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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.

Study claims singing show tunes may stave off dementia symptoms

“Popular songs help enhance cognition, quality of life for people with dementia, research shows”

November 14, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Musical activities are always popular in long-term care homes, and new research is suggesting that singing — particularly show tunes — can stave off the impact of dementia.

“The message is: don't give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

“The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

The results of the study conducted by U.S. researchers indicates that residents who are encouraged to sing show tunes, such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow and When You Wish Upon a Star, demonstrate improved cognition and enhanced quality of life.

During a four-month period, the scientists studied nine people affected by dementia who regularly sing show tunes at their eastern U.S. long-term care home. The residents are involved with a choir designed by the researchers. The residents were led in a 50-minute chorus of a variety of show tunes three times per week.

The original choir consisted of 18 residents. The nine residents who did not participate in singing during the course of the study observed those who did. Results between the two groups of residents were compared.

The study indicates that singing show tunes is particularly beneficial to residents with moderate to severe dementia.

Scans on residents involved with the study showed enhanced activity in various regions of the brain; a factor scientists believe is the result of singing songs from The Wizard of Oz , The Sound of Music, Oklahoma and Pinocchio.

Neuroscientist Dr. Jane Flinn of George Mason University in Virginia is one of the researchers involved with the study. Based on the study’s results, Flinn recommends long-term care homes consider encouraging residents with cognitive impairment to sing show tunes.

“Even when people are in the fairly advanced stages of dementia, when it is so advanced they are in a secure ward, singing sessions were still helpful,” Flinn told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

“The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”

Click here for more information on the study.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact 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.

Pleasant Meadow flu-vaccination campaign rolling along

Most residents, staff members receive immunization

November 13, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Almost all of the 61 residents and about 80 per cent of staff members at Pleasant Meadow Manor have received the flu shot this year as

Getting the vaccination is especially important for residents 65 and older

Getting the vaccination is especially important for residents 65 and older. Creative Commons photo.

part of OMNI Health Care’s corporate-wide vaccination campaign.

Pleasant Meadow Manor registered nurse Shelley Vandenberg says all the residents who have consented to the vaccination have received the flu shot and the campaign is ongoing at the Norwood long-term care home.

Each year at this time OMNI Health Care’s 17 long-term care homes embark on the vaccination campaign as part of the effort to keep homes free of the flu. The program is important to any home’s infection prevention and control program and helps keep outbreaks ay bay, says Vandenberg.

“It’s not going to always stop people from getting sick, but (the vaccination) is going to make it less severe,” Vandenberg says.

Vandenberg says flu vaccinations are especially important for seniors living in long-term care homes.

“As with any medication there are pros and cons, but (with the flu vaccination) the pros far outweigh the cons as far as I’m concerned, especially for people who are vulnerable already,” the RN says.

The Health Canada website underscores the importance of influenza vaccinations and infection prevention.

“The most effective way to protect yourself from the flu is to be vaccinated each year in the fall,” the site says. “Regular hand-washing is another way to help minimize your risk. By washing your hands often, you will reduce your chance of becoming infected.”

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact 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.

Garden Terrace caregivers star in information video

YouTube video explores caregivers’ work

November 11, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Two Garden Terrace front-line staff members have helped create a YouTube video providing insight into experiences if working with people who have a cognitive impairment.

Personal support workers (PSWs) Ashley Astle and Dieune Simplice worked as actors in Caregivers, a video made by Interplay Creative Media on behalf of You and Me for Memories, an Ottawa-area grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research.

The video was screened during You and Me for Memories fifth annual An Evening to Remember gala Oct. 26. The gala raises money to further the research of Dr. Richard Bergeron, a neuroscience specialist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Astle provided English dialogue, while Simplice spoke French in the video. Actors Kent Goranson and Penelope Goranson portrayed long-term care residents affected by dementia.

The six-minute video delves into what front-line caregivers do in their work with residents who are living with a cognitive impairment; issues such as feeding and bathing are explored, and Astle and Simplice demonstrate how to hold a conversation with people affected by dementia.

