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Funding for more staffing means more time with residents, fewer behaviours, says LEC

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Ongoing Better Seniors’ Care letter-writing campaign can help send this message to MPPs

A resident recently walked up to a poster on a wall at Country Terrace advertising the Ontario Long Term Care Association’s (OLTCA’s) Better Seniors’ Care advocacy campaign, read it, and said, “Yes, that’s right, we need more funding.” Read more

Social media helping Garden Terrace get signatures for Better Seniors’ Care campaign

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Home already has 200 more signed letters than last year and is ‘hoping for more’

Garden Terrace is discovering that social media is an effective tool for engaging people in the importance of obtaining more government funding for Ontario long-term care homes.

The Ontario Long Term Care Association’s (OLTCA’s) Better Seniors’ Care campaign and letter-writing contest will be on until spring, and Garden Terrace has already received 200 more signatures on letters advocating for more long-term care funding than last year.

As part of the campaign, the letters will be sent to the office of the local MPP.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Sylvia Monette says team members have been using Twitter and Facebook to connect with people. This has helped Garden Terrace receive about 700 signed campaign letters, she says, adding the home is “hoping for more.”

In 2015, Garden Terrace received 516 signatures, earning the Ottawa-area long-term care home the second-place prize in the contest’s category for homes with 133 or more beds.

After last year’s campaign, Garden Terrace was awarded a prize of $300 for its achievement. The money was donated to the home’s residents’ council. OMNI Health Care matched the prize dollar for dollar, so the home received $600.

“This year the life enrichment staff is once again trying to reach as many residents, families, visitors and staff (as possible),” Monette says. “The (life enrichment) department has been set up so that we can send letters on anyone’s behalf with their approval.”

This year’s Better Seniors’ Care campaign is focused on the need for more funding in four areas:

– Making long-term care homes safer and more modern

– Building capacity for better dementia care

– Supporting the role of smaller long-term care homes

– Staffing solutions that will lead to better seniors’ care

Monette says the No. 1 issue at Garden Terrace in this year’s campaign is the need for more funds allocated to increase staffing.

The OLTCA is Canada’s largest long-term care association representing charitable, not-for-profit, private, and municipal long-term care operators.

People can write letters online by clicking here.

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.com.

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

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.

Wayne Rostad makes resident’s dream come true

Entertainer accepts invite to play at Almonte Country Haven

Monday, December 16, 2013 — Deron Hamel
Pat Schlievert is the latest Almonte Country Haven resident to have a wish granted by the Lanark County long-term care home’s Never Too Late to Realize Your Dreams initiative.

Having learned about the program through a story in the OMNIway in March, Pam Schlievert, Pat’s sister, revealed to staff members that Pat is a big fan of Wayne Rostad and asked the team if they could bring the singer, who lives nearby, to the home for a performance.

Almonte Country Haven resident Pat Schlievert is seen here with singer Wayne Rostad during a Dec. 6 performance at the home.Almonte Country Haven resident Pat Schlievert is seen here with singer Wayne Rostad during a Dec. 6 performance at the home.

Almonte Country Haven resident Pat Schlievert is seen here with singer Wayne Rostad during a Dec. 6 performance at the home.Almonte Country Haven resident Pat Schlievert is seen here with singer Wayne Rostad during a Dec. 6 performance at the home.

Administrator Marilyn Colton made some calls to get the ball rolling and, long story short, Rostad came to the home to perform for residents on Dec. 6, giving a special tribute to Pat.

Almonte Country Haven connected with Rostad in the summer, but the entertainer had engagements for the next few months and was unable to make an appearance at the time. As fate would have it, a holiday-time visit was available in Rostad’s schedule, which suited Pat just fine — she’s a big fan of his Christmas album, Christmas in the Valley, which he played during his visit.

“This really made (Pat) feel special; he came to her at the beginning and said, ‘I’m here because of you,’ which made her pretty happy,” Pam tells the OMNIway.

The March 4 OMNIway story about resident Pat Taylor having her wish granted to ride in an 18-wheeler was the spark that got Pam thinking of ways to have a wish come true for her sister, who moved into Almonte Country Haven in February.

Pam cared for her sister at home before Pat moved into Almonte Country Haven. With her sister living in a long-term care home Pam says she’s limited in what she can do for her — but whenever she can make a difference, she will be there for Pat.

Pam says she’s thankful to the Almonte Country Haven’s team for their resident-centred focus.

“I have to give kudos to Marilyn and the staff at the home — they really go the extra mile for residents and families,” she 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 call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Hope and Change – The G8 Dementia Summit Blogs

People Blogging about People… and Dementia

Canada is the only country in the G8 without a comprehensive Dementia Strategy.

Canada is the only country in the G8 without a comprehensive Dementia Strategy.

Blogs

The UK Dept of Health is publishing a series of blogs about dementia in the run-up to the G8 dementia summit, which is being held in London on 11 December 2013.

These blogs are also on the UK Dept. of Health Dementia Summit Website.

