filled in and did a stellar job, Lyndsay says.

Working with life enrichment aide Amy Whitehead, Heather read Tarot cards and looked into a crystal ball to tell residents and staff members what the future had in store for them.

“Amy said that Heather was a ‘natural’ in the role and really embraced the spirit of fun and laughter to put on a fun resident-led program for her fellow residents,” Lyndsay tells The OMNIway.

“Amy noted there was lots of laughs and intrigue, as some of the fortunes told were hilariously accurate. We were so happy that Heather took on the role and had so much fun doing it.”

In February, Heather was crowned Miss Frost Manor during a pageant the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home hosted.

Lyndsay says Heather has done a great job fulfilling her duties as the home’s pageant queen.

“She really truly embraces the spirit of leadership and friendship that embodies the role as Miss Frost Manor,” Lyndsay says.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

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Recent barbecue brings a welcome change at Kentwood Park

‘It was just a fabulous day all the way around’

Kentwood Park residents were treated to a backyard barbecue at the Picton, Ont. long-term care home in August, their first group event since March, and they couldn’t have been happier with the day, says Lisa Mills.

Lisa, Kentwood Park’s life enrichment co-ordinator and environmental services manager, says the outdoor event, which included entertainment from a husband-and-wife duo who performed outside the gates in the yard, attracted 39 of Kentwood Park’s 45 residents.

This included some residents who normally don’t attend programming, so this large number attests to the value the barbecue delivered, she adds.

“It was ecstatic for them because they hadn’t done anything like that in so long; they really enjoyed it,” Lisa says of the barbecue.

“Just getting outside to see something outside of the home was important for them.”

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, indoor large-group programming and entertainment have been on hold at Ontario long-term care homes since March, so residents have been missing social gatherings.

While indoor visits with family members with safety protocols in effect have been permitted by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care since June, some residents don’t have families, so for these residents the barbecue was especially meaningful, Lisa says.

“It was an eye-opening for them all,” she says. “It was just a fabulous day all the way around.”

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Forest Hill’s patio is getting lots of good use

Residents have been enjoying safe outdoor activities, entertainment and family visits

With restrictions in place on indoor group programming and visitation due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Forest Hill has been making the most of its patio area to keep safe activities and socialization a part of everyday life at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home.

When possible, life enrichment team members have been hosting programs, limited to 10 or fewer residents, on the patio (social distancing practices are always in place). Activities like trivia have been especially popular outdoors, says life enrichment co-ordinator Craig Forrest.

“We’re definitely trying to take advantage of (the outdoors) as much as we can,” Craig says. “We will also take residents outside on a one-to-one basis to the patio as well.”

There has also been outdoor entertainment at Forest Hill in recent weeks, with musical acts performing from a safe distance and residents seated apart. Because of the smaller audiences when entertainers perform, residents attend performances on a rotating basis.

In fact, Craig says there has been an added benefit to playing shows outside: better acoustics.

“We have always had lots of entertainment here, but it’s almost a different feeling outdoors – it almost sounds like a concert in a way,” he says.

“The residents have really enjoyed the outdoor entertainment because it almost feels like a festival.”

Because this summer has been warmer and sunnier than most, staff members have been stepping up hydration by ensuring residents always have cold drinks when they need them and, of course, providing sunscreen and hats to protect everyone from the rays.

Patio visits between residents and their loved ones have also spiked in recent weeks, Craig says. Forest Hill is offering these visits from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week.

Family members who visit residents at the home’s patio are screened first.

“(Patio) visits have absolutely gone through the roof in popularity,” Craig says.

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