“I take each day as it comes and I don’t have any plans when I’m working on an Alzheimer’s unit because when you come into work things tend to change,” Astle says.

In the video, Astle explains why she chose her career path and what her work means to her.

“When I go home at the end of the day I feel good about myself and I know that I’m in this because I’m passionate, caring and I understand how (dementia) affects (residents) every day,” she says

Click here to watch the video.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact 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.

How could the right-to-die issue impact long-term care?

Rona Ambrose and Provinces seeking solutions. Photo courtesy of RonaAmbrose.com.

Rona Ambrose and Provinces seeking solutions. Photo courtesy of RonaAmbrose.com.

Government interest could spark possibility of future change in laws

October 8, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

There’s been much talk recently among provincial health ministers about people’s right to die with dignity. While this conversation isn’t new, it has been getting a lot more attention, due to Canada’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose sitting down last week with her provincial counterparts to discuss the issue.

While Ambrose reaffirmed that the government has no plans to change the Criminal Code to accommodate assisted suicide for people who are terminally ill, it cannot be ignored that the federal government’s willingness to hear input about the matter is signalling the possibility that the tide could one day turn.

Increased discussion within government was triggered by a law proposed in Quebec’s National Assembly that would allow doctors to help terminally-ill patients, under specific circumstances, end their lives if they chose.

But how could this impact the long-term care sector?

Clearly, there’s a balance to be struck. Promoting quality of life is a cornerstone of long-term care providers’ values and culture. Moreover, long-term care homes are committed to upholding people’s dignity. But what about the dignity of a person who is terminally ill, and how can dignity be upheld if a person is not allowed to die the way they choose?

There’s no simple, one-size-fits-all answer here. But the right-to-die question is something the sector needs to ponder, since any given long-term care home has many people living with terminal illnesses, from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease to neurological illnesses.

Something else to consider is the fact that long-term care homes are today seeing an increased number of residents with serious complex-care issues uncommon to long-term care in years past — homes are now admitting residents with terminal illnesses such as Huntington’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (commonly called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

These are illnesses that have considerable impact on a person’s dignity and quality of life. In countries that allow physician-assisted death under certain circumstances, such as Switzerland, the patients often have these illnesses.

Naturally, the right-to-die issue raises controversy; after all, doctors are legally and morally tasked with prolonging people’s lives, not helping end lives. The question to be asked is this: is the current system helping or hindering patients if prolonging a terminally-ill person’s life against their will is decreasing their life quality? As caregivers in long-term care homes, how could allowing physicians to assist people in the dying process affect you?

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

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

OMNI LEA wins prestigious caregiver award

‘At the end of each day I feel like it’s my life that has been enriched by the residents,’ says Kellie Bennett

October 29, 2013 — Deron Hamel

It may be Kellie Bennett’s job to enrich people’s lives but she says it’s her life that’s made better through her work with Garden Terrace residents.

Garden Terrace LEA Kellie Bennett (centre) is seen here after winning the 2013 Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award.

Garden Terrace LEA Kellie Bennett (centre) is seen here after winning the 2013 Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award.

A life enrichment aide (LEA) at Garden Terrace, Bennett was honoured on Saturday (Oct. 26) with the 2013 Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award. It was presented in Ottawa during the You and Me for Memories Evening to Remember Gala.

“At the end of each day I feel like it’s my life that has been enriched by the residents,” she tells the OMNIway. “This means the world to me; I’m very honoured.”

The Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award is given out annually at gala to front-line caregivers in the Ottawa region who have shown outstanding performance in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

While she says she’s “honoured” to have won the award, Bennett notes the impact has yet to sink in. As happy as she is to have won the award, Bennett says she’s even more proud that the selection committee chose a life enrichment worker, adding LEAs play a major role in the lives of long-term care residents who have dementia.

Bennett was nominated for the accolade by administrator Carolyn Della Foresta. Like Bennett, Della Foresta comes from a life enrichment background and knows first-hand the difference LEAs make in residents’ lives.

Della Foresta nominated Bennett because of the LEA’s personalized approach to working with residents affected by cognitive impairment. The administrator saw that when Bennett worked with residents they would often enjoy an activity they didn’t think they wanted to do, simply because of Bennett’s kind, caring approach.

