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Streamway Villa residents make new feathered friends

Two ducks meandered into the home’s garden to visit residents as they did spring yard work

A group of Streamway Villa residents recently discovered that doing yard work can be just “ducky.”

The OMNIway recently told you about residents and staff members working together to beautify the garden and courtyard outside the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home.

While residents and staff were raking leaves and setting up tables and chairs, two ducks ambled through the gate and into the garden from the small ravine outside the home.

The winged visitors made a nice day even better for residents, who named their new feathered friends Beatrice and Orville, says life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht.

“Literally, the two ducks just strolled in,” she tells The OMNIway. “They walked right up to us, not even afraid. … It was a nice moment for the staff and residents seeing the ducks.”

Beatrice and Orville stayed with residents in the garden for most of the day. They would walk around visiting residents, who could not have been more pleased, Laurie says.

When the day’s work was done and it was time for everyone to go back indoors, the ducks were still meandering around the yard.

Laurie guided them towards the gate so they wouldn’t be locked in.

“Then someone reminded me that ducks fly,” Laurie chuckles.

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Cupcakes and flowers add a special touch to Country Terrace Mother’s Day lunch

‘Sometimes it’s the little details that may seem very small can make a big difference’

While Mother’s Day was quieter than usual at Country Terrace this year, the moms living at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home were still treated to a lunch on May 9 that had a special touch.

The nutritional care and life enrichment departments joined together to provide the mothers living at Country Terrace with a Mother’s Day lunch that included flower bouquets on tables and special, decorative cupcakes that were dressed up in a variety of colours.

“When the residents came to the dining room, they found these nice cupcakes and flowers,” says Country Terrace nutritional care manager Alex Achillini.

For lunch, residents had the choice of cheese-and-potato perogies with sour cream and a side dish of broccoli or a turkey-salad sandwich with a three-bean salad. Dessert featured a choice of strawberries with cream or vanilla ice cream.

Mother’s Day is typically a major occasion at the home, but with restrictions in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the usual family get-togethers couldn’t happen.

Instead, team members worked together to provide residents with the best Mother’s Day they could by working within the protocols.

Alex says the cupcakes and flowers were well received by residents, who appreciated the effort team members put into their Mother’s Day surprise.

“Sometimes it’s the little details, that may seem very small, that can make a big difference,” he says.

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Residents honour Burnbrae staff during Nursing Week

Kind, supportive messages from residents fill an entire wall at the home

In recognition of National Nursing Week, a wall at Burnbrae Gardens has been covered with kind notes and thoughtful messages from residents in support of everyone working at the Campbellford long-term care home.

The notes, which are written on colourful rectangular paper designed to resemble doctor’s prescription pads and laminated, share residents’ feelings about the people who provide their care every day.

The kind messages fill an entire wall in the hallway leading to the dining room, a corridor that sees lots of traffic every day.

“Oh my, where do I start? All the staff is just absolutely incredible,” says one note.

“They (staff) make me feel safe and take care of everyone here. They all do amazing at their jobs,” says another.

“Everybody makes me feel so loved,” says another note.

National Nursing Week is May 10 to 16. Burnbrae Gardens celebrates Nursing Week every year by honouring all staff members working in every department.

April Faux, Burnbrae Gardens’ administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator, says Nursing Week is especially meaningful this year, given the hard work team members have put forth during the past 14 months to keep residents and each other safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Normally we just hand out a few treats (during Nursing Week), but we really want the staff to know that they are appreciated by the residents that they take care of,” April tells The OMNIway.

“We intend to leave the messages up longer than a week because a lot of work went into this; we will probably leave it up for a few weeks, just to make sure everyone has a chance to read the comments.”

April says staff members will be receiving snacks on each shift and there will be a raffle for various prizes during Nursing Week.

Held the week of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale’s birthday on May 12 every year since 1965, National Nursing Week aims to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions nurses make to our health-care system.

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Country Haven-CDSBEO partnership provides incentives to attract and retain PSWs

Students in CDSBEO PSW program have their tuition covered, receive paid training at Almonte Country Haven and are offered jobs at the home after graduating

Given our growing aging population and need for more front-line workers in the long-term care sector, an education/job-placement partnership like the one Almonte Country Haven has with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) is important to helping the long-term care sector attract and retain personal support workers (PSWs), says Anita Plunkett.

