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Willows Estate residents craft sentiments of love

Singer, candy carts part of Valentine’s Day celebrations

Love, flowers and candy are three things that come to mind for Willows Estate residents as they contemplate the meaning of Valentine’s Day. Read more

Evacusleds could ‘save a lot of lives’ in emergencies: PSW

 

Willows Estate fire-safety team members prepare to move a volunteer on a mattress fitted with an Evacusled during a mock evacuation.

Willows Estate fire-safety team members prepare to move a volunteer on a mattress fitted with an Evacusled during a mock evacuation.

Willows fire-safety team member attests to value of new devices

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 — Deron Hamel

If a fire ever broke out in a long-term care home equipped with Evacusleds, the devices would “save a lot of lives,” says Willows Estate personal support worker (PSW) and fire-safety team member Hayley Barclay.

Barclay spoke to the OMNIway days after the Aurora long-term care home completed its first-ever vertical evacuation — bringing people down flights of stairs — during a fire drill on Feb. 28.

Evacusleds are devices with tiny wheels that fit under bed mattresses. In an emergency, staff members can rush into the rooms of residents who have Evacusleds, lift residents to the floor without getting them out of bed, and pull them across the floor to safety in short order.

“I think the value of the Evacusleds is priceless,” Barclay says, adding the team only had two weeks of training with the devices before the mock evacuation. “The (Evacusleds are) great; they’re easy to use and easy to explain to people.”

Not only did the fire-safety team safely “rescue” 42 resident and staff-member volunteers in an exercise that ran smoothly, they did it in only 26 minutes, a feat Central York Fire Services (CYFS) Capt. Ryan Schell says is “unheard-of.”

“That even blew my mind,” says Barclay of the team’s success. “I didn’t think we would be able to do it in that amount of time.”

Willows Estate is the first long-term care home in the Newmarket-Aurora region that CYFS has seen use Evacusleds, says Schell. Willows Estate recently bought 12 of the devices.

Before the alarm was sounded to start the evacuation, Barclay says she was feeling anxiety, but as soon as the drill began, she was focused and her fire-safety training kicked in. Having the Evacusleds made the exercise run smooth for the team, she adds.

Barclay says she recommends other long-term care homes invest in Evacusleds to enhance resident safety.

Aside from being excellent safety devices, Evacusleds are also comfortable, she adds. Even in the event of an emergency, residents whose beds are fitted with the devices would feel little disruption.

“I’ve been in an Evacusled and you don’t feel a thing, even going down stairs,” Barclay says.

Click here to watch a YouTube video of the evacuation.

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.

Willows Estate ‘leading the way’ in LTC fire safety: CYFS captain

RN Christine Quizon is seen here preparing to evacuate a staff volunteer during Willows Estate's Feb. 28 fire drill.

RN Christine Quizon is seen here preparing to evacuate a staff volunteer during Willows Estate’s Feb. 28 fire drill.

Team’s top-notch preparedness evacuates second floor in 26 minutes during drill

Monday, March 3, 2014 — Deron Hamel

AURORA, Ont. – Central York Fire Services (CYFS) fire prevention officer Capt. Ryan Schell says the success of Willows Estate’s Feb. 28 evacuation drill shows the home is “leading the way” in fire safety in the region’s long-term care homes.

Schell is referring to the fact the Aurora long-term care home’s fire safety team was able to evacuate 42 staff and resident volunteers from rooms on the second floor and down a flight of stairs in only 26 minutes.

“That’s unheard of,” Schell tells the OMNIway, moments after the drill was complete. “Not only did they do it in a timely manner, I think they’re leading the way. . . . When it comes to evacuating people, these guys are at the top of their game.”

Rooms were evacuated in about 90 seconds each. The fire zone was evacuated in 10 minutes. Schell says these times “well exceed” provincial fire safety standards.

Prior to the evacuation drill, the home’s fire safety team spent two weeks preparing for it. Schell commends team members for their effort.

