Almonte Country Haven is Workplace of the Year

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NOTE: We’ve received this good-news story from Omni Health Care, which has given us permission to reproduce it.


Award recognizes outstanding LTC homes for commitment to staff engagement, staff recognition and workplace culture

by Deron Hamel

Almonte Country Haven has been named the Ontario Long Term Care Association’s (OLTCA’s) Workplace of the Year for its commitment to staff engagement, staff recognition and workplace culture.

Almonte Country Haven team members are seen here after the Lanark County long-term care home received the OLTCA’s Workplace of the Year award.

Representatives from the Lanark County long-term care home were on hand to receive the award during a Nov. 29 ceremony at the OLTCA’s This is Long Term Care conference in Toronto.

In their submission to the OLTCA, Almonte Country Haven team members highlighted the Quest for Quality event they organized during OMNI’s Quality Forum at Calabogie Lodge in May. The event embraced each area the OLTCA was looking for in Workplace of the Year contenders: staff engagement, staff recognition and workplace culture.

The Quest for Quality, which was a take on the Amazing Race, brought team members from OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes together to perform tasks at stations focused on six different aspects of quality in long-term care: programming, activities of daily living, infection control, food services, safety and emergency preparedness.

The teams had a physical challenge at each station. For instance, at the infection-control station, people had to put on and remove personal protective equipment. At the food-services station, team members had to taste-test food that was pureed.

Given that all team members in OMNI homes play crucial roles in upholding high quality standards, the Quest for Quality was created to highlight the different aspects of quality and to underscore that quality relates to every aspect of long-term care homes – not just nursing.

“We cannot underplay the importance of every department in our home and the quality that they add to the resident experience,” Almonte Country Haven administrator Carolyn Della Foresta tells The OMNIway, noting residents were involved in the process of creating the event and even helped make the props.

“We wanted to make sure that no department in our home was excluded, and that’s why we made sure we had a station to represent each department and each discipline.”

The home’s submission also focused on the Heart of the Haven program launched in 2016. The Heart of the Haven program encourages residents, families and staff members to recognize the hard work people do by writing notes of appreciation on specially made cards.

The program aims to ensure staff members have everlasting reminders of the positive impact they have on residents and their co-workers.

Almonte Country Haven has also implemented “quality huddles,” which are meetings held every morning at 10:45 to discuss issues affecting quality in the home. Carolyn says the huddles have increased staff engagement and have been key to quality improvement in the home.

“(Staff members) have expressed that they feel included (and) heard, and overall communication has improved with direct quality benefits to our residents through the continuity of their care,” Carolyn says.

Carolyn says the Almonte Country Haven team is proud to have received the Workplace of the Year award, and proud that OMNI selected the home’s submission to be sent to the OLTCA for consideration.

“It was truly an honour for (the OLTCA) to accept our submission, and it was really fantastic that OMNI looked at us and said, ‘we really want to recognize the strides you have made in your home,’ ” she says.

The OLTCA is an organization advocating for Ontario’s long-term care sector. The OLTCA represents about 70 per cent of Ontario’s 630 long-term care homes.