Plunkett, an instructor and clinical supervisor with the CDSBEO’s PSW training program, says a major benefit the partnership has is that students are able to earn money when they do their job placement at Almonte Country Haven and are promised a job at the Lanark County long-term care home after completing their training.

The CDSBEO offers a PSW training program at a comparatively low cost. The CDSBEO has partnered with the Canadian Career Academy to cover a portion of students’ tuition through the Canada-Ontario Job Grant. Students are also permitted to earn money while completing their work placement hours.

As part of the CDSBEO’s partnership with the home, students who are doing their placement at Almonte Country Haven also have the remaining portion of their tuition covered through OMNI Health Care’s bursary program and are given a job upon graduation.

“Our program tends to have more mature students (who) have families; they might have aging parents they’re taking care of, and sometimes they’re a single parent,” Plunkett explains.

“Some of those barriers to obtaining PSW certification are removed (for students in the partnership program), and they are earning an income while they are in the program.”

Plunkett adds that the partnership is also beneficial because Almonte Country Haven is in a rural community, and it is often challenging for rural health-care providers to attract workers because they don’t have the population.

“So this partnership, where they have the training fees paid for and where they can work while going to school and earning an income, can be an attractive package for people,” Plunkett says.

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Did you know today is World Hand Hygiene Day?

This year’s campaign slogan is ‘Seconds save lives – clean your hands!’

Hand-washing is so crucial to our health and well-being that the World Health Organization (WHO) has dedicated a special day to raise awareness about its importance.

The worldwide SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign was launched in 2009, and since then May 5 has been designated as World Hand Hygiene Day.

While the vital role hand hygiene plays in infection prevention and control is well understood throughout the greater health-care sector, the annual campaign aims to keep its importance top of mind.

Given that we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, proper hand hygiene is more important than ever.

COVID-19, like other viruses, can be transmitted by touching our nose, eyes or mouth after being in contact with an infected surface. Washing hands properly and often kills pathogens that can cause illnesses.

In a statement, the WHO says the goal of the campaign is for health-care providers “to achieve effective hand-hygiene action at the point of care.”

In a long-term care setting, the point of care refers to three elements: the resident, the staff member and the treatment or care being provided to the resident by the staff member involving contact.

The slogan for this year’s campaign is “Seconds save lives – clean your hands!”

“Hand hygiene is one of the most effective actions you can take to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infections, including the COVID-19 virus,” the WHO says.

“The WHO global hand-hygiene campaign SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands mobilizes people around the world to increase adherence to hand hygiene in health-care facilities, thus protecting health-care workers and patient from COVID-19 and other pathogens.”

Click here for more information about the SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands 2021 campaign.

Social media hashtags to look out for during this year’s campaign include #safehands, #handhygiene and #infectionprevention.

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Conversations with residents a highlight of student’s Village Green placement

‘They have years and years of experience and stories that they love to tell and love to talk about,’ says Griffin Newton

Griffin Newton says his favourite part of his two-month student placement at Village Green was the time he spent getting to know the Greater Napanee long-term care home’s residents.

Griffin, a Grade 13 student at Napanee District Secondary School, recently completed his co-op placement at Village Green. The experience has helped shape his career path, and he has applied to Loyalist College’s recreation and leisure program for the September intake.

As part of his placement, Griffin spent much of his time helping with activities and playing games or reading newspapers with residents.

It was through the time he spent with residents that Griffin says he learned a great deal about the people living at Village Green.

“They have years and years of experience and stories that they love to tell and love to talk about,” Griffin says.

“If you are a people person, they love to talk and they love to talk with you because their stories have been a big, monumental part of their lives and you have to be able to listen.”

One memorable moment for Griffin came when he was reading a newspaper with residents. Walter Gretzky, the father of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, had recently passed away and there was an article about the world’s most famous hockey dad.

It turned out one of the residents knew the elder Gretzky many years ago.

“When (the resident) knew him, he sold cheese back in the day, and the other residents didn’t know that, so that was one of the great stories I heard,” Griffin says.

Griffin, who has also been working as a front-door screener during the pandemic, says having these conversations gave him “a new perspective” on people living at Village Green. Hearing about their stories and experiences was a chance to get to know them on a different level.

“I also love working there and being down there and interacting with the residents and, right now, taking their mind off of everything, especially with COVID,” he says.

