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Visiting people with dementia doesn’t have to be awkward, says author

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Rachel Johnstone provides ideas to enrich visits

Thursday, August 7, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Many people find it challenging and awkward to spend time with a loved one who has cognitive impairment, but it doesn’t have to be this way, says dementia expert Rachel Johnstone.

The U.K.-based Johnstone, who authored a new book called Dementia and the Family, says family members of people with dementia are often feeling guilty about not doing enough during visits to long-term care homes. As a result, visits often become fewer and far between and the person with dementia is then at risk of experiencing feelings of increased isolation.

Johnstone says people need to understand that although those living with dementia may forget what happened during a visit, the positive emotion connected to the event remains.

So what can family members and friends of people with dementia do to make visits less awkward and more enjoyable?

For starters, Johnstone urges people to maximize resources they already have. Her book lists more than 160 different activities such as playing music, dancing and sensory stimulation — especially activities that engage one’s sense of smell.

“Using smells as a basis for activity — such as baking cookies and brewing coffee, oiling a cricket bat with linseed oil, visiting a cobblers shop and even taking part in a smelling guessing game, called Loto des Odeurs — is something I talk about in the book,” Johnstone says in a recent interview with Carehome.co.uk.

“Activities allow the person behind the dementia to shine through, create real moments of togetherness and provide opportunities for your loved one to do the things they enjoy doing.”

Dementia is not the sum total of a person, Johnstone says. What’s crucial is for the family and friends of a person with dementia to break down the barriers of dementia through engaging activities to help get at the true essence of the person and their character.

“For me, there is no greater pleasure than getting to know a person who has truly lived their life — and dementia shouldn’t stand in the way of this,” she tells Carehome.co.uk.

Click here for more information on Johnstone, her book and links about dementia.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Volunteer attests to the difference donating time makes

Garden Terrace

Although her mother is no longer a Garden Terrace resident, Donna Getz continues to give her time

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Donna Getz began volunteering at Garden Terrace when her mother was a resident at the Ottawa-area long-term care home. When her mother passed away in 2010, she continued to donate her time to residents because of the difference she says volunteering makes.

And Getz is not alone; there’s a group of other family members of former residents who has continued to volunteer.

Initially, Getz and the other volunteers began coming to Garden Terrace on Saturdays. Together, the family members would create activities such as crafts or reading programs for residents. What all the family members noticed, she says, is how happy this made residents.

What’s more, volunteering made the family members feel good, Getz says.

“You’re making them feel good and they in turn make you feel good,” she says tells the OMNIway, adding volunteers learn a lot from the residents in the process. “It’s almost like a history lesson in some ways, but it’s something very special. Some people don’t have anyone, and it’s good to let them know that someone cares.”

Another perk to volunteering at Garden Terrace is that the home has always been supportive of volunteers, empowering them to create their own programming, Getz says.

“They’ve always been very open for us to go in to do what we wanted to do with the people,” she says.

Getz says if she was approached by someone interested in volunteering in a long-term care home, her suggestion would be to pay a visit to Garden Terrace.

“I would invite them to come and join us for an evening just to see what we do and what a difference it makes in their lives and ours,” she says.

April 6-12 is National Volunteer Week. The week is dedicated to recognizing Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers for their dedication to their communities. Click here for more information.

Keep reading the OMNIway for more stories about Garden Terrace volunteers as well as volunteers from across the organization.

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.

Pleasant Meadow Manor gives kudos to volunteers

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Home hosts luncheon as part of National Volunteer Week

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 — Natalie Hamilton

From sharing the joy of music to maintaining long-standing friendships, volunteers are an integral part of the fabric at Pleasant Meadow Manor.

The 61-bed Norwood long-term care home is grateful for its crew of 25 volunteers and is hosting an April 8 luncheon in honour of the men and women who give generously.

Resident Jerry Farrow, president of the home’s residents’ council, will speak at the event.
“I will welcome them and thank them for volunteering,” Farrow tells the OMNIway.

“It’s very good of them to volunteer their time.”
 
April 6-12 is National Volunteer Week. The week is set aside to “recognize, celebrate and thank Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers.”

At Pleasant Meadow Manor, residents enjoy numerous benefits from having volunteers in the home, says life enrichment co-ordinator Chris Garden. Volunteers run bible studies, help residents with Bingo, visit one-on-one and pitch in with special events ranging from outings to the home’s bazaar.

