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Willows Estate honours all staff during Nursing Week

Local florist covers half the cost of succulents team members received to celebrate their hard work

Willows Estate staff members have been showing outstanding dedication to the residents they serve and to each other throughout the COVID-19 pandemic which made National Nursing Week celebrations even more important this year.

National Nursing Week was May 10 to 16. Like OMNI Health Care’s other 17 long-term care homes, Willows Estate celebrates Nursing Week every year by honouring all staff members working in every department.

“We celebrate all staff in all departments, and that’s important,” Teddy Mazzuca, the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator, tells The OMNIway.

“It was a celebration to honour the staff for all the work they have been doing. … As often as we can, it’s important for us to appreciate staff.”

During National Nursing Week, Willows Estate team members were treated to fresh cookies that were individually wrapped, and everyone received a succulent plant from a local florist, Flowers By Terry.

In fact, to show support for the Willows Estate team, Flowers By Terry covered 50 per cent of the cost of the succulents that were given to staff members, Teddy notes, adding the florist’s generosity was greatly appreciated by all.

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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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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Pen-pal program connecting Forest Hill residents with local families

‘The letters to residents have been fantastic’

Sending e-mails may be the preferred way to correspond in the 21st century, but a group of Forest Hill residents and a family member and her acquaintances have been bringing back some old-time letter-writing as part of a pen-pal program.

It all started about three months ago when the daughter of a resident approached Craig Forrest, the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator, to let him know she had other family members and friends who were interested in corresponding with residents.

Craig liked the idea and soon residents were receiving letters. About seven residents decided they wanted to write back to the people who had sent them letters, and the pen-pal program was born.

At the time of this writing, there have been three rounds of residents receiving letters and residents sending replies.

The families will write about themselves and their children. They will also send pictures of their families to residents, “and that has meant a lot to our residents,” Craig says.

Residents will write about their history, their own families, their hobbies and what they enjoyed doing as children, he adds.

With large-group programs on hold due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the pen-pal program has been a safe way to bring a meaningful activity to residents, Craig says.

“The letters to residents have been fantastic,” Craig says. “It has been going really, really well.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Forest Hill resident Marilyn Orr poses with the first letter she received through the home’s pen-mal program.

Bingo, a prize draw and green beer mark St. Patrick’s Day at Frost Manor

Safety restrictions meant activities were low-key, but there was still lots of fun and laughter for residents

St. Patrick’s Day was low-key this year at Frost Manor, but the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home’s residents and team members still celebrated all things Irish on March 17.

In the morning, residents and staff dressed up in green St. Patrick’s Day attire and shared a laugh at what everyone was wearing, says Frost Manor life enrichment co-ordinator Lyndsay Burton.

Later in the day, residents and staff played “lucky bingo” in the different areas of the home. There was also a prize draw from a “pot of gold,” and those selecting a winning token received a cash prize.

Since there is currently no large-group programming at Frost Manor due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, team members organized St. Patrick’s Day activities for small groups of residents, with social distancing and other safety measures in effect.

And, of course, no St. Patrick’s Day would be complete without refreshments, so team members served pints of green beer to residents who wished to have a drink as well as other festive treats.

Because of restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the pandemic, St. Patrick’s Day had to be toned down compared to previous years, but residents still enjoyed the fun and laughter that comes with the occasion, Lyndsay says.

“The residents enjoyed the special programming, and we said, ‘everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s day,’ ” she says.

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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.”

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Maplewood residents treated to in-home Christmas parade

The event went over so well, plans are in the works to host another parade next holiday season

Life enrichment aide Rosanne Blackburn and her colleagues at Maplewood are known for coming up with creative ideas to enhance the quality of life for residents at the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home, and just before Christmas they organized another engaging event that put smiles on lots of faces: an in-home Santa Claus parade.

On Dec. 23, Rosanne and the life enrichment team decorated an antique crib to look like a sleigh. Inside the sleigh was a Santa Claus figure with lights along with snowmen and wrapped gift boxes.

One resident, dressed in a Santa Claus outfit, walked behind the sleigh, while another resident, dressed as Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, led the procession in a motorized scooter that was fitted with Christmas lights.

The parade went down a hallway and into the dining room, just before lunch was served. Traditional Christmas band music was played as the parade made its way through the home. There were seven participants in the parade.

