The Work That Matters at OMNI Health Care . . . pg. 3
Bringing Hope & Humanity to health care
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Bringing OMNI Motto to NYC
Meredith Tomas and Kevin Montero deliver hope and humanity to LTC homes destroyed in storm By Jeanne Pengelly KANATA, Ont. - It’s not every day, or even once in a lifetime, that most nurses will experience what two staff members at Garden Terrace encountered last month. Meredith Tomas and
A Warm Embrace Maplewood restorative care aide Lynanne Campbell, left, and resident Barbara Plue pause for a moment during a recent Christmas party at the Brighton long-term care home.
Steadfast Commitment to Quality Pays Off in 2012 Residents’ lives improved, OMNI awarded By Deron Hamel Focusing on quality was OMNI Health Care's mission at the start of 2012, and it has remained top of mind throughout the organization this year, says president and CEO Patrick McCarthy. McCarthy cites rolling out the Quality Matters program, earning recognition for the organization’s fallsprevention initiative and success of the Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) program as some of the long-term care provider’s top wins in 2012. Each of these successes ties in with OMNI’s focus
for 2012: quality. Quality Matters is OMNI’s newest core program. OMNI’s website states what the program is all about: “Quality Matters because it will improve each resident’s individual experience in our homes and ultimately enhance their quality of life. It will also make our homes a better place to work for our staff and for our families to visit.” From OMNI’s perspective, “quality” is a far-reaching term, focusing on many areas of long-term care. It refers not only to the care people are provided, but also the
activities offered, food served and the homes themselves. The organization was recognized this year for its commitment to quality in April when it earned the Ontario Long Term Care Association’s 2012 Quality Improvement Recognition Program Team of the Year award for its fallsprevention program, a proud moment for the organization, says McCarthy. He adds that OMNI has continued to build upon its falls-prevention program since then. “We’ve done a lot more See 'BSO' page 3
Kevin Montero drove to New York City in a van laden with briefs, toiletries, socks, clothes and blankets, and what they found when they arrived caused a cascade of tears they’d never imagined. See 'Staff ' page 4
Forest Hill Hosts Wellness Day
Event engaged residents, staff, families and community in health and well-being By Jeanne Pengelly and Deron Hamel KANATA, Ont. - The staff could hardly wait to line up for it, family members managed to squeeze in a short visit to it, and residents also took part. The mini “wellness day”
at Forest Hill Nov. 21 was organized by resident services co-ordinator Ruth Hodgins, after Shoppers Home Health Care, an OMNI Health Care supplier, suggested the home host an event to encourage people See 'Prioritizing' page 4
Country Terrace RPN Earns OLTCA Award
Anne Marggraf recognized for leadership in restorative-care program By Deron Hamel Country Terrace registered practical nurse (RPN) and RAI co-ordinator Anne Marggraf has been recognized by the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) with a Nursing Leadership Award for establishing the home’s
restorative-care program. Marggraf created the program about a year ago after seeing the need to help residents maintain and improve their functionality. By setting achievable goals with input from front-line staff and creating markers to See 'RPN's' page 2
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Burnbrae Gardens Doubles as Film Set
A 'great community partnership' helps Humber College students
Country Terrace RAI co-ordinator Anne Marggraf (centre) earned an OLTCA Nursing Leadership Award at the organization's fall symposium.
RPN’s Program Improving Mobility Continued from page 1 show progress, staff members were motivated to work further with residents and celebrate their success. The program sees participating residents receive awards for their achievements in improving their mobility through restorative care. Since it was launched, the program has seen many residents improve their mobility. Improved mobility not only fosters independent walking, it also helps people care for themselves better. If a person is more agile, they are also more able to perform daily living activities, such as eating and personal grooming. “There are all kinds of areas where we try to improve their mobility, and that’s important (because) it contributes to their independence,” says Marggraf, adding one of her favourite success stories stemming from the program was seeing a resident regain the ability to eat independently. The program rewards
people for their achievements. The number of metres each resident walks is recorded and certificates acknowledging successes are regularly handed out. Recognizing residents for their successes has created buy-in, Marggraf says. “When we’re late handing the certificates out, they will ask for them,” the RPN says. Country Terrace administrator Karen Dann commends Marggraf for establishing the program and her “passion and commitment” to helping residents improve their quality of life. “Anne demonstrates the OMNIway in her day-to-day dealings with residents, families, front-line staff and other managers,” Dann adds. The award was presented to Marggraf during the OLTCA’s recent fall symposium. Four awards recognizing two RNs and two RPNs for nursing leadership are given out each year during the symposium. “It feels good to be recognized,” Marggraf says of earning the honour.
