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Journalist gives tips on how LTC homes should react to crisis

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From adverse events come opportunities to generate positive stories

Friday, April 4, 2014 — Deron Hamel

TORONTO – Opportunities often stem from a crisis and this is true for the long-term care sector, says André Picard. In fact, the Globe and Mail health reporter and columnist says long-term care homes and operators can use a crisis to promote the positive things they’re doing to bolster public confidence in the sector.

Picard was one of four panelists sharing thoughts on building public confidence in the long-term care sector as part of an April 1 session at the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA)/Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) 2014 Together We Care convention and trade show.

Generally speaking, the media will latch on to a story and keep “poking away” at it, Picard says. He cites the Jan. 23 fire at the Résidence du Havre in L’Isle-Verte, Que., which claimed more than 30 lives, as an example. The oldest area of the building was not equipped with sprinklers and the media has thrown the spotlight on the need for mandatory sprinkler systems in all long-term care and retirement homes.

In Ontario, privately owned long-term care homes are mandated to be equipped with sprinkler systems in the next five years, while public homes have until 2025. Still, many long-term care homes have installed sprinkler systems. Picard says in the wake of the L’Isle-Verte incident, long-term care providers who have sprinklers could have contacted media and invited reporters to their buildings to showcase their fire-safety systems.

“There was a great opportunity there to tell the story of (how) ‘our home has had sprinklers for 35 years and here’s why,’ ” Picard says.

Another incident that drew a lot of negative media attention was the beating death of a 72-year-old resident at a Scarborough long-term care home by another resident in March 2013.

In this case, Picard says long-term care providers could have invited reporters to their homes to explain the staff training programs they have to prevent resident aggression. Homes should also encourage reporters to talk with family members to hear about their positive experiences.

“Those are stories that people want to hear, because when (reporters) do these (negative) stories they’re depressing and you do want to tell the other side of them,” he says. “The biggest opportunity is to feed off the news.”

The annual OLTCA/ORCA Together We Care convention and trade show, which ran March 31 to April 2, is Canada’s largest gathering of long-term care and retirement home professionals.

Keep reading the OMNIway for more stories about this panel discussion.

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.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.

Panel emphasizes value of strong community relations in LTC

Panelists are seen here discussing the issue of public confidence in long-term care during the OLTCA/ORCA Together We Care convention and trade show.

Panelists are seen here discussing the issue of public confidence in long-term care during the OLTCA/ORCA Together We Care convention and trade show.

These healthy relationships are crucial for public confidence

Thursday, April 3, 2014 — Deron Hamel

TORONTO – A panel of media and communications experts underscored the importance of long-term-care home providers having robust relationships with news organizations, the public and residents’ families, during the Ontario Long Term Care Association/Ontario Retirement Communities Association 2014 Together We Care convention and trade show.

Speaking during an April 1 segment, the panel, which was moderated by author and journalist Steve Paikin, emphasized that having healthy relationships with these parties is especially important for long-term care homes in the wake of an adverse event.

Strong, healthy relationships with communities and local media can have a positive impact on public confidence if an adverse event happens in a long-term care home, the panel agreed.

“I would bring people in whenever you can. Have community events. It provides discipline,” said Toronto-based communications and stakeholder relations expert Robert Waite. “If you’re doing that constantly, you’re going to be paying a lot of attention to the little things from the perspective of families, relatives and even the media.”

Health-care consultant Tom Closson agreed, adding that by inviting journalists into a long-term care home to show them how it operates demonstrates transparency and provides the media with a context of understanding the issues homes, staff members and residents face.

“If you help (the media) do their job, they’ll help you do your job,” Closson said.

Globe and Mail health reporter and columnist André Picard has engaged with long-term care homes as a journalist and a family member. Picard, whose parents both lived in long-term care homes, said his experience as a family member was positive. Speaking as a journalist, Picard said by showcasing the quality care they deliver, homes can build a strong reputation and trust with communities and media.

“If you take care of every single one of your clients, you don’t have to worry about your reputation; it’s going to be solid,” he said. “And if something does go wrong, it’s not going to be a big deal, because the context will be there (and) people will know your values are good, your business is good, and it won’t be a big issue.”

The annual OLTCA/ORCA Together We Care convention and trade show, which ran March 31 to April 2, is Canada’s largest gathering of long-term care and retirement home professionals.

Keep reading the OMNIway for more stories about this panel discussion.

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.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.

Willows Estate residents host Easter

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Seniors baking, attending church luncheon to mark holiday

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 — Natalie Hamilton

Willows Estate residents will be keeping family close this Easter by inviting them home.

The Aurora long-term care home is hosting an Easter Sunday tea.

In the coming weeks, residents and life enrichment staff will be going out of their way to make the holiday an occasion to remember.

