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Forest Hill residents receive COVID-19 immunization

Forest Hill residents have received their first round of vaccinations to protect them from the COVID-19 virus.

Paramedics from the local public health unit were at Forest Hill on Jan. 14 to immunize more than 140 residents at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home.

All residents vaccinated provided consent to be immunized.

Some staff members who had not yet received the vaccination, as well as family members who have been deemed “essential caregivers,” were also able to receive immunization, says Craig Forrest, Forest Hill’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

Up to Jan. 14, Craig says about three-quarters of Forest Hill staff members had been immunized, and the paramedics were able to inoculate about 10 staff members who had not yet received the vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccine requires two vaccinations, and the paramedics will be returning in two and half weeks to administer the second round, Craig says.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and safety protocols, such as staff wearing face masks, strict hand-washing and social distancing will remain in place at Forest Hill, Craig says there’s a sense of things getting better.

“We are still going to have months (of the pandemic) ahead of us, but at least you can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he tells The OMNIway.

The COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization in March 2020. At the time of this writing, the Government of Canada website is reporting there have been 731,450 cases of people in Canada contracting the virus. The website reports that 18,622 Canadians have died as a result of COVID-19 infection.

The Government of Ontario says on its website that vaccinations will be crucial to curbing COVID-19 infection.

“(Vaccines) will be an important tool to help stop the spread of the virus and allow individuals, families and workers to safely resume normal life,” the website states.

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine does not cause a coronavirus infection. It helps to build up your immunity to the virus, so your body will fight it off more easily if it affects you.”

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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Garden Terrace residents and staff receive first round of COVID-19 vaccinations

‘We are so happy; it’s a relief and excitement’

Garden Terrace residents and staff members received their first round of COVID-19 vaccinations at the Ottawa-area long-term care home on Jan. 13.

More than 20 paramedics from the local public health unit were at Garden Terrace to administer the vaccinations on Thursday.

There were 138 Garden Terrace residents who consented to receive the vaccine. All of the home’s managers and many of the front-line staff members and essential caregivers also received immunizations.

There will be a second round of vaccinations performed at Garden Terrace in three weeks.

“We are so happy; it’s a relief and excitement,” Garden Terrace’s director of infection, prevention and control Ruzica Subotic-Howell tells The OMNIway.

“We have (most) of the residents vaccinated and that’s exciting, and all of the managers have been vaccinated as well.”

The COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization in March 2020. At the time of this writing, the Government of Canada website is reporting there have been 674,473 cases of people in Canada contracting the virus. The website reports that 17,233 Canadians have died as a result of COVID-19 infection.

The Government of Ontario says on its website that vaccinations will be crucial to curbing COVID-19 infection.

“(Vaccines) will be an important tool to help stop the spread of the virus and allow individuals, families and workers to safely resume normal life,” the website states.

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine does not cause a coronavirus infection. It helps to build up your immunity to the virus, so your body will fight it off more easily if it affects you.”

Ruzica commends Garden Terrace team members for planning Thursday’s visit from the paramedics with precision and ensuring the immunizations went smoothly and in a timely manner.

“Every single manager in every department was diligent and organized to make this a success,” she says.

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West Lake team hosts a ‘deer hunt’ for residents with great success

‘We haven’t had this much fun and laughter in our home since this pandemic started’

The West Lake Terrace team recently hosted a “deer hunt” that brought residents and staff members together for an engaging activity that resulted in lots of fun and laughter for all.

Team members gathered the Christmas trees that were set up around West Lake Terrace during the holidays and brought them to the dining room to create a makeshift forest.

Donning reindeer hats, team members began milling about through “the woods” as residents patiently sat looking through the sights of the Nerf guns they’d been given.

When a “deer” came into view, residents pulled their triggers, sending a volley of Nerf darts at them. Residents then tagged their “deer”.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Janie Denard says she and other team members at the Prince Edward County long-term care home were inspired to create the activity after reading an article about a home on Manitoulin Island that organized a similar activity with great success.