New Year, New Possibilities! The OMNIway would like to know what your greatest hopes are for 2013. Call 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail email@example.com to share your story.
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Burnbrae Gardens doubled as a movie studio recently when a group of Toronto film students used the Campbellford long-term care home as the setting for a romantic comedy about love between seniors.
“. . . it (was) something totally different and unique (for Burnbrae Gardens).” — April Faux, administrator and life enrichment coordinator, Burnbrae Gardens
The film, I Love Rhonda, was written by Campbellford native Tyler Schrieder and fellow Humber College student Nathaniel Lingard. The film is part of the students’ third-year thesis. The plot takes place in a retirement home and centres on two elderly men vying for the affection of a female resident.
“It’s like a high-school story, except it’s set in a retirement home,” Schrieder tells the OMNIway. Production began in July, but finding a location to film wasn’t easy. The students were turned down by several long-term care and retirement homes throughout the Greater Toronto Area; they found that homes either would not allow filming inside or wanted large sums of money outside their budget. The students then approached Burnbrae Gardens. They spoke with the home’s management and OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy about their project. After all legalities were checked, the students were given the OK to begin filming. Schrieder says he and other students are grateful to McCarthy and Burnbrae Gardens administrator and life enrichment
co-ordinator April Faux for allowing them to shoot the film at the home Nov. 23-25 for free. “April and Patrick were kind enough to give us the chance,” says Schrieder. Filming took place during times that would not inconvenience residents or staff members. Several areas of the home were used for scenes, including the infirmary, hallways, lounge and dining room. Residents even volunteered to get in on the action, with some taking roles as extras. “It’s a great community partnership,” says Faux, adding it feels good to be able to support the students' project. “And it (was) something totally different and unique (for Burnbrae Gardens).” The film is now in post-production and the final version, which will be 10-15 minutes, will be screened for the first time in spring. — DH
Resident Agitation, PRN Meds Greatly Reduced at Riverview Manor Success attributed to BSO team, staff education Riverview Manor has seen resident agitation and administration of pro re nata (PRN) medication — pharmaceuticals given on an as-needed basis — significantly decrease in 2012, successes that are being attributed to the home’s participation in the Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) project as well as staff education. The Peterborough longterm care home became involved with BSO in March. Since then, the number of residents with new or responsive agitation has declined 35.5 per cent, while the rate of PRN medication administration has dropped 34.4 per cent. Pharmaceuticals considered PRN medications include psychotropic and anti-anxiety medications as
well as sedatives. These results were recently tallied and submitted to the Central East Local Health Integration Network. “We are very excited about these numbers and have been able to obtain them by the initiation of BSO, staff education and Montessori techniques used within this home,” says registered practical nurse and manager of resident quality Becky Dennie. “It feels good to see these types of results,” adds Dennie, who is also on the BSO team. BSO is a $40-million provincial initiative aimed at enhancing quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation. The funding, which is provided to longterm care homes through
Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks, is largely put towards staff education. In its effort to keep resident agitation at a minimum, Riverview Manor has also initiated a train-the-trainer program for the BSO team to teach other staff members Montessori techniques, which have been a major part of the success in the decrease of resident agitation, says Dennie. Montessori techniques can calm people affected by agitation by helping them focus on things of interest to them. Additionally, 44 staff members are trained in gentle persuasion techniques, and all staff members are trained in OMNI Health Care’s Supportive Measures program. — DH
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The Work That Matters at OMNI Health Care
Lest We Forget Stuart Lee, right, and Jack Barr, far left, two veterans living at Almonte Country Haven, take part in a Remembrance Day ceremony Nov. 9.
Infection Control a Key Strength DOC Brings to OMNI Empowering residents and staff to champion infection control is important to Kerri-Anne Wilson
By Deron Hamel Kerri-Anne Wilson has worked several years as a nurse in the public-health sector, and this background has allowed her to bring a key strength to Burnbrae Gardens — infection control expertise. Wilson, who also has experience in long-term care and community-care nursing, became the Campbellford long-term care residence’s director of care (DOC) in August. Underscoring her strengths, Wilson’s knowledge of outbreak prevention and management has provided her teaching opportunities and experience developing
policies and procedures. She has even worked with OMNI Health Care head office to provide an infectioncontrol perspective when considering supplier contracts. Wilson says it’s the hands-on care she has enjoyed most about the past three months at the home. She also enjoys contributing to making Burnbrae Gardens a home for residents, which she says has been made easy by having “a great management team to work with.” Infection control is a serious issue in long-term care, and it’s an area where Wilson says she hopes to make a positive impact at
Burnbrae Gardens. One way Wilson says she plans to do this is by teaching people directly about the important role hand-hygiene plays in keeping infections and outbreaks at bay. This means educating both staff members and residents. “For me, it’s about empowering the staff and the residents to understand the importance and empowering them to become champions in infection control,” she says. “If I’m washing my hands and I teach (a resident) how to wash his hands, then the chances of him getting a urinary tract infection (are decreased).”
