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Author Archives: CareHelps

Care Sensory Experience Rooms

Care is embarking on a new adventure, creating a Sensory Experience Room. 

Care’s first Sensory Experience Room is located in Grimshaw at Stone Brook, a DSL facility, with the goal of opening it to the community in the future.

A sensory room is a therapeutic space that’s typically furnished with a variety of interactive equipment that provides the individual with an engaging and personalized sensory experience. From equipment that provides deep pressure, like the steam roller, to projected lights and sounds. Each person that enters the room chooses how they’d like to interact with that environment.

The benefits are significant for individuals with ASD and sensory processing difficulties and include: improved social interactions,  reduced perseveration (i.e., repetitive stereotypical movements), reduced somatosensory disturbances (i.e., frequent and repeated movements or rocking),  decreased mood disturbances (i.e., over-reactivity, lack of responsiveness), and greater ability to focus.

Similar benefits are proving valuable for those with memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s, offering a safe place to stimulate or relax the brain and explore.

Needless to say, we’re excited! Fingers crossed we’ll be able to bring a Care Sensory Experience Room to Grande Prairie next!

  • Thank you to Care’s Behaviour Specialist for contributing to the article

Memorable Moments: An Alligator

We are introducing a new feature as a way for the public to get a better understanding of what Care does and how we support Individuals with complex needs. Most of these Memorable Moments will be written in a way as to NOT identify the Individual(s) and support workers involved due to confidentiality.

This first Memorable Moment started as a regular interaction between an Individual and Support Worker.

The nonverbal Individual was looking out a window in their home when the SW asked what they saw/were looking at. “A rabbit? A bird?” After several guesses with no response, the SW thought of the most out of ordinary animal “An alligator?” The Individual turned to the SW in shock and perfectly repeated ”alligator”. Not only repeated the word, but said it in a strong loud voice, loud enough for fellow housemates and SWs to hear! 

Sometimes thinking out of the box is where you will find the greatest rewards. Truly a Memorable Moment we want to celebrate! 

Supporting Individuals living with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

During this Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, we would like to share with you a bit about the Individuals we support.

Care supports approximately 25 Individuals diagnosed with Dementia. A few of those Individuals have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Care’s Designated Supportive Living facility in Grimshaw, Stone Brook, provides DLS3, DSL4 and DSL4D care. 

What does that mean?
DSL4D supports are for Individuals “with moderate to severe dementia, who may have a high risk of wandering and unpredictable behaviours but who are not a safety risk to themselves or others.” (AlbertaHealthServices.ca)

Research has shown that Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of Dementia.

Stone Brook has 76 supportive living suites within six furnished cottages: Poppy Lane, Wilcox, Memory Lane, Mackenzie Cottage, Heritage Way and Lac Cardinal Cottage. 

Poppy Lane is a locked unit and resident’s room are equipped with door alarms to ensure the safety of the Individuals.

This past fall, Stone Brook developed a Dementia Awareness campaign, creating posters explaining behaviours visitors might see when visiting the facility. 

Learning about other people’s journey helps us come together as a community and care for those in need.

What’s New in HR?

The Holiday Season came and went in what feels like a blink of an eye.

As we mentioned last month, a number of applications were received in November and we are happy to announce that there were two new hires at Stone Brook, three new hires in the Grande Prairie region and five in the Peace River/Grimshaw region. 

Congratulations to Shae-Lynne Lepensee-Bryant who was promoted from Support Worker to Residential Coordinator in Peace River!

Get to know: Whitney, an Accounting Assistant at Care

My name is Whitney McCain, mother of 2 and married to the most amazing man I’ve ever met. I have a cat whose name is “M.” 6 years ago, my family moved to Grande Prairie from southeastern Ontario. I have always enjoyed providing care to others, and numbers (I love math.)

When I’m not knee deep in numbers, I’m playing with my kids or reading with a tea in hand. My goal since becoming a mother has been to raise kids that can show compassion towards others. I am so fortunate to have a place of employment where I get to see that same compassion every day.

I formerly worked in medical administrative positions before applying to work with Care Human Services. I was looking for a change in work environment, that would allow me to continue providing support to the public. I was hired as an accounting assistant, and given the opportunity to grow and learn, while still providing support to individuals in our community who are in need. Care Human Services has provided me with everything I was looking for and so much more. I am truly blessed to be a part of this amazing organization.   

I was introduced to the accounting department at time of change, I have embraced the challenge and have worked very hard over the past few months.

If I were able to speak with the founding parents, I would say thank you. This organization is wonderful in all aspects. I feel energized when I come to work because I have the opportunity to share my day with my amazing colleagues and the individuals we care for.

Thank you for sharing with us Whitney!

Our Stories: Susan (Susie) Rigler

Care would like you to meet Susie.

Susie is a resident of Stone Brook in Grimshaw and always has a smile to share with fellow residents, visitors and staff.

Susie is ready to lend a hand and help with any task, activity or event. You can see her sitting at the front desk at Stone Brook, offering warm greetings to all.  She is also in charge of sorting mail and feeding the resident cats and fish.

When Susie isn’t working, she likes to go for walks as well as shopping in town.

Her favourite meal is hamburger and fries and her favourite cat at Stone Brook is Smoky.

Thank-you Susie for sharing a bit about yourself with everyone!

What’s New in HR?

