What’s New

Voice For Care Magazine – Fall 2018

In a recent issue of Voice For Care Magazine, there was a lovely article done on the Storytelling Program:

“Most Wednesdays since earlyspring, you will find a dedicated group of Residents and support people gathered in the Rhubarb Patch, engaged in a lively afternoon of story writing, laughter and comradery. The storytelling program is a collaboration with R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home and Arts Health Antigonish (AHA!). “The RK MacDonald Nursing Home: Art & Darlene

You can read the full magazine click here.

Buddy Bench at RK

We are very pleased to reproduce the below excerpt of an article by Sam Macdonald of The Casket published on August 14th.

‘A little sanctuary’: Antigonish Community Comes Together to Create Buddy Bench at RK MacDonald Nursing Home

Kim Cameron-MacDonald (upper left), Francis Grenier, Emma MacDonald, Mary Grace, Mary Partridge, Diane Delorey (bottom left), Donna MacLean, Mary Margaret Grace and Sadie Boyd – all enjoying the fine weather with the Buddy Bench – the newest addition to the garden area of the RK MacDonald Nursing Home. – Sam Macdonald

A new, colourful addition adorns the garden area of the RK MacDonald nursing home.

The bench is hard to miss. The bright yellow bench is decorated in the rainbow-coloured handprints of several generations of people and is the product of a partnership between members of Antigonight: Art After Dark Festival, staff and residents of RK MacDonald and youth from the local Montessori School.

“It took a lot of priming and painting to get that beautiful yellow that is there now,” Emma MacDonald, festival director for Antigonight, said, describing how the handprints belong to several generations of Antigonishers.

“We also wanted to use a lot of bright, primary colours for the handprints. We wanted to incorporate an inter-generational piece to this community art project.”

You can read the rest of  the article on The Casket’s website here.

Transforming Attitudes

In a recent post on Safety Matters, the blog for the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, talked about the simple yet surprising math behind the daily routines of staff at the RK MacDonald.

240 staff, 136 residents, several cats, quite a few birds, and a visiting dog program come together to make up the rich and vibrant community of R. K. MacDonald Nursing Home, fondly known as the RK.

So what’s the biggest safety challenge in this large home that recognizes and appreciates the uniqueness of every person who lives and works there? Essentially, it’s a math challenge!

1. How many residents are in your facility?
2. How many residents in your facility use a mechanical lift (ceiling/hoyer)?
3. Multiply the answer from question #2 by 4 (assumes 4 lifts per day).
4. Multiply the answer from question #3 by 7 (days per week).
5. Multiply the answer from question #4 by 52 (weeks per year).

The answer from question #5 is how many estimated lifts are happening with your staff every year.

At a recent Keeping PACE symposium, Terry MacIntyre, the RK’s Director of Clinical Services, challenged the audience to try the math at their respective homes, because what the math told the RK was that over 150,000 lifts are happening annually.


You can read the entire article on Safety First, the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia’s website.

A Commitment to Safety

The RK MacDonald Nursing Home was recognized for a commitment to safety by the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia CEO Stuart MacLean this past May.

Picture courtesy of the Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia

Picture courtesy of the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia

In one year, RK MacDonald Nursing Home was able to combat high costs and commit to safety. WCB Nova Scotia recognized the Antigonish facility for its achievement  on May 30. WCB Nova Scotia CEO Stuart MacLean congratulated the organization for their achievements in engaging staff and creating a culture of safety.

“RK MacDonald is putting safety first for everyone,” said MacLean, “residents, employees and visitors alike.”

MacLean also recognized the work of tireless safety champions like Terry MacIntyre, whose career as a physiotherapist solidified the importance of safety for him.

“I’ve seen too many workplace injuries that have had significant physical and emotional consequences and a lot of these could have been prevented,” said MacIntyre.

When RK MacDonald began working with WCB in 2014, they had high claims and high costs.  Though claims for 2014-2015 remained at a steady number, they were able to reduce their costs by more than $250,000.  So far in 2016,  they have only one registered claim and no time-loss claims.


You can read the entire article at Safety Matters, the blog on workplace safety over at www.worksafeforlife.ca


Accreditation Helps The RK Establish Clear Path Forward

Accreditation provides a solid foundation to build new quality improvement initiatives upon, long-term care CEO says. Accreditation provides a solid foundation to build new quality improvement initiatives upon, long-term care CEO says.

Michelle Thompson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the RK MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish, N.S., says that Accreditation Canada (AC)’s long-term care standards are helping to shape initiatives the organization will be putting into place in the near future.

“I wouldn’t put any new initiatives in place without first consulting the standards,” Thompson says. “A new program should be based on the standards, so that it can be measured and we can ensure that it’s improving quality services and safe care.”