“Most of our residents aren’t able to go out to their families’ homes,” says life enrichment co-ordinator Teddy Mazzuca.

“This is their home so it’s just like them inviting family members over.”

Life enrichment staff and residents, as part of the home’s ongoing baking program, will make Easter-themed sweets the day before the event and serve their desserts to loved ones. “It’s a nice afternoon,” Mazzuca says, noting she anticipates a good turnout from residents and families alike.

In addition to baking for the luncheon, residents will be getting their hands sticky by making hot cross buns to enjoy on Good Friday.

To mark the religious aspect of Easter, a group of eight to 10 residents are heading to the Anglican church in Aurora for a service and luncheon April 9.

Since members of the church visit the home on a monthly basis, residents have become acquainted and developed friendships with people from the congregation, Mazzuca notes. “We always get invited to the Easter service and luncheon at the church.”

If you have feedback on this article or a story idea to share, please e-mail Natalie@axiomnews.ca or call the newsroom at 800-294-0051.

NPs are a valuable educational resource for LTC staff

Burnbrae Gardens team members discuss how NPs are sharing knowledge

The value nurse practitioners (NPs) bring to long-term care homes has been discussed extensively by the OMNIway recently, but as Burnbrae Gardens team members point out these health-care professionals also bring valuable educational resources to homes. Read more

Chris Weber named OSNM Kawarthas representative

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Nutrition and food-services manager hoping to bring shared experiences to OMNI

Friday, March 14, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Chris Weber has a long track record of dedication to food-services management, and this focus has led to him being named the Ontario Society of Nutrition Management’s (OSNM’s) Kawarthas chapter representative.

The OSNM is an organization dedicated to promoting the profession of nutrition management through education and advocacy in Ontario. Weber, OMNI Health Care’s nutrition and food services manager, says he hopes to build a network of new colleagues within the food-services industry through his position.

Weber adds that being a player in the OSNM will introduce him to many others with key interests in nutritional management and health care.

“I’m also really excited to bring the shared experiences back to OMNI,” he says.

Weber has been connected to the OSNM in the past, having attended the organization’s events. When he saw there was a vacancy for a Kawarthas representative, Weber says it was a “perfect opportunity” to enhance his career as a nutritional manager and to further his interest in the field.

“I contacted (OSNM president) Matthew Bombardier (about taking the position) and he thought it was a great idea, so I gave him more information about myself and my background and he welcomed me in and appointed me as the Area E Kawarthas region chapter representative,” Weber explains.

In this role, Weber will reach out to other nutritional managers in the community to bolster OSNM membership.

“This is exciting for me because it’s my first time as a board member, and I’m really excited about making new friends within the industry,” he 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 contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

NP announcement ‘exciting,’ says Frost Manor nurse

FrostManor

Nancy Lafete commends province for funding 75 in-house NPs over three years

March 12, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When long-term care residents need medical attention that cannot be provided by in-house nursing staff, they often need to be transferred to hospital. But when homes have access to a nurse practitioner (NP) this transfer is usually avoided — and the more transfers can be avoided the better, says Nancy Lafete.

Lafete, a charge nurse at Frost Manor, says the province’s March 3 announcement that 75 in-house NPs will be funded over the next three years is “exciting” news for Ontario long-term care homes. More NPs, she says, will help enhance quality of life for residents.

She has seen the strong value NPs bring to residents through Frost Manor’s involvement with the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) Nurse Practitioners Supporting Teams Averting Transfers (NPSTAT) program.

For about four years, the Lindsay long-term care home’s residents requiring medical treatment normally provided in hospital have had access to NP Sarah Reynolds through the initiative.

The result, says Lafete, has been that residents get to remain in their home for treatment.

“It’s really nice to have that support,” Lafete says. “The residents . . . stay comfortable here in their own surroundings; (the program) is working very well.”

NPs visit long-term care homes to provide on-site care for medical issues that front-line staff members are unable to treat. Some of their work includes writing prescriptions for antibiotics, administering IV therapies, doing post-fall assessments and performing G-tube reinsertions.

Michelle Acorn, the NP lead at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa, says the province’s announcement is good news for long-term care homes across Ontario.

She adds that NPs are a good fit for the long-term care sector.

“They know how to look after all ages and stages of health; they know how to look after seniors as well,” she says.

NPs are also focused on preventative care. When residents experience urinary tract infections, falls or wounds, NP’s will examine the causes and suggest measures that can be taken to prevent future occurrences, Acorn notes.

As part of the funding, long-term care homes that successfully apply but are unable to recruit an NP will be able to access the province’s new Grow Your Own Nurse Practitioner in Long-Term Care program.

Once launched in 2015-16, this initiative will support homes in providing registered nurses with the education and training to become NPs.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.