Video: Beth Britton talks about her dad and dementia

This short film of Beth Britton is one of a series recorded to show to delegates at the G8 Dementia Summit on 11 December 2013. … Read more →– Video: Beth Britton talks about her dad and dementia

Published: 10 December, 2013 | In BlogsHome | Tagged 

Three words to describe being diagnosed with dementia – Hilary Doxford

There are 3 words I think best sum up my experience of being diagnosed with dementia: fear, despair and hope. Fear I feel fear and … Read more →– Three words to describe being diagnosed with dementia – Hilary Doxford

Published: 9 December, 2013 | In BlogsHomeImproving research

Working together for better research – Susie Hewer

In my last blog about the G8 Dementia Summit I ended with a comment about Teamwork (Together Everyone Achieves More) and I’ve been gathering my …Read more →– Working together for better research – Susie Hewer

Published: 7 December, 2013 | In BlogsHome

Cultural projects can make a difference in clinical services – Professor Robert Howard

The Mental Health of Older Adults and Dementia Clinical Academic Group is a partnership between South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the Institute of … Read more →– Cultural projects can make a difference in clinical services – Professor Robert Howard

Published: 6 December, 2013 | In BlogsHome

What difference can you make to dementia research? – Dr Laura Phipps, Alzheimer’s Research UK

As the UK’s leading dementia research charity, people often ask us whether they can help with the research effort in dementia. The answer is yes … Read more →– What difference can you make to dementia research? – Dr Laura Phipps, Alzheimer’s Research UK

Published: 5 December, 2013 | In BlogsHomeImproving research

 

Frost Manor shows OMNI pride during local parade

Participation in event draws attention from community

November 22, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Once again, Frost Manor participated in the annual Lindsay & District Chamber of Commerce Santa Claus Parade, which served as an opportunity to bring the home to the forefront in the Lindsay community, while offering a good time for some residents and staff members.

The Frost Manor team poses in front of the OMNI van during the Lindsay & District Chamber of Commerce Santa Claus Parade.

The Frost Manor team poses in front of the OMNI van during the Lindsay & District Chamber of Commerce Santa Claus Parade.

Decked out in costumes, the management team from the Lindsay long-term care home marched in front of the OMNI van, carrying a banner reading, “Frost Manor, Long-Term Care, Our Passion is People.” Other staff members and residents rode in the van during the Nov. 17 event.

Initially, the home planned to build a float, as it did last year, but because inclement weather was forecasted, the group decided to march in front of the van instead, notes life enrichment co-ordinator Vi O’Leary.

The home entered a float in last year’s parade, which was the first time Frost Manor had participated in the event in 20 years.

It’s an event O’Leary says she wants to see the home continue participating in because it brings positive exposure from the community.

“And it’s a lot of fun,” she adds, noting the three residents who joined staff members also had a fun day.

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.

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.

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.

Residents give back through Christmas Bazaar

Streamway Villa seniors support Philippines relief, the Giving Tree

November 28, 2013 — Jennifer Neutel 

Streamway Villa’s annual Christmas Bazaar has a new element this year that Christina Verleysen says may make it the best yet – the residents’ council is putting all proceeds towards two good causes.

Some of the funds raised will be donated towards Typhoon Haiyan Philippines relief. OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy sent out an e-mail noting that any money makes a difference, prompting the idea. OMNI is matching donations made towards Typhoon Haiyan relief dollar for dollar, and the Government of Canada is doubling every individual donation.

The rest of the funds will go towards purchasing gifts for two children in need through the Northumberland Mall’s Giving Tree. Children who appear on the Giving Tree are referred by a number of community organizations.

“It’s definitely going to be one busy Christmas, however it’s going to be probably the best bazaar yet because of what we are putting the funds towards,” says Christina Verleysen, life enrichment coordinator at the long-term care home.

The residents’ council vice-president came to Verleysen’s office noting she had spoken with other residents and they all agreed these causes are what they want the bazaar proceeds to be spent on.

Verleysen notes the residents’ council fund currently has a healthy savings allowing the funds to be used in this way, rather than putting it towards entertainment and outings.

The Christmas Bazaar is taking place at the Cobourg home this Saturday, Nov. 30, from 2 to 4 p.m.

There is a $2 charge at the door. Music entertainment will be provided by Doug Morgan and tea, coffee and hot chocolate will be served.

Family members are providing baked goods. The home’s administrator Kylie Szczebonski takes photographs and frames them as raffle prizes, which are a big hit, says Verleysen.

Residents have been making salsa and cranberry ketchup to sell. A woman whose mother previously lived at the home has also rented a table to sell items.

To spread the word about the event an ad was placed in the local newspaper, and family members have since told Verleysen that is how they found out about it.

“I am hoping to see more of the community coming in this year,” says Verleysen.

Being located close to Cobourg’s downtown, hosting the bazaar allows the home to get its name out in the community and is a way to do something active and give back, she adds.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or email jennifer(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or e-mail jennifer(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.