“With Kellie, nothing is done for show — every decision that is made in her day is about what is good for the residents,” says Della Foresta.

You and Me for Memories is a grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research. It was started in 2008 by families of Garden Terrace residents.

This year saw three front-line workers from OMNI Health Care long-term care homes. They were Bennett, Garden Terrace personal support worker Birru Firew and Almonte Country Haven LEA Jessica Lynch.

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

Ont. doctor underscores importance of end-of-life care plan

Summary explaining futility of aggressive treatment in some cases would help people make informed decisions

October 28, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

The chair of the Ontario Medical Association’s section on general internal medicine is suggesting health-care stakeholders develop a written summary of end-of-life goals and information explaining the futility of aggressive treatquality-endoflife-care_630x440ment in some cases to enhance palliative-care practices.

In the commentary section of the Toronto Star on Oct. 24, Dr. Charles S. Shaver offers an interesting solution to a challenge found in the health-care system: that a group of doctors, nurses, ethicists and spiritual leaders could convene to draft a summary that would help physicians talk with families to help them make better end-of-life care decisions when their loved ones have no chance of survival.

Once completed, the information could be translated into several languages and sent to Canadian hospitals from coast to coast.

The issue of family members insisting on resuscitating their loved ones who have no chance of survival is often rooted in cultural and religious differences, Shaver points out.

In other cases, Shaver writes, a person’s son or daughter who lives far away from their parent has feelings of guilt and will insist that doctors use aggressive treatment to prevent their mother or father from dying.

However, having information available explaining how aggressive treatments to individuals who are dying can often be detrimental could help ease these situations when they arise, Shaver proposes.

“A physician dealing with a difficult situation — especially when the patient is of a different ethnic background — could speak to family members, hand out this document for them to discuss among themselves, and then meet again to make a more reasoned end-of-life decision,” he writes.

Shaver adds: “Communication would be further enhanced if the physician could enlist the help of a physician, nurse, pharmacist, etc. who was of the same cultural group as the patient, and could meet with family members and answer any questions in their own language.”

In his commentary, Shaver proposes that the Canadian Medical Association could scrutinize the process to prevent the information as being perceived as a tool to save money in provincial health budgets.

Obviously, this is an issue the long-term care sector has a stake in. If you would like to comment on this issue, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Click here to read Shaver’s full commentary.

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

‘Perpetual smiling staff member’ lives the OMNIway

Jessica Lynch nominated for Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award

From picking flowers with residents to helping them make fresh fruit smoothies, Jessica Lynch “lives” the OMNI values of honesty, integrity, creativity, and fun and laughter. Read more

Think pink: Willows raises breast cancer awareness

Home hosts its first Pink Day

October 23, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Given that the majority of staff members and residents at Willows Estate are women, it was fitting for the Aurora long-term care home to host Pink Day to support breast cancer research and awareness, says life enrichment co-ordinator Teddy Mazzuca.

Because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, administrator Linda Burr suggested at the start of October that the Willows team reserve

Willows Estate residents Joan Caldwell and Margaret Cunningham are seen here during the home's Oct. 11 Pink Day.

Willows Estate residents Joan Caldwell and Margaret Cunningham are seen here during the home’s Oct. 11 Pink Day.

a day to raise awareness of breast cancer, a disease that will affect approximately one in every nine Canadian women in their lifetime.

“It was nice to be able to give our support,” Mazzuca tells the OMNIway, adding that this is the first Pink Day the home has hosted.

Residents and staff members began organizing the Oct. 11 event. The first thing the group did was make pink tie-dyed T-shirts. Residents and staff members also baked cupcakes frosted with pink icing that were sold on Pink Day.

The team also sold pink grapefruit flavoured Tic Tac mints. Pink Tic Tacs are sold in autumn in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the manufacturer, Ferraro, makes a $100,000 donation to breast cancer research.

According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, 23,800 women and 200 men in Canada will be diagnosed with the disease in 2013.

Click here for more information on the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Do you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway? If so, 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, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

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)axiomnews.ca.