– This is Part 2 of a two-part story

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Unique partnership between Country Haven and CDSBEO is attracting needed PSWs to LTC

Instructor Anita Plunkett commends the ‘win-win’ collaboration

A partnership between Almonte Country Haven and the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) is bringing much-needed personal support workers (PSWs) to the long-term care sector.

To date, six Almonte Country Haven PSWs have graduated from a PSW training program offered by CDSBEO and three more people who are doing their training through the partnership are enrolled this semester. That spells good news for long-term care in the local community, says CDSBEO PSW program instructor Anita Plunkett.

Since early 2020, Almonte Country Haven has participated in the PSW training program offered CDSBEO and supported by the Canadian Career Academy (CCA), an employment agency.

The CDSBEO offers the PSW training program at a comparatively low cost. The CCA has partnered with CDSBEO to cover a portion of students’ tuition through the Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG). Students are also permitted to earn money while completing their work placement hours.

Students who are doing their placement at Almonte Country Haven, an 82-bed long-term care home in Lanark County, have the remaining portion of their tuition covered through OMNI Health Care’s bursary program.

“When we first started (the partnership) there was a uniqueness in that, at the time, (the CDSBEO) had not really connected with a home where the home was hiring students while they were in training and connecting them with the Canada-Ontario Job Grant,” Plunkett tells The OMNIway.

“We had not developed that type of relationship with (a long-term care home) up until that point.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, Plunkett says there has been a “huge focus on long-term care and the work that PSWs do,” and this makes the Country Haven-CDSBEO partnership timely.

Plunkett says the school board has since connected with other long-term care homes and home-care agencies in the region to help them attract and provide people with PSW training.

The seeds of the collaboration were planted when Almonte Country Haven contacted Plunkett to see if any students in the PSW program were interested in doing a placement at the home.

From there, the CCA was contacted to work out a deal where the employment agency would cover a portion of the students’ tuition through the COJG.

“It’s a three-way connection to get people trained and working at Almonte Country Haven,” Plunkett says.

“Almonte Country Haven is looking for employees, and we can provide the training, so it’s a win-win on both sides.”

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Village Green residents treated to a jungle safari without leaving home

Safari Day was beneficial to residents on many levels

Village Green residents were recently treated to an African safari that included a tour where they spotted different animals and learned about several creatures that live in a jungle habitat.

The activity, which was held on April 6, began with the life enrichment team hosting an educational program on Kenyan folklore in the morning.

Later, the life enrichment team and co-op placement student Griffin Newton led residents through the Greater Napanee long-term care home on the safari to search out the variety of “animals” that were made from pieces of cardboard cut into the shapes of different creatures and then painted by Griffin and his family.

The animals were created with “amazing” detail, notes Village Green life enrichment co-ordinator Ulana Orrick.

“Griffin has an immense artistic talent, and over the Easter weekend he and his family created all of these different animals by hand,” Ulana says.

Residents and their safari guides walked through Village Green looking for tigers, gazelles and other animals that one may spot on a safari.

As soon as an animal was spotted by residents, a life enrichment team member would provide information about the creature.

The safari ended in the home’s sunroom where there was a cardboard cut-out of a Jeep that served as a prop for residents to have their photos taken with.

The fun continued after the safari when residents were treated to a Kenyan-themed pub afternoon where they enjoyed drinks and special food made by team members.

The food included pigs-in-a-blanket – dubbed “boar in a blanket” – as well as a chutney and tropical fruit.

The day ended with residents learning how to play mancala, a strategy-based board game that originated in Africa.

Ulana says the activities from Safari Day met residents’ needs on many levels. Aside from being fun and educational for residents, the day also had social aspects and also proved to be a way to get people exercising.

“Walking in the halls, they were exercising without even realizing it,” Ulana says.

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Province approves development of 192-bed Streamway Villa Long-Term Care Home

The project, which will upgrade the current 59 beds Streamway Villa offers and add 133 new beds in Cobourg, is expected to begin next spring

COBOURG, Ont. – Streamway Villa residents and staff members are looking forward to living and working in a new, spacious 192-bed long-term care home with modern conveniences that will be built in Cobourg to replace the present home within the next three and a half years.

Representatives from OMNI Health Care, the Ontario government, Northumberland County and the Town of Cobourg held a press conference in the Streamway Villa courtyard March 22 to make the blockbuster announcement.

The project, which will likely begin next spring, will upgrade the current 59 long-term care beds Streamway Villa offers and add 133 new beds in Cobourg.

Construction is expected to take up to 36 months to complete, including the design and approval stages.