“They can be there for the residents when the staff can’t be,” Garden says, noting residents outnumber employees.

She says the home appreciates having extra hands helping with activities and people with different skill-sets present. For instance, one volunteer plays the piano for residents.

“We have other volunteers who have known the residents for a really long time. It’s a small community and this is their way of staying connected to friends who are now residents and vice versa.”

During the luncheon, resident Jack Pryne, a former official volunteer at the home who still pitches in, is being celebrated with the rest of the volunteers.

Garden is weaving a meeting into the luncheon and taking the opportunity to update the volunteer handbook that is part of the new life enrichment manual from home office.

The home will treat volunteers to lasagna, Caesar salad, garlic bread, fruit and cake.

“It’s nice to recognize them and say thank you,” Garden says. “We do appreciate them and recognize they’re doing this out of the goodness of their hearts.”
 
If you have feedback on this article or a story idea to share, please e-mail Natalie@axiomnews.ca or call the newsroom at 800-294-0051.

Journalist gives tips on how LTC homes should react to crisis

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From adverse events come opportunities to generate positive stories

Friday, April 4, 2014 — Deron Hamel

TORONTO – Opportunities often stem from a crisis and this is true for the long-term care sector, says André Picard. In fact, the Globe and Mail health reporter and columnist says long-term care homes and operators can use a crisis to promote the positive things they’re doing to bolster public confidence in the sector.

Picard was one of four panelists sharing thoughts on building public confidence in the long-term care sector as part of an April 1 session at the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA)/Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) 2014 Together We Care convention and trade show.

Generally speaking, the media will latch on to a story and keep “poking away” at it, Picard says. He cites the Jan. 23 fire at the Résidence du Havre in L’Isle-Verte, Que., which claimed more than 30 lives, as an example. The oldest area of the building was not equipped with sprinklers and the media has thrown the spotlight on the need for mandatory sprinkler systems in all long-term care and retirement homes.

In Ontario, privately owned long-term care homes are mandated to be equipped with sprinkler systems in the next five years, while public homes have until 2025. Still, many long-term care homes have installed sprinkler systems. Picard says in the wake of the L’Isle-Verte incident, long-term care providers who have sprinklers could have contacted media and invited reporters to their buildings to showcase their fire-safety systems.

“There was a great opportunity there to tell the story of (how) ‘our home has had sprinklers for 35 years and here’s why,’ ” Picard says.

Another incident that drew a lot of negative media attention was the beating death of a 72-year-old resident at a Scarborough long-term care home by another resident in March 2013.

In this case, Picard says long-term care providers could have invited reporters to their homes to explain the staff training programs they have to prevent resident aggression. Homes should also encourage reporters to talk with family members to hear about their positive experiences.

“Those are stories that people want to hear, because when (reporters) do these (negative) stories they’re depressing and you do want to tell the other side of them,” he says. “The biggest opportunity is to feed off the news.”

The annual OLTCA/ORCA Together We Care convention and trade show, which ran March 31 to April 2, is Canada’s largest gathering of long-term care and retirement home professionals.

Keep reading the OMNIway for more stories about this panel discussion.

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.

Panel emphasizes value of strong community relations in LTC

Panelists are seen here discussing the issue of public confidence in long-term care during the OLTCA/ORCA Together We Care convention and trade show.

Panelists are seen here discussing the issue of public confidence in long-term care during the OLTCA/ORCA Together We Care convention and trade show.

These healthy relationships are crucial for public confidence

Thursday, April 3, 2014 — Deron Hamel

TORONTO – A panel of media and communications experts underscored the importance of long-term-care home providers having robust relationships with news organizations, the public and residents’ families, during the Ontario Long Term Care Association/Ontario Retirement Communities Association 2014 Together We Care convention and trade show.

Speaking during an April 1 segment, the panel, which was moderated by author and journalist Steve Paikin, emphasized that having healthy relationships with these parties is especially important for long-term care homes in the wake of an adverse event.

Strong, healthy relationships with communities and local media can have a positive impact on public confidence if an adverse event happens in a long-term care home, the panel agreed.

“I would bring people in whenever you can. Have community events. It provides discipline,” said Toronto-based communications and stakeholder relations expert Robert Waite. “If you’re doing that constantly, you’re going to be paying a lot of attention to the little things from the perspective of families, relatives and even the media.”

Health-care consultant Tom Closson agreed, adding that by inviting journalists into a long-term care home to show them how it operates demonstrates transparency and provides the media with a context of understanding the issues homes, staff members and residents face.

