These Days at Grove 13
It’s been a year.
A whole year since COVID-19 ate up our lives and set up home in our personal and professional routines. To say that our residents and staff and families have been impacted would be a gross understatement. Long work hours, virtual connections, and ever-changing visiting rules had us all on edge for a long time. It might be equally sad that we are starting to take this all-in stride; there is no point in being mad any more, or sad anymore, we are just getting through the changes and doing the best we can. Here at Grove, we were taught about resilience and the lessons learned helped us. A lot. Pull up our boot straps and soldier on. We can do this. Our sector was brutalized in the media and those stinging comments hurt, as we were all painted with the same shade of blame from posters who did not always know facts. We watched with tears as other homes were ravaged by this virus, knowing that this could be any of us. We gratefully had a strong team of staff and volunteers and families who rallied around us and gave us strength and encouragement and love. From many new hires to our 35+yr veterans, heroes emerged and together we got through this past 365 days – stronger and better for the experiences. We have all changed.
But let’s show gratitude, because we are indeed thankful.
We were not missed by COVID-19 and had numerous staff and two residents present positive for this virus. However, we are grateful that most staff showed few or no symptoms, and our two positive residents remained non-symptomatic throughout their quarantine in our previously prepared (thankfully) Special Care Unit. These two residents, strangers once, became friends to each other and closer connected to the staff who cared for them 24/7 during their time away from their own home areas. With testing happening at least once, and often twice a week, more positive results may very well happen; but we are prepared and we will continue to offer support to those ill and wish them a speedy recovery while they isolate at home.
have experienced a roller coaster of emotions as well, as the past 52 weeks dragged on. Fortunately, our staff rallied when group activities were no longer permitted and one-on-one activities had to become the norm. Life Enrichment staff came up with creative new ways to engage as many residents as possible: set up virtual visit, host a one-on-one activity, coordinate a phone call, repeat repeat repeat. This happened on all units every day. Sounds daunting and almost impossible to offer quality activities to all residents? Yup. It became clear we could not do this alone. Kerry Guy, Director of Programs and Volunteer Services, created a new position called Resident Support Aides (perfect, right?) and has since onboarded more than a dozen people to assist with resident specific activities as well as provide support to PSWs when needed. Hooray!
Gratitude extends to our families..
for their virtual hugs over the last (almost) 365 days. Our families were also victims of the roller coaster that was the last 52 weeks. Ever changing VISTING RULES had families scrambling to keep up with new directives, but they rallied and they complied with every new rule presented. The sadness set in when visits were put on hold several times throughout the year. We were sad along with our caring families, and acknowledged that their tears ran deep. From these very resilient families, cards and letters poured in. Posters were taped to our doors. Treats were sent in and COFFEE ARRIVED. Literally 20,000 pods of coffee from Toronto based Club Coffee! Midas Barrie recently gifted ALL residents with a gift bag of crafts and activities along with TONS of yummy treats. We must also mention the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping PLUS the May Court Club for recently sending love to our staff. We are grateful for the so-close-we-could-feel-it hugs.
a family visits – all dressed up in the Christmas best! Plus Midas gifts are a touch of gold! And the best kind of post.
continue weekly for all staff, and happen for residents only if they are symptomatic. Anytime during an outbreak Public Health may direct staff to be swabbed (tested) twice a week. We have actually lost count, but we have likely been prodded 40+ times. Yes, this can be uncomfortable, but such “surveillance” testing is the best tool to identify and isolate any positive COVID-19 staff or resident quickly. Another great tool, and really the first line of defense in keeping the virus out of the home is Active Screening – all who enter our home are subject to a series of questions and wellness checks, including temperature checks before they are permitted entry. End of day screening is also conducted. Next up? Rapid Antigen testing. But that’s a whole new blog…
Want to hear a great number?
How about 97? As in 97% of our residents have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. HOORAY!! To add to that level of protection in the home, approximately 80% of staff have also received both doses of the vaccine. These are great results and a real “shot in the arm” of comfort for our dear and worried family members. This is what we need to finally climb out of this year and move forward with some sense of normalcy.
Help also came from the Canadian Red Cross.
While always planning ahead and looking for resources in the areas of staffing or Infection Control (just to name a few) Executive Director Paul Taylor submitted an application to the CRC so that, should the need arise for emergency staffing, we had this first step checked off the proverbial box. Lo and behold they arrived about a week later for an assessment. While not in crisis, they quickly offered support in the areas of resident socialization and infection control and we invited them into our home. Within days a team was deployed for a four week stay: a team that would spend time with residents doing activities and helping in the dining rooms, and a team that would assist with any infection control concerns we had. We have enjoyed the resident visiting very much and have adopted some of the CRC Infection Control practices. Win Win Win! Should we ever need them in the future, we will have a quick process to onboard this dedicated team, as we have become strong partners.
If you are looking for ways to help our home here are a few ideas. If you have the opportunity, get vaccinated. Wear a mask and sanitize your hands. A lot. Follow colour coded direction for Public Health to help keep us safe and to get our community open. Be kind and thoughtful when reading/responding to LTC stories on social media – real people live and work in these homes. And know that love and caring, for our residents and for each other, happens here every day, as noted in pics below. Send in cards and letters of support for residents and staff alike. Click HERE if you would like to make a charitable donation to our Home knowing all contributions support the care of the residents who call Grove Park their home. Send your most positive thoughts skyward and plea for the quick onset of spring. Open windows and garden visits around the corner? Oh my, we hope so. Be well.
The Team at Grove