With the holiday season over and restrictions in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Janie says this activity was exactly what residents and staff members needed to fend off the winter blues.

“We haven’t had this much fun and laughter in our home since this pandemic started,” Janie tells The OMNIway, adding that even residents who often don’t participate in activities joined in on the fun.

“This was just what residents and staff needed; it was an eruption of laughter for a good 20 minutes. Some of the residents were asking when we could do this again.”

To accommodate the residents’ wishes, the life enrichment team is planning to host another similar activity in the near future, Janie says.

“We’re going to have the residents shoot at tin cans and have more games with the Nerf guns,” she says.

“This was a great activity and it was much needed for everybody in the home.”

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OMNI home redevelopment projects move forward in 2020

A major success for OMNI Health Care in 2020 was the move forward on three redevelopment projects, the announcement of a new home redevelopment project for Village Green and additional funding to expand the redevelopment project for the new Riverview Manor.

Construction has now started on the expansion of three OMNI long-term are homes: Pleasant Meadow Manor, Almonte Country Haven and Woodland Villa.

Once completed, these will all be Class A homes and will feature a wide range of modern amenities, such as wider hallways, more home-like dining and lounge spaces, and privacy for residents will be improved by having only one- and two-bed rooms.

During a Nov. 16 groundbreaking ceremony at Pleasant Meadow Manor, Sandra Tucker, the Norwood long-term care home’s administrator, said residents are especially looking forward to having more space, once the project, which will expand Pleasant Meadow by 34,000 square feet, is completed.

“They’re looking forward to the new rooms and having no more than two to a room,” she said.

Meanwhile, the province announced in November that funding has been approved to build a new Village Green in Greater Napanee that will have 128 beds, 62 more than the home currently has.

While there is no confirmation on when construction on the new Village Green will start or be completed, administrator Linda Pierce said a tentative site for the home is being considered on the west side of Lennox and Addington County Road 41.

Pierce said the new Class A Village Green, once completed, will enhance quality of life for residents and staff members.

“From bathing to dining experiences, everything will be enhanced,” she said. “Everything, in my opinion, will be more favourable to resident care and to the quality of life of the resident and the quality of life of the worker.”

Pierce added that the redeveloped Village Green will be a community asset because the additional 62 beds will help minimize waiting times for people in the region requiring long-term care.

There has also been good news for Riverview Manor.

The province announced in November that funding has been approved to add 32 beds to the 36 new beds that were promised in December 2018 for the rebuilt Peterborough long-term care home.

Riverview Manor’s current location on Water Street has 124 beds. Construction on the new Riverview Manor, which will be nearby on Langton Street in Peterborough’s north end, will likely start in 2021 and will take about two years to build.

During a virtual press conference on Nov. 20, Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith said the additional 32 beds Riverview Manor will receive will improve access for people in the region who require long-term care.

“Our seniors deserve quality care in the communities they live in,” he said.

“This is why (this) announcement of more new beds is so important. We are working to reduce wait times and meet the needs of our aging population now and in the future.”

An appearance from ‘Scuba Steve’ made everyone’s day at Pleasant Meadow

‘With just a little masking tape and some construction paper, I’m telling you, we can have lots of fun’

Pleasant Meadow Manor registered nurse Shelly Vandenberg and life enrichment co-ordinator Kim Williams recently tapped into two of OMNI Health Care’s core values — creativity and fun and laughter – to help keep the winter blues away.

Inspired by a pair of safety goggles she was wearing, Shelly decided to dress up like Scuba Steve, a character and toy from the 1999 Adam Sandler comedy film Big Daddy.

Once Kim heard about Shelly’s idea, she fashioned a pair of swim fins out of yellow construction paper for Shelly to wear on her feet. A homemade snorkel completed the outfit.

The residents responded exactly the way Shelly had hoped: they all had a good laugh, Kim says.

“Some of the residents wanted to splash water on her because she had scuba gear on, and another resident tried to encourage her to get into the bathtub,” she tells The OMNIway.

