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Long Term Care, Retirement Homes, and Related Facilities Newsletter, Fall 2014

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BPS Update

What, you might ask, is the BPS?

The BPS represents workers the Broader Public Service. As a person who works in long term care, a retirement home, or related facilities, you are a member of OPSEU’s BPS, also known as Sector 8.

OPSEU holds it BPS meeting every two years. Our next gathering will be June 5-7, 2015.

This is how OPSEU apportions the number of delegates eligible to attend a BPS conference:

If your local or unit has between one and 100 members it is entitled to send two delegates. More than 100 and the local or unit can send 3 delegates. OPSEU head office funds all eligible delegates.

The local president or unit steward of a long term care retirement home or related facilities sector is automatically entitled to by the first delegate from her/his bargaining unit.

Mark your calendar for next year’s BPS conference and talk with your members about the benefits of attending. Attending a BPS conference is a great way to learn more about others  working in long term care and a fun way to meet other OPSEU member activists.

Do we have your email address?

Make sure your contact information is up to date.

Call OPSEU Resource Centre at 1-888-268-7376 or 416-443-8888 to update your contact information

Visit opseu.org

Mind Games

"I want to go home, can you help me get out of here?" Does this sound like one of your residents?

Wandering and lost with dementia and Alzheimer's disease are conditions that, as care providers, we have all dealt with one time or another in our careers. How can we help with this feeling and constant need for these residents who attempt to leave our units?

 Has your facility considered ‘diversional doors?

What, exactly, are they?

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A diversional door (see photo on your left) is a way of making the mind believe it sees objects that are not actually present.  It masks, for example, an exit door to the outside. That, in turn, stops exit-seeking behaviour before clients can possibly harm themselves..

"These ‘exit-diversion’ doors have proven to decrease such anxiety and deter a resident from wandering out, putting their safety at risk. People with dementia are often not able to pick out the door in this situation, unlike those who do not have a cognitive impairment,"  says Amy Appel, a program co-ordinator with Edgewater Gardens in Dunnville.

By decreasing the number of attempts to leave a unit or facility we are reducing the number of behaviours that direct care staff confront during a shift.

Long term care facilities should take a closer look at diversional doors. Take the idea to your managers and see if there is interest on their part to improve the security at your facility.

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(Note: Brian and Karen of BKRC Art Effects Painting Life Better produce diversional doors. They can be reached by calling (519) 284-3149).

Navigating OPSEU’s new website

Everywhere we look technology is changing the way we do things. It’s no different at OPSEU where our union has introduced a brand new look to its website: www.opseu.org.

The first time I looked at it I was a bit startled. But the feeling soon gave way to the fact that the new website makes surfing the web a whole lot easier.

The following is a quick primer on navigating the new OPSEU website and finding the information you may need.

To find our sector, click on Members Info. Look to the right hand side and locate Division or Sector. Click and scroll down to Long Term Care. Click on it to find news postings related to the sector.

To find the executive, newsletters, go to What Committee and look for Division/Sector. Members Info has different links that will lead you to the grievance data base, health & safety, equity, discount programs, education, and pension & benefits.

Updating your membership has sometimes been a struggle for locals. It is now available online. You will need the member’s union number which can be found on your local membership list which is mailed to your president. Under the Contact Us title is where you will find the link. If you don’t know your membership number you can update your contact information by calling the OPSEU Resource Centre at 1-888-268-7376 or 416-443-8888.

Another key area is Join Us. Here you will find information on our newest members, resources you need, FAQs and information for those who may want to join OPSEU.  The resources page will allow you access to printed material and videos that our organizing department has produced, such as union basics and owner’s manual, to name a few. When you welcome new employees into your local or unit you will find some great information in these manuals.

The About Us link is a web section where equity information, the history of OPSEU, our constitution and job opportunities can be found.  By scrolling down you can gain contact information for local presidents, the website survey, information on the executive board info and more about our constitution.

OPSEU has more than 130,000 members who work in many areas of the provincial public service. As diverse as our membership is, so too is the information you can find on the new website. Whether it may be finding a contact, keeping up on the latest labour news or looking through the grievance data base, you are sure to find what you need!

By Joan Corradetti, Chair, Sector 8

Provincial Women's Committee 2014; Bread and Roses winner one of our own!

Have you ever just turned on the tap and enjoyed the refreshing water that quenches your thirst? As Canadians, we take this basic human resource for granted.

I am Shannon Nolan, RPN. I am a wife, mother and friend to many. I have seen firsthand how water is not a luxury in all parts of the world.

In 2012 I was chosen to participate in OPSEU’s Solidarity Africa Tour. While in Malawi I was touched by the spirit and generosity of the people of that country in more ways than I can put into words.

On returning to Canada I, like most of us, performed daily routines like shopping, running tap water and a host of other things that we take for granted. At the same time I needed – as a woman, mother and nurse – to provide a gift to the people of Malawi that would benefit them for a long period of time.

In Malawi water was treated as a gift of life. For Canadians, it’s a commodity we take for granted. It’s a source of peace.

Drawing on its resources through the Social Justice Fund, OPSEU has shared what we take for granted in our country – water – with the community of Nguwo.

The words of a Malawian girl, aged 6, will stay with me forever.

“Thanks to OPSEI for the gift of water,” the little girl told me. “I will not get diarrhea disease and die.”

How can a mother not be touched by those words forever?

One lesson shared with us while in Malawi was came from Doug Miller. [who is this guy? Another OPSEUite? NGO worker?] He told us that: “Providing a hand up and not a hand out” was a true meaning of a gift.

My decision was made. I would fundraise here in Canada to provide a gift of water to the people of Malawi. We succeeded by raising the $6,000 required to install the well.

The village of Kawiza was selected to receive the well. It had suffered tremendously by drought conditions and the presence of the HIV-AIDS virus.

In August this year, I returned to Malawi to witness first-hand the installation of the well in Kawiza.

Thanks to this gift from generous Canadians, grandmothers will no longer have to walk 10 km roundtrip each day to fetch a bucket of water for basic washing and cooking needs. Their only other local source had been water from deep holes that animals drank from, and urinated in to – and only when the rains came.

Imagine for a moment what your life would be like if you relied on yourself, or a daughter or a grandmother, or an aunt, to provide your family with this most basic of human need?

A hand up, not a hand out, is the gift of water. A source of income generation to grow crops, provide clean drinking water and to decrease to spread of diseases, is a gift that I and other generous donors provided to a grateful people thousands of kilometres away.

Women of Malawi

Your October 2014 Bulletin is authorized for distribution by Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President, OPSEU