It’s been a little while since we put words on this blog. We are due to share some stories, news and thoughts about what’s going on at Grove Park Home in this 7th month of the COVID-19 Pandemic. That is seven months if you consider each of the months we have been caring for our residents (March-September) during these times. While this first month of Fall is in early days, it seems fitting to share a few summer snaps of the good things that grow here at Grove. Our Facebook posts show more of what was sown and harvested.
Lots has changed over the last month or so, including the introduction of resident visits. After so much time having our families and residents separated, we were able to introduce visits a short time ago. First things first, we scurried about making outdoor visits possible, but much was to be done. Acrylic screens were purchased, tables set up, tents acquired and “screening” baskets prepared. Here is the first of many Guidance Documents helping everyone understand our processes. But worth every single penny (and who are we kidding; this was not pennies, it was thousands of dollars) was worth it. These long awaited visits brought tears to every eye; families, residents and staff. This two photos have been shared many times and require no words, except maybe LOVE.
Next up, indoor visits as mandated by the Ministry of Long Term Care. Not that we were against this, we just had to make sure we did this right. After so many months of protecting the treasures in our “vault” we were risking nothing when it comes to the health and safety of those in our care, and those who provide this care. So more preparations happened; tables set up, hearing devices purchased, privacy taken into account and yet another Guidance Document of rules and education. Bring on more tears, much laughter and even the singing of songs. This week we were able to allow touching (after much hand washing) and this “felt” great to everyone.
Hot on the heels of this change in visiting, comes another Directive allowing families to take residents out of the home for a few hours or a few days. This one literally stopped our breath. You must understand the mind of anyone who works at Grove; we are fierce and passionate and committed 1000% to keeping everyone safe. This is not over. Numbers in Ontario are not only not stabilizing, they are growing. Our children have not even returned to school so we don’t know what that will do to provincial numbers. However, to us there will never be a good time as our arms wrap tightly around our residents. We completely understand that our families and residents need each other. So back to pen and paper and we created more guidelines for our families so that these outings are as safe as possible. As staff continue to get tested twice a week and “actively screened” twice a day, all in the best interest of our residents, we ask our visitors for this as well. The best part of this is that our families support our decisions and this is greatly appreciated. Check out this new Temperature Scanner purchased with funds from a Federal Grant and the Barrie Community Foundation:
While that is happening outside, we continue to have fun indoors and out with residents. Please check our Facebook page often for great resident photos like this:
Other stories of interest include the impact of COVID-19 on our fundraising efforts. Our pAGES book sale did not happen, but with literally thousands of book in storage, we are hoping for an opportunity to bring this fundraiser back to life. Time will tell. A bigger blow was the loss of the Dragon Boat Festival. This one we did not take lying down. We recreated our own Dragon Boat Race with some creative videos and willing “paddlers” giving shout outs to our families, friends and sponsors. With luck and kind hearts we will realize a good portion of our usual $20-25g of revenue. Check all 15 videos on our Facebook page but here is one for you on our YouTube Channel . If you are so inclined, our Canada Helps page is still open for donations and we would raise our paddles in thanks if you share this with your friends.
A final few words as a thank you to our community and our families. It may not seem like much, but staff are grateful for a fully stocked coffee center in our socially distanced staff area. A simple donut brings HUGE smiles as a mid morning treat. Lunch from the Downtown BIA was a very special day and we are grateful for all the efforts involved to bring to fruition. Business partner ProResp brought some yummy snacks. Much thanks to all. It’s the little things.
Today this writer is at work and had the opportunity to help feed lunch to residents on our Pine Unit. I am reminded of all the kindness that is shown to our residents, all the taken-for-granted things staff remember (“mr. smith” likes extra crackers with his soup), the goggles and masks that are worn all the time that are often uncomfortable and tiring, the sincere smiles that we bring to our residents and that they bring to us. This is our Commitment to Care living its best day.
Be well. Be kind.
The Team @ Grove