“We have a proud history of providing great care to this community, and we’re happy to see the Ontario government recognize the need for more long-term care beds right here in Cobourg,” said Patrick McCarthy, OMNI’s president and CEO.

Once completed, the new Streamway Villa will be a Class A long-term care home with modern amenities, such as wider hallways and more home-like dining areas, and privacy will be enhanced by limiting all rooms to no more than two beds.

The new home will be divided into six neighbourhoods, with 32 beds in each home area, to provide residents with a quieter, more enjoyable living experience.

Streamway Villa administrator Kylie Szczebonski said the new, state-of-the-art home with all its amenities will help enhance quality of life for residents and enable staff members to provide an even higher level of care.

“The new modern facility will have a significant impact and a positive impact on our residents, families and staff,” she said.

“The new home will allow us to provide the highest standard of care that we are known for in the community while also allowing us to easily incorporate new technologies and innovations into our practices.

“We cannot wait to have this new home, and we cannot wait to be one of the top (long-term care homes) in this province.”

Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini underscored the impact the new home will have on the local community.

“Our loved ones in long-term care deserve a comfortable, modern place to live that is near family and friends and has the built-in supports they need when and where they need it,” Piccini said.

“The number of people in Cobourg who will need long-term care is expected to rise over the next decade. These new and upgraded spaces, built to modern design standards, will help ensure residents have access to the care they need in a safe and secure environment.”

With a growing aging population and a greater need for long-term care beds in the region, Northumberland County Warden Bob Crate said the project will help shorten wait times for people in the county seeking long-term care.

“An expanded 192-bed home will increase access to long-term care and address some of the associated pressures in our local health-care system,” he said.

Cobourg Mayor John Henderson also welcomed the announcement as a “historic long-term care investment” in the community.   

“We are proud and supportive of our aging demographic and recognize that this is a huge step in the right direction towards continuing to serve our senior population.”

The province has now approved redevelopment projects for seven OMNI long-term care homes since 2018.

In addition to today’s announcement for Streamway Villa, approval has been given for a new 192-bed Riverview Manor in Peterborough, a new 128-bed Village Green in Greater Napanee, and a redeveloped and expanded 128-bed Country Terrace in Komoka, Ont., all of which are currently in the design phase.

Construction is well underway on the renovation and expansion of Almonte Country Haven, Pleasant Meadow Manor and Woodland Villa.

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Willows outbreak ends, team members recognized with staff appreciation day

Staff was honoured for their hard work and support for residents and each other

After a two-month COVID-19 outbreak ended at Willows Estate in late February, team members at the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home were recognized for their hard work and commitment to residents and each other with a staff appreciation day on Feb. 25.

During the outbreak, Aimee Merkley, OMNI Health Care’s director of western operations, was the acting administrator at the Willows. From the day York Region Public Health declared the outbreak on Dec. 23, Aimee says Willows Estate team members worked hard to care for residents, ramp up infection, prevention and control measures, and support each other.

During the outbreak, Aimee worked closely with Doneath Stewart, who is acting director of care at the Willows, and Neil MacDonald, formally the nutritional care manager at Riverview Manor who was called in for assistance.

The efforts put forth by Doneath and Neil, as well as support from OMNI Health Care home office team members, helped residents and staff during this challenging time, Aimee says.

“There were many tough and emotional days during the outbreak, (but) staff pulled together and committed to the hard work required to ensure infection, prevention and control practices were observed and residents received the care and support they needed,” Aimee says.

Every time a resident case of COVID-19 was resolved, team members rang a bell on the unit, and “staff looked so forward to ringing the bell,” Aimee says.

When the outbreak officially ended Feb. 23, Silver Fox Pharmacy, an OMNI provider, supplied the Willows team with 100 cowbells to ensure everyone at the home had a bell to ring to signify the outbreak’s end.

Two days later, Aimee organized the staff appreciation day for team members working on all three shifts.

Staff members were treated to coffee and doughnuts from Tim Hortons as well as pizza and cupcakes. Everyone received T-shirts displaying the OMNI logo on the front and the words “tough times don’t last – tough teams do” on the back.

Community donations of Tim Hortons gift cards and gift bags were awarded for prizes during trivia games, and OMNI logo wear was also provided to draw winners.

Aimee says the appreciation day was well received by the Willows Estate team.

“They loved the day and were so appreciative of the recognition, which they truly deserved,” she says.

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