BSO a Major Part of Quality Improvement Continued from page 1 work in terms of identifying the nature of falls and assessing how falls have arisen and addressing falls prevention on an individual basis as well as systemically,” he says. McCarthy cites OMNI’s involvement with the province’s BSO program as another win this year. BSO is a $40-million provincial initiative aimed at enhancing quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation. Each of
OMNI’s 17 long-term care homes is involved with BSO to some degree. Shortly after launching BSO at Streamway Villa earlier this year, the home announced it had decreased resident agitation by 50 per cent, and restraint use had also significantly declined. Illustrating successes stemming from BSO, Riverview Manor recently credited the initiative for helping the Peterborough long-term care home decrease resident agitation and pro re
nata (PRN) medication — pharmaceuticals given on an as-needed basis — by 35.5 and 34.4 per cent, respectively. These two homes have received specific BSO training, and are using that training to teach other homes a variety of interventions, such as Montessori methods. McCarthy notes that BSO has also helped enhance quality by building upon OMNI’s Supportive Measures program, which is dedicated to providing individualized care, through its interventions.
Recently, Axiom News launched a video news gathering service for one of its most long-standing clients — OMNI Health Care. Part of that service was a "generative journey" to help identify some of the energies and anxieties around palliative care. Generative journalism aims to discover the strengths in an organization, and generate growth and change that makes the organization more sustainable, more deeply rooted and more vibrant. The journeys start with a designed inquiry, and in the case of OMNI Health Care, the inquiry was about end-of-life care — what has been rewarding, what has been challenging, what do we dream of for the future, and how can we walk that walk together. Without exception, the occasion to be in some of OMNI Health Care's homes more frequently and for longer periods has offered a convincing array of dedication to a single mission — quality of life. A smattering of examples: a dedicated kitchen staff member cries when she talks about how she supports palliative families during their end-of-life experiences; a personal support worker stops an interview to call out to a resident who is repeating her name — "I'll be right there," she says. "Don't worry. I'm right outside your door", a nurse sings as he makes his way from room to room, addressing residents' needs; a life-enrichment co-ordinator talks about how she was just a part-time employee, but was moved
to return to school to learn the skills to join the OMNI Health Care team full time. There are so many more. A cheek pressed to another so the resident can again hear the kind "hello," the one misplaced over and over by a brain bent by dementia. The warm greeting of a senior staff to a long-time resident. The gentle redirection of one who appears lost. These are the stories, one by one, that shape Axiom News' inquiry into the possibilities for the future at OMNI, an inquiry made crucial because of an aging demographic, a fundamental question about the meaning and delivery possibilities of an institutional care model, and, frankly, the demand for new solutions in the face of withering bank accounts. We ask a thirtysomething RN about her dream for her own aging years and without a second's hesitation, she answers: "I'd like to be in a place just like this." We inquire further, and it's not the place she holds dear, but rather the care, the love and the genuine empathy that puts a spring in the steps of the caregivers, and a smile in the corners of their mouths — even a tear that escapes from an eye, or a lump that settles in a throat. There is genuine love in OMNI Health Care homes. Sure, they have challenges, but without doubt the culture in OMNI homes moves beyond the difficulties to the possibilities. OMNI Health Care employees are busy with today's work — a hug, a whisper, a hand to hold, a smile to share, a tear to shed.
OMNIway Bringing Hope & Humanity to health care
OMNIway news is published daily at www.omniway.ca and distributed bimonthly in print to the long-term care community. OMNI Health Care 2020 Fisher Drive Suite 1 Peterborough ON K9J 6X6 Telephone: 705-748-6631 Fax: 705-742-9197
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Staff Provide Hurricane Relief Continued from page 1 Tomas had heard that five long-term care homes in Brooklyn had been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, and that the residents were being housed — all 500 of them — in an old drill hall. “One of the homes was a 162-bed facility, much like our home here, and to think that our residents would be without their valuables, their trinkets, because people had looted the residence, was just too much to imagine,” Tomas tells the OMNIway.