Thompson notes that the RK MacDonald Nursing Home underwent AC’s Primer accreditation survey from Dec. 4-6, 2017.

“It’s knowing that we’re aligned with best practices and that we have a guideline to go back to whenever we are implementing a new program,” she says.

Thompson adds that oftentimes, long-term care facilities work to adapt acute care resources to their specific sector.

“But once you go through Accreditation Canada’s program, you have access to long-term care standards,” she says. “You’re able to access resources that are pertinent to your sector.”

Thompson said AC’s Primer program was a positive experience as surveyors highlighted not only areas where the nursing home could improve, but also areas where it is excelling. She noted that surveyors highlighted efforts the nursing home was making in Person-Centred Care.

From Accreditation Canada, Accreditation Helps RK MacDonald Home Establish Clear Path Forward, published on Jan 04, 2018. The full article can be found on Accreditation Canada’s website here.

GPA Leadership Excellence In Person-Centered Care

AGE congratulates the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home for their winning of the 2016/2017 GPA Leadership Excellence In Person-Centered Care award.
2016 | 2017 Award Recipients
From the Advanced Gerontological Education press release:

R. K. talks about sustaining GPA and how implementation is impacting care:

“We have two on-staff GPA Certified Coaches … we commit to training all staff and implementing GPA practice, principles and techniques into our Resident Plan of Care and our organizational policies … [GPA will be] embedded into the fabric of the home.”

“From February to June we provided GPA to 72 staff members and 14 CCA students … training will continue until all staff — from all disciplines — have completed training … staff who have had the opportunity to attend GPA Basics really benefited from the interdisciplinary design of the program.”

“R.K.’s approach to sustainability and practice change will include GPA coaching one-on-one … developing GPA mentors … providing consistent feedback to staff on their approach to care.”
“We will definitely be including a GPA-Recharged (GPA-R) refresher when staff require.”

Uniqueness of spirit and character drive life plans for residents at R. K. MacDonald

East coast warmth shines through! “The R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, fondly known as‘The RK’, is home to 136 residents as well as several cats and birds. Our 240 full-time, part-time and casual staff and our visiting dog program complete our family. The RK is a rich and vibrant community that recognizes and appreciates the uniqueness of every person who lives and works here.”

AGE Press Release

Strategic Planning Update

The Rk MacDonald is proud to release the annual update to our Strategic Plan for 2017/2018. These directions were created through a community process and capture the voices of residents, families, staff, Board members, volunteers and other community partners. We were excited to embark on this consultation process and the end result is a reflection of both our past and our collective vision for the future.

Arts Canopy Project Benefits Celebrated

The Arts Health Antigonish Arts Canopy project was recently recognized with an artwork unveiling.

A well-attended art unveiling at R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home, Sept. 26, served as an appropriate time to recognize the good work done, as well as continuing efforts of, Arts Health Antigonish’s (AHA) Arts Canopy Project.

“Arts Canopy Project is an Arts Health Antigonish initiative which has helped to bring a number of arts-based projects to people; seniors and other folks, who are living in the community,” program co-ordinator Mary Partridge told the audience gathered for the unveiling, in the front foray of the nursing home on Pleasant Street.

You can read the entire article, which was posted on October 4th, on the Casket’s website here.

Planting Memories

Resident Edgar McPhee recently chatted with Casket reporter Richard MacKenzie about his life long passion for gardening and how he is using his skills to enrich the lives of other Residents.

Edgar McPhee has had a lifelong passion for gardening and he continues to display his green-thumb as a resident at R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish.

McPhee planted vegetables in garden boxes on the home’s grounds, which are at a height he can work with from his wheelchair.

McPhee noted he has been at the R.K. for two years and he has done the gardening both years.
“Last year and again this year,” he said, adding his crops include; “cucumbers, turnip, beans [green and yellow], beets, onion, and tomatoes.”

Asked about his selections, McPhee said they’re choices “we can use” and it’s noted he also shares his produce with some folks outside of the R.K. as well.

You can read the entire article, which was posted on September 8th, on the Casket’s website here.

Teepa Snow at The RK

Teepa Snow, one of the world’s leading educators on dementia, was at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home, July 7, conducting a session for healthcare providers on assisting those with dementia.

Chatting with the Casket during a short break in the lively training session, Snow talked about breaking down stigmas around dementia and improving awareness.

“We have to stop acting like this is something weird and unusual; dementia is a part of people’s lives,” Snow said.

“One in five families right now and one in two within 15 to 20 years … it’s everywhere.”

“We have to stop talking like it’s all horrible. It’s hard, we’re not going to say it isn’t, but we have to figure out how to live with it. We’re talking eight to 12 years of symptoms on average. Families are dealing with it and they don’t even know they are dealing with it, which is craziness.”


This excerpt reproduced with permission from the generous staff of The Casket. Read the full piece here.