“If you help (the media) do their job, they’ll help you do your job,” Closson said.

Globe and Mail health reporter and columnist André Picard has engaged with long-term care homes as a journalist and a family member. Picard, whose parents both lived in long-term care homes, said his experience as a family member was positive. Speaking as a journalist, Picard said by showcasing the quality care they deliver, homes can build a strong reputation and trust with communities and media.

“If you take care of every single one of your clients, you don’t have to worry about your reputation; it’s going to be solid,” he said. “And if something does go wrong, it’s not going to be a big deal, because the context will be there (and) people will know your values are good, your business is good, and it won’t be a big issue.”

The annual OLTCA/ORCA Together We Care convention and trade show, which ran March 31 to April 2, is Canada’s largest gathering of long-term care and retirement home professionals.

Keep reading the OMNIway for more stories about this panel discussion.

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.

Willows Estate residents host Easter

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Seniors baking, attending church luncheon to mark holiday

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 — Natalie Hamilton

Willows Estate residents will be keeping family close this Easter by inviting them home.

The Aurora long-term care home is hosting an Easter Sunday tea.

In the coming weeks, residents and life enrichment staff will be going out of their way to make the holiday an occasion to remember.

“Most of our residents aren’t able to go out to their families’ homes,” says life enrichment co-ordinator Teddy Mazzuca.

“This is their home so it’s just like them inviting family members over.”

Life enrichment staff and residents, as part of the home’s ongoing baking program, will make Easter-themed sweets the day before the event and serve their desserts to loved ones. “It’s a nice afternoon,” Mazzuca says, noting she anticipates a good turnout from residents and families alike.

In addition to baking for the luncheon, residents will be getting their hands sticky by making hot cross buns to enjoy on Good Friday.

To mark the religious aspect of Easter, a group of eight to 10 residents are heading to the Anglican church in Aurora for a service and luncheon April 9.

Since members of the church visit the home on a monthly basis, residents have become acquainted and developed friendships with people from the congregation, Mazzuca notes. “We always get invited to the Easter service and luncheon at the church.”

If you have feedback on this article or a story idea to share, please e-mail Natalie@axiomnews.ca or call the newsroom at 800-294-0051.

Nurse-practitioner funding a win-win for LTC, hospitals

Lakeridge Health lead nurse practitioner Michelle Acorn discusses the changing roles of NPs at a March 6 conference.

Lakeridge Health lead nurse practitioner Michelle Acorn discusses the changing roles of NPs at a March 6 conference.

Province’s move will enhance quality care for residents while reducing strain on hospitals

Monday, March 24, 2014 — Deron Hamel

TORONTO – The province’s decision to fund 75 new, in-house nurse practitioners (NPs) in Ontario’s 630 long-term care homes will benefit both the senior-care and hospital sectors, say stakeholders.

The Ontario government announced March 3 it will be funding the NPs over the next three years to add to the staffing mix in the province’s long-term care sector. The first 15 NPs will be funded this year.

By having on-site NPs, more long-term-care home residents will be able to have their care needs met in their home, avoiding hospital transfers which can have a detrimental impact on their quality of life, says Michelle Acorn, NP lead at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa.

Acorn says NPs are well-suited to work in long-term care homes. NPs, as part of their training, learn about disease processes, disease prevention, how medications work and how to adjust to patients’ unique situations, such as heart, kidney and liver disease, she explains.

Treating people in homes also mitigates the risk of residents getting hospital-acquired infections, Acorn told the OMNIway, during a recent Ontario Hospital Association conference in Toronto.

“(NPs) are experienced registered nurses with additional education and they are a solution for many things,” Acorn says. “They know how to look after all ages and stages of health; they know how to look after seniors as well.”

Since 2010, NPs have been regularly visiting OMNI Health Care homes in the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) catchment area as part of the LHIN’s Nurse Practitioners Supporting Teams Averting Transfers (NPSTAT) program.

These homes include Pleasant Meadow Manor, Frost Manor, Springdale Country Manor, Streamway Villa and Burnbrae Gardens.

Pleasant Meadow Manor clinical care/RAI co-ordinator Susan Towns says many of the Norwood long-term care home’s residents have been able to avoid hospital transfers, thanks to having access to an NP.

Like Acorn, Towns says the province’s decision to fund NPs in long-term care homes spells good news for both the long-term care and acute-care sectors.