Care had a few hires in the month of November and welcomed seven new members to the Care team!

There were three new additions to the DSL team at Stone Brook in Grimshaw and three new support staff were hired in Grimshaw and Peace River.

November also saw a number of applications come in so look for more details in the December/January update.

Care was able to take part in a couple community fundraising events this past month.

In Grande Prairie a mini tree was decorated for the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital Foundation’s annual Festival of Trees fundraiser and in Grimshaw and Peace River, Individuals and staff decorated two mini trees for the Grimshaw Library fundraiser.

Getting to know Ok Alone

Ok Alone is a lone worker app and safety monitor that has replaced Safety Line.

The app has been downloaded on the Care provided phone for each residence and/or Individual within the organization.

Getting started:

Your name and personal pin will be posted on ShareVision on the homepage of the Individual and/or residence pages.

Once logged in, the app will prompt you to ‘Start Shift’, click start shift.

How it works:

The app  then notifies you when your next check in is due and at that time press ‘I’m Ok’. If you do need help, click ‘Help’ and your Residential Coordinator or Team Lead will be contacted immediately.

The ‘End Shift’ option is only applicable to a sleep shift but it is important to remember to start shift once the sleep shift ends.

If you ignore the ‘I’m Ok’ screen and do not respond, an alarm will go off.

Please do not send messages through the app. If you require further assistance, please contact your Residential Coordinator or Team Lead.

What’s New in HR?

Happy November everyone!

October was another busy month for us:

  • 4 Support Workers were hired in Grande Prairie
  • 1 Support Services Manager was hired in Grande Prairie

October saw 9 internal referrals and two resulted in hires.

Congratulations to Cailey Schmidtke who was promoted to the role of Residential Coordinator!

We would also like to welcome Jessica Corbin to the team who is taking on the role of Support Services Manager.

Get to know Jessica:

Jessica was born in Grande Prairie and since then has lived in Calgary, Edmonton and Australia. She has obtained her Bachelors Degree of Human Resources Management and has a passion for people and making a positive impact on those around her.

She grew up as a dancer, starting at the age of three that lead to opening her own community dance studio in Grande Cache.

Jessica is a newlywed and has two dogs, Phillip and Bailey.

Most of her spare time is spent enjoying time with family and her animals!

Welcome to Team Care Jessica!

What’s New in HR?

Where did September go?!

Though the month seemed to zoom by, Care did welcome new team members!

  • 4 Support Workers hired in Grande Prairie
  • 2 Health Care Aides hired at Stone Brook
  • 1 LPN hired at Stone Brook

September saw 12 internal referrals and one referral from August was hired.

As the Fall season begins, we are saying good-bye to our Human Resources Team Lead. Nichole Radersma has decided to grab life by the kilt and move to Scotland! We wish you the best of luck and hope that you packed a raincoat.

Stepping in will be Kristina Ferrier and Kylee Lefebvre. Kristina will be looking after Recruitment Performance Management and Kylee WCB, Employee Management and as well as taking care of updating our systems.

Get to know Kristina;

I have been with Care Human Services since February of this year. I was hired into Human Resources as a Recruitment Coordinator. I have a love for the ever-changing role of HR, and it shows. I moved from Southern Ontario in 2014 and made Grande Prairie my home. I enjoy living in the heart of the city with my boisterous dog Otis. I also love to travel, and usually Otis comes along for the ride.

And Kylee!

I was born and raised in Bonanza Alberta just outside of Dawson Creek. I moved to Grande Prairie to attend GPRC in 2014 and graduated from there with my Office Management Diploma. I have and amazing fiancé and two babies (dogs) Sadie and Baxter who are my absolute world! I have always wanted to get into Human Resources and could not think of a better organization and team to build my career with!

Hearing Voices- a simulated training workshop

In order to provide the best care for Individuals receiving CARE supports, we do all we can to better understand what Individuals are going through and experiencing.

Some Individuals receiving CARE supports live with schizophrenia described as “a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation”.

To help understand what that means, CARE team members take the Hearing Voices That Are Distressing Workshop – a simulated training experience as presented by Alberta Health Services’ CONNECT Community Support Team.

The Workshop is described as a “groundbreaking empathy-building exercise which helps students, mental health professionals and first responders understand the challenges and strengths of people who experience psychosis.”

It was developed by Patricia Deegan who was diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was a teenager. She went on to get her B.S. and Ph.D. and is the creator of the CommonGround Program.

So, what is it?

Participants are given a set of headphones to wear and what they hear are ‘distressing voices’. While having the voices play in their ears, they are asked to complete simple tasks such as reading and comprehension or putting together puzzles.

It is substantially harder for participants to concentrate on the task at hand and can lead to feelings of frustration, distress, fear or anger.

What is learned?

Participants leave with a better understanding of how hearing voices get in the way of day-today life.

Sometimes the voices relay negative messages and sometimes the voices are sounds like humming or grinding. As explained in the workshop, the voices can come from objects like windows or buildings or body parts. The voices can resemble people the person knows, speak in a clear language or mumble and not be understandable. Sometimes the voices whisper and sometimes they yell.

Some voices engage in conversations while other voices insist the person listen and obey orders given.

The voices can be triggered by anything and be heard multiple times a day or just once.

What is also learned is that no two experiences are the same.

To see and hear for yourself, watch this video of CNN’s Anderson Cooper experiencing the simulation.