Wiky Nursing Home regains beds; families able to reunite

by Nancy McDermid

WIKWEMIKONG—Admissions to the Wikwemikong Nursing Home have resumed as of May 24 following the lifting of sanctions and approval by the Ministry of Health.

“We have gone over two years without an admission and we have now brought the care of the residents up to standards,” said Director of Care and Administration, Elizabeth Cooper. “We are now working as a competent team with common goals.”

One of those goals is to reunite family members, the director explained. “Our first admission since the sanctions were lifted was a woman from M’Chigeeng reunited with her brother,” Ms. Cooper said.

Two brothers were also reunited after one had been in waiting in hospital for a year.

The nursing home capacity is 59 residents. On June 15, the numbers were at 40 residents, leaving room for 19 more people currently on a waiting list to be admitted. “We are taking one person a week and then, in three weeks time, two people a week until we are full,” Ms. Cooper said.

Significant changes have occurred at the nursing home including the provision of a 24/7 nursing staff and the certification of personal support workers (PSW).

“One of the Ministry stipulations was that our PSW’s become certified, so they took courses through Canadore College and I am proud to say that we are 100 percent PSW certified and have registered nurses on staff round the clock,” said Ms. Cooper.

A new integrated technology has improved communication and charting of resident information. ‘Point and click care,’ is a system shared by all the employees and involves the use of a ‘point of care tablet’ posted in the hallway enabling PSWs to chart a resident’s care at the point of service. By touching the screen, the information is entered immediately, saving both time and paper.

Physical renovations include an upgrade to the generator system, and new flooring. The walkway was replaced with new tiling featuring a medicine wheel, much to the delight of the residents.

“The residents are quite happy about all the changes and are excited about having new admissions,” said Activity Director Amanda Wassegijig.

Celebrating Senior’s Month in June, the activity director has brought back an old tradition of the bazaar featuring live entertainment, bingo and a barbecue.

“We also go on community outings such as to Manitowaning’s Summerfest, the Chi-Cheemaun and the Wikwemikong community powwow,” Ms. Wassegijig said.

“It is important to us that we maintain the continuity of our culture through the programs we offer here,” said Ms. Cooper, who confirmed that the Anishinaabemowin language is spoken at the nursing home.

A gardening project is also in the works, supported by the Wikwemikong Lands Department and many residents enjoy working in the garden.

Another interesting feature is a nursing residence on the grounds.

“In order to recruit and retain nurses, a nursing residence at the back of the nursing home has been renovated with funds provided by council through the support of Chief Hazel Fox-Recollect,” said Ms. Cooper.

With an increase in numbers, the continuity of nursing is important. “We are also expecting to hire more PSWs,” the director said.

Enthusiastic about the changes that have occurred and the lifting of sanctions Ms. Cooper added, “We have worked hard in the past few years and are now providing safe care and maintaining the dignity of the residents.”