“I think it’s absolutely wonderful that they’re going to increase the number of nurse practitioners available to (long-term care homes),” she says. “(Nurse practitioners) have been an absolute asset to our home.”

Burnbrae Gardens administrator April Faux adds: “The main thing is (that more) residents will not have to go to hospital; they can stay in their own home for simple procedures.”

As part of the funding, long-term care homes that successfully apply for NP funding but are unable to recruit one will be able to access the province’s new Grow Your Own Nurse Practitioner in Long-Term Care program.

Once launched in 2015-16, this initiative will support homes in providing registered nurses with the education and training to become nurse practitioners.

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

NPs are a valuable educational resource for LTC staff

Burnbrae Gardens team members discuss how NPs are sharing knowledge

The value nurse practitioners (NPs) bring to long-term care homes has been discussed extensively by the OMNIway recently, but as Burnbrae Gardens team members point out these health-care professionals also bring valuable educational resources to homes. Read more

Chris Weber named OSNM Kawarthas representative

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Nutrition and food-services manager hoping to bring shared experiences to OMNI

Friday, March 14, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Chris Weber has a long track record of dedication to food-services management, and this focus has led to him being named the Ontario Society of Nutrition Management’s (OSNM’s) Kawarthas chapter representative.

The OSNM is an organization dedicated to promoting the profession of nutrition management through education and advocacy in Ontario. Weber, OMNI Health Care’s nutrition and food services manager, says he hopes to build a network of new colleagues within the food-services industry through his position.

Weber adds that being a player in the OSNM will introduce him to many others with key interests in nutritional management and health care.

“I’m also really excited to bring the shared experiences back to OMNI,” he says.

Weber has been connected to the OSNM in the past, having attended the organization’s events. When he saw there was a vacancy for a Kawarthas representative, Weber says it was a “perfect opportunity” to enhance his career as a nutritional manager and to further his interest in the field.

“I contacted (OSNM president) Matthew Bombardier (about taking the position) and he thought it was a great idea, so I gave him more information about myself and my background and he welcomed me in and appointed me as the Area E Kawarthas region chapter representative,” Weber explains.

In this role, Weber will reach out to other nutritional managers in the community to bolster OSNM membership.

“This is exciting for me because it’s my first time as a board member, and I’m really excited about making new friends within the industry,” he says.

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.

NP announcement ‘exciting,’ says Frost Manor nurse

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Nancy Lafete commends province for funding 75 in-house NPs over three years

March 12, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When long-term care residents need medical attention that cannot be provided by in-house nursing staff, they often need to be transferred to hospital. But when homes have access to a nurse practitioner (NP) this transfer is usually avoided — and the more transfers can be avoided the better, says Nancy Lafete.

Lafete, a charge nurse at Frost Manor, says the province’s March 3 announcement that 75 in-house NPs will be funded over the next three years is “exciting” news for Ontario long-term care homes. More NPs, she says, will help enhance quality of life for residents.

She has seen the strong value NPs bring to residents through Frost Manor’s involvement with the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) Nurse Practitioners Supporting Teams Averting Transfers (NPSTAT) program.

For about four years, the Lindsay long-term care home’s residents requiring medical treatment normally provided in hospital have had access to NP Sarah Reynolds through the initiative.

The result, says Lafete, has been that residents get to remain in their home for treatment.

“It’s really nice to have that support,” Lafete says. “The residents . . . stay comfortable here in their own surroundings; (the program) is working very well.”

NPs visit long-term care homes to provide on-site care for medical issues that front-line staff members are unable to treat. Some of their work includes writing prescriptions for antibiotics, administering IV therapies, doing post-fall assessments and performing G-tube reinsertions.

Michelle Acorn, the NP lead at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa, says the province’s announcement is good news for long-term care homes across Ontario.

She adds that NPs are a good fit for the long-term care sector.

“They know how to look after all ages and stages of health; they know how to look after seniors as well,” she says.

NPs are also focused on preventative care. When residents experience urinary tract infections, falls or wounds, NP’s will examine the causes and suggest measures that can be taken to prevent future occurrences, Acorn notes.

As part of the funding, long-term care homes that successfully apply but are unable to recruit an NP will be able to access the province’s new Grow Your Own Nurse Practitioner in Long-Term Care program.

Once launched in 2015-16, this initiative will support homes in providing registered nurses with the education and training to become NPs.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.