Rosanne says the sight of the Santa Claus parade drew lots of cheers from residents as they watched the procession.

“All the residents enjoyed the parade as they waved with smiles,” Rosanne tells The OMNIway, adding the parade was planned for lunchtime to ensure most residents could watch.

Rosanne says the parade went over so well with residents she plans to make the event a Christmas tradition at Maplewood.

“This was our first Christmas parade, and it was such a success that we will continue it next year,” she says.

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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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Being proactive has kept Village Green safe during the pandemic: administrator

‘We have … made a strong commitment to try to keep (COVID-19) out,’ says Linda Pierce

Village Green administrator Linda Pierce describes the COVID-19 pandemic as a bit like fighting an “invisible enemy” that is “circling the sky” – but by being proactive from the beginning, the Greater Napanee long-term care home has been able to keep residents and staff members safe from the virus.

“We can’t see it, but it’s there, and we’re fighting to keep it out, and staff members are doing an amazing job to keep it out,” she tells The OMNIway.

“It involves every day, every moment, ensuring mask-wearing, ensuring hand hygiene, ensuring social distancing.”

Aside from everyone on the floor being vigilant about safety measures and infection prevention, Linda says there has been strong leadership from both Village Green director of care Debbie McTaggart as well as from OMNI Health Care’s clinical operations manager Susan Cymbaluk.

Strong leadership has resulted in strong compliance, Linda says, crediting everyone working at Village Green for doing their part to keep residents and themselves safe during the pandemic.

“We started wearing masks inside the home before we were told we had to – I have to give credit to Debbie and to Susan and to all of the team, but when you have the leads and the supports directing it, it moves it along a path of heightened awareness,” Linda says.

“We have, collectively in our discussions together, made a strong commitment to try to keep (COVID-19) out.”

Most of all, Linda says the Village Green team always keeps the pandemic top of mind and people do not let their guard down.

“It’s a worry every day, (but) we are standing guard and we are trying our very best to keep our residents and staff safe,” she says.

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Springdale honours veterans with Remembrance Day programs

Although it was a smaller event this year due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Springdale Country Manor still honoured Remembrance Day on Nov. 11 with several activities throughout the day.

The day’s events included a two-minute moment of silence and a video program about Canada’s military history and Canadian veterans was played for residents throughout the day, says the Peterborough County long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney.

“We did our moment of silence, and in the afternoon one of the LEAs (life enrichment aides) brought a small group of residents together to do a service and to have singalongs,” she adds.

Sonia also read a poem and the Legion prayer over the intercom.

While there is only a few veterans living at Springdale Country Manor, the resident veterans received some extra attention, Sonia says.

“One resident veteran had a visit from her daughters, and for the other veterans we made sure they got some extra TLC,” she says.

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The Riverview Manor trees that keep on giving

Vinyl adhesive trees at the home have been used successfully by the BSO team to engage residents with cognitive impairment in meaningful activities

The Riverview Manor Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team has been using life-like vinyl adhesive trees to engage residents living with cognitive impairment in meaningful activities.

Riverview Manor bought the trees last year and recently put one up on a wall on each end of the Peterborough long-term care home for residents to decorate, explains registered practical nurse and BSO team lead Becky Dennie.

Residents and BSO team members have been spending time at the trees decorating them with paper leaves to match the seasons.

Currently, the trees have autumn leaves. When winter arrives, the trees will have winter items on them, Becky says.

The BSO team can take a couple of residents to the trees at a time and change the leaves to match the season as an activity, she adds.

Riverview Manor’s life enrichment department has also been using the trees to create resident programming, says life enrichment aide (LEA) Adam Wicklum.

During the Thanksgiving Weekend, LEA Taylor Ioannou accompanied residents from each side of the home to a tree and asked them to describe the things they were thankful for, Adam says.

Taylor wrote down residents’ words and placed them on colourful paper leaves with their initials.

The BSO team is also working with residents to decorate the trees during special holidays. For Halloween, there were pumpkins underneath the trees. Poppies were placed there for Remembrance Day. There will be a Christmas theme in December.

Most importantly, residents are enjoying their activities at the trees.

“The residents love the trees,” Becky says.

BSO is a provincial initiative that’s enhancing quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that can cause agitation. The funding, which is provided to long-term care homes through Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks, is largely put towards staff education.

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