Kim says one of the funnier moments came when Shelly tried walking with her new swim fins. She found she had to make the same “flip-floppy” motions with her feet as if they were an authentic pair of fins.

With Christmas over and Ontario under a provincewide shutdown to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Shelly’s idea brought some much-needed humour to everyone at the Norwood long-term care home, Kim says.

And the best part, she says, is how easy this was to accomplish.

“With just a little masking tape and some construction paper, I’m telling you, we can have lots of fun.”

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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‘Dancing Avon Lady’ spreads Christmas cheer at the Willows

Jessica Yik dropped off gift bags made possible by donations and paintings from local children in December

Christmas is the time for giving, and residents and staff members at Willows Estate are grateful for the generosity of local Avon sales representative Jessica Yik and others in the community who helped spread holiday cheer at the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home in December.

In the days leading up to Christmas, Jessica, who calls herself the Dancing Avon Lady, turned to schools and the community in York Region to put together gift bags for area long-term care home residents.

With the help of donations, gift bags were put together and handed out. The gift bags contained items such as deodorant, lip balm and hand lotion.

There were enough gift bags for each Willows Estate resident as well as for staff members, says the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator Teddy Mazzuca.

Jessica also took her generous campaign to schools in the region and tasked students to create paintings for long-term-care home residents.

Jessica collected the students’ work and presented the art and the gift bags to Willows Estate just before Christmas.

“They are really nice paintings that we have hung on a wall here,” Teddy tells The OMNIway.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which began last March, has been challenging for residents and staff members at long-term care homes.

As a result of safety precautions in place, many long-term-care home residents have not been able to visit with their loved ones.

However, the kind gestures shown by the Dancing Avon Lady and the community during the holiday season helped brighten everyone’s day at the Willows, Teddy says.    

“This is the Christmas spirit.”

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Care aides bring emotional assistance and friendliness to Willows residents

‘Care aides have been an immense relief for primary caregivers in the home, but they’ve gone above and beyond to be also of assistance to residents directly,’ says LEA

While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone, resident care aides, who were hired to help the Willows Estate team in 2020, have been having a positive impact on residents and staff, says Azaria Kanda.

Azaria, a life enrichment aide (LEA) at the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home, says the care aides at the Willows have done a lot to help during a difficult time.

Care aides have been hired by many Ontario long-term care homes since the pandemic began in March to help with tasks to reduce the workload on staff members.

But they have also been a strong value-add to residents, Azaria says.

“Care aides have been an immense relief for primary caregivers in the home, but they’ve gone above and beyond to be also of assistance to residents directly,” he tells The OMNIway.

Azaria says that aside from the help they have provided team members, care aides have taken it upon themselves to engage in social activities with residents.

Care aides, he notes, have helped with garden visits, one-on-one visits, card games, music therapy and small group chats with the residents.

Most importantly, residents have provided the Willows Estate team with lots of feedback that has been “overwhelmingly positive and appreciative” about the benefits care aides have offered, Azaria says.

“The residents speak highly of the care aides to me and are very grateful to have them come in the home,” Azaria says.

“Even though this is temporary in the duration of the pandemic, their presence is welcome by all.”

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Local initiative brings Christmas presents to Streamway Villa residents

For the fourth straight Christmas, the Stuff a Stocking for a Senior project partnered with Cobourg LTC homes. When funds fell short this year, a local florist stepped in to help

For the fourth straight year, the Stuff a Stocking for a Senior project helped ensure all residents of Streamway Villa woke up on Christmas morning to find presents to unwrap.

The Stuff a Stocking for a Senior project was launched by friends Vicky Davis of Cobourg and Lynn Stewart of Orangeville in 2017.

The project normally sends stockings stuffed with presents to long-term care homes, retirement homes and Community Living Ontario residences to bring Christmas cheer.

However, this year homes in the Cobourg area received money to purchase gifts for people.