“One of the homes was a 162-bed facility, much like our home here, and to think that our residents would be without their valuables, their trinkets, because people had looted the residence, was just too much to imagine.” — Meredith Tomas, nurse, Garden Terrace With the support of Garden Terrace administration and other OMNI Health Care homes, suppliers, staff and families that made donations, she and Montero made a one-day trip to that drill hall Nov. 3. “Our motto (at OMNI) is to bring hope and humanity to health care, and there was no humanity there at the time,” Tomas says. The hurricane had hit three weeks prior to their visit, and residents were without essentials. Some staff had abandoned duties to deal with their own tragedies, and supplies had run out. “We had an idea it was going to be emotional. I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of the sights and the sounds and the residents coming up and asking you if you have anymore large briefs because I ran out three days ago,” she says, fighting back tears.
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Tomas and Montero organized the trip over a short 10-day span — soliciting, collecting and labeling supplies, packing them into boxes, and then driving the eight hours to New York City. The border crossing was smooth because of the effort the pair put into labeling and because of the dire need in the wake of the hurricane. The arrival in Brooklyn wasn’t nearly as smooth. Bridges were washed out and Montero had to reroute several times, as Tomas desperately tried to navigate to a safe crossing. And that was nothing compared to what they found when they arrived — elderly people sitting outside trying to take in some sunlight, an old drill hall that had been turned into a YMCA gymnasium, complete with chain-link fence to delineate isolation areas, green garbage bags to catch vomit and diarrhea. Dysentery had struck the makeshift shelter because the residents were forced to drink contaminated water; it was all there was. “The sights, sounds and the smells were something I wouldn’t wish on anybody,” Tomas says, “especially the elderly.” The last evacuees left Park Slope Armory Nov. 18, more than two and a half weeks after the Garden Terrace team delivered the badly needed supplies. Most moved to transitional housing, since their long-term care homes were under repair. A week after their trip to New York, Tomas and Montero were still processing the experience, texting often, supporting one another, talking with co-workers, and shedding tears. The shock, even for Tomas, who has volunteered for various projects as long as she can remember, is slow to wear off. “To think this was New York City was shocking to us,” she says. “The memories just keep flooding back.”
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Forest Hill's Wellness Day Nov. 21 drew staff, residents and families to displays and information booths that encouraged wellness from head to toe.
Prioritzing Well-being Continued from page 1 to focus on their well-being. The event drew support from the local community, physicians and others. Screening services were available as well as seminars on various topics related to wellness. “I think everybody’s so busy they don't realize that they need to take the time to think about staying well,” Hodgins says, adding staff members so thoroughly enjoyed the reflexology stations that “some of them fell asleep during their sessions.”
Along with three reflexology technicians, two Forest Hill staff members were on hand, complete with giveaways, to answer questions about nutrition and healthy eating choices during stressful times. Reflexology is an alternative medicine where practitioners apply pressure to points on hands and feet to enhance physical health. A station dedicated the value of compression stockings, hosiery that helps in the prevention or worsening of venous conditions, such as thrombosis
and edema, drew attention from visitors as well, including staff members. In fact, Hodgins says Shoppers Home Health Care is interested in returning to Forest Hill to present in-services to staff members as they too can benefit from compression stockings. This is not the first time Forest Hill has hosted an event dedicated to wellness. In 2010, the Kanata longterm care home hosted Passport to Wellness, an event focused on educating people about osteoporosis, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Pleasant Meadow Manor Says Goodbye to Gail Sawyer Retiring from the home, she'll return often as a friend By Kristian Partington Gail Sawyer has been at the core of the Pleasant Meadow Manor team since the home opened its doors in Norwood nearly 24 years ago. Today, however, she is considered just a friend when she walks through the door because when she clocked out on Nov. 14, her retirement officially began. Sawyer has always been a dedicated member of the housekeeping team, someone who environmental services manager Shari Bertrand says was infallible in her flexibility and commitment to the residents she served. Bertrand says there will
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be many sorrow-filled hearts among residents knowing they won’t be seeing Sawyer on a regular basis. “She’s awesome with the residents,” Bertrand says. “They just love her because she takes that extra couple minutes with them.” Bertrand says every shift she could count on Sawyer to bring energy, happiness and a willingness to help make life easier for the rest of the staff, despite the extra efforts she might have to exert. Sawyer says that while she excited as she looks forward to the freedom that will come with a more flexible schedule, she’ll look back on
her time at the home with fond memories. Just as she’ll be missed by the residents, the close connections she enjoys with them will be on her mind in retirement. “I’ve made some nice friends with them,” Sawyer says. “I don’t live very far away, though,” so she’ll be able to visit often. As for what’s next? “I’m just going to do what I want to do a little bit more,” she says with a laugh, noting it’ll be hard to get used to not having to consider her work schedule all the time as she makes plans.
Funding for this OMNI publication has been provided in part by the following Local Health Integration Networks: Central LHIN, South East LHIN, Champlain LHIN, South West LHIN, Central East LHIN