“The fire safety team here at the Willows went above and beyond,” he says.

This is the first time the Willows team has performed a “vertical evacuation” down a stairwell. It’s also the first time the Willows used Evacusleds during a fire safety drill.

Evacusleds are devices with tiny wheels that fit under bed mattresses. In an emergency, staff members can rush into the rooms of residents who have Evacusleds, lift residents to the floor without getting them out of bed, and pull them across the floor to safety in short order.

The home recently bought 12 of these state-of-the-art emergency devices.

CYFS personnel are so impressed with how quickly people were evacuated they’ve borrowed one of the Evacusleds from Willows Estate for a month to use in demonstrations.

Most fires happen between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. With this in mind, Willows Estate simulated a night shift, with six staff members on hand to perform the drill. Night charge nurse and fire safety team member Lesley Noordhuis says she and other participants were anxious ahead of the drill, but when the time came, everyone jumped into their roles seamlessly.

“As long as everyone works together as a team, it will go smoothly — and what we did today just proves that,” she says

Stay tuned to the OMNIway for Part 2 of this story: CYFS Using Willows Example for Training

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.

Work placement steers students towards LTC

Willows Estate’s environment of respect helped one student decide on her career

November 18, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Three York University nursing students says their work placement at Willows Estate has been a guiding light in helping them choose a career when they graduate.

The students are currently doing their work placement at the Aurora long-term care home.

“All three of us can say that after doing this placement, yes, we are (looking into careers in long-term care),” one of the students, Jacqueline Sands, tells the OMNIway.

“From the moment we walked in, we have been embraced and respected, and the staff members have educated us on what the environment is like. We’ve just learned so much here.”

Sands says what cemented her decision to pursue a career in the sector is the environment she has found at Willows Estate.

“It’s the environment here and the respect between all the members of staff and the care that they show the residents — this is the biggest thing for me,” she says.

“If my parents were ever looking for (a long-term care home), this is the place I would consider.”

Another benefit to working in a long-term care home, she notes, is the skill set nursing professionals can develop.

This was evident to her and the other students on their first day. Being involved with developing resident activities, for example, is one aspect of working in a long-term care home that appeals to her, Sands says, adding that the Willows Estate team has empowered the students to take ownership of many of the things they are doing at the home.

“When we got here, we didn’t know what we would be doing, and the chance to help plan activities and educate has been awesome to be a part of,” she says.

“If you have an idea to make this place even better than it already is, (the staff members) encourage you.”

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.

Think pink: Willows raises breast cancer awareness

Home hosts its first Pink Day

October 23, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Given that the majority of staff members and residents at Willows Estate are women, it was fitting for the Aurora long-term care home to host Pink Day to support breast cancer research and awareness, says life enrichment co-ordinator Teddy Mazzuca.

Because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, administrator Linda Burr suggested at the start of October that the Willows team reserve

Willows Estate residents Joan Caldwell and Margaret Cunningham are seen here during the home's Oct. 11 Pink Day.

Willows Estate residents Joan Caldwell and Margaret Cunningham are seen here during the home’s Oct. 11 Pink Day.

a day to raise awareness of breast cancer, a disease that will affect approximately one in every nine Canadian women in their lifetime.

“It was nice to be able to give our support,” Mazzuca tells the OMNIway, adding that this is the first Pink Day the home has hosted.

Residents and staff members began organizing the Oct. 11 event. The first thing the group did was make pink tie-dyed T-shirts. Residents and staff members also baked cupcakes frosted with pink icing that were sold on Pink Day.

The team also sold pink grapefruit flavoured Tic Tac mints. Pink Tic Tacs are sold in autumn in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the manufacturer, Ferraro, makes a $100,000 donation to breast cancer research.

According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, 23,800 women and 200 men in Canada will be diagnosed with the disease in 2013.

Click here for more information on the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Do you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway? If so, 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, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.