Vicky, who oversees the project in Cobourg, had a goal of raising $7,000 this past Christmas season to buy presents for homes in the area, but by mid-December, she had only raised $2,000.

Then a Cobourg florist, Quinn’s Blooms & Greenery, donated $4,000 to the Stuff a Stocking for a Senior project, which was a huge boost for the project, explains Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht.

Vicky was then able to go to all the long-term care and retirement homes in the area and share the donations so staff members could buy presents for residents.

Using money that was donated through the Stuff a Stocking for a Senior project, as well as funds provided by OMNI Health Care, Streamway life enrichment staff went shopping for presents to give each of the 50 residents living at Streamway Villa.

In 2018, Vicky told The OMNIway she was inspired to start the program while visiting her mother, who was living at a long-term care home. She says she noticed some residents were not getting family visits and saw an opportunity to make a difference.

She then contacted Lynn, who had many years’ experience organizing a Christmas hamper and stocking-stuffing program for Orangeville seniors, to suggest working together to extend the stocking-stuffing program to Cobourg.

Laurie says the gifts she and her colleagues bought for residents were all personalized.

“We looked at each resident, we looked at their needs, and we went and bought them each individual presents and we then wrapped them,” she says.

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Front-line team surprises Burnbrae managers with Christmas gifts

‘It really hit home that we have a great team here’

When a personal support worker (PSW) approached April Faux on Dec. 21 to request a team huddle, the Burnbrae Gardens administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator wasn’t surprised – after all, the number of daily huddles has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

But when April and her fellow managers at the Campbellford, Ont. long-term care home arrived at the huddle, they were greeted by front-line team members bearing Christmas gifts they had pooled their money together to buy.

Each of the five managers received a Christmas plant as well as a personalized Christmas card and a Tim Hortons gift card.

The gift packages were presented on behalf of all Burnbrae Gardens residents and staff members.

“It was just really nice because the managers are not always recognized like this, and the fact that they did this without us knowing and on their own accord (to thank us for) being supportive over the year during (the pandemic) was so kind,” April tells The OMNIway.

“They thanked us for our support during such a difficult year, which was really nice.”

April says the kind gesture from Burnbrae Gardens staff members solidified the environment of camaraderie and teamwork that is central to the home’s culture.

“It really hit home that we have a great team here, and yes, (managers) always appreciate them, but we receive it back as well.”

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Country Terrace nutritional care team recognized by CSNM for Mother’s Day lunch

Photos and a description of the meal have been posted on the CSNM website

Country Terrace nutritional care team members have been recognized by the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management (CSNM) for the meal and tray service they provided residents on Mother’s Day.

The CSNM is a national organization aimed at moving nutritional-care management forward. Members, who largely represent the greater health-care sector, are provided with educational and networking opportunities to advance professional development.

The organization launched an initiative this year called Share the Passion to encourage members nationwide to submit something special they have done for residents, patients or customers during the pandemic.

Country Terrace submitted photos and an explanation of the Mother’s Day lunch tray the nutritional care team prepared. The CSNM selected the Country Terrace submission to be featured on a banner on the organization’s website.

The CSNM website states the initiative is aimed at encouraging nutritional care teams to share their work in an effort “to educate, inform and inspire positive change” and “to help increase the professional bond and showcase the outstanding work of our members.”

Knowing how important Mother’s Day is at Country Terrace, the nutritional care team prepared a special lunch that was served to each of the home’s 120 residents on May 10.

In addition to the barbecued pork ribs, parsnips, cornbread muffins, cream of celery soup and dulce de leche cheesecake that was served to all residents, the 55 mothers living at Country Terrace each had a small floral arrangement and Mother’s Day note on their tray.

Country Terrace nutritional care manager Alex Achillini says he and his colleagues are honoured to be recognized by the CSNM for their work.

“It is very nice for the staff to be recognized by such an institution, especially during this time where everyone works hard to keep up with the changes and (to make) the residents’ lives better with small gestures, such as the flowers for Mother’s Day on the food tray,” he says.

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