The second wave is here. Covid cases, along with stress and worry, are rising again. In those worries, however, there is a paper-thin sliver of a silver lining. You may have to squint to see it, while holding your head just right, but it is there.
You may have to squint to see it, while holding your head just right, but it is there. Months into this global horror show, we know more about Covid; we have better treatments; we know that people can be asymptomatic; we know more about our surge capacity; we have increased testing; we have gained experience in contact tracing; we are getting closer to a vaccine; and, we know with more certainty who, in our communities, are at the greatest risk.
That sliver of silver lining becomes larger when you look at the folks who work with those who are at the greatest risk. We know more about their steel and determination; we know more about how strong they were as they stood in the face of a storm with devastating power; and, we know more about how they wrapped their arms around our most vulnerable citizens and held onto them while the storm raged.
When we needed more from long-term care facilities and the people who staff them, they found ways to give more, share more, care more. Then, and now, their efforts delivered comfort when comfort was rare and fleeting. Here is a little reminder of how some of these facilities “thought outside the box” in their communications.
Using CareQ for Video Messages
A care facility in southwestern Nova Scotia is home to more than 100 residents. The CEO/Administrator leads a team of more than 200 who are giving 110% each and every day. She uses the CareQ system to share information with staff and family members. During the pandemic, however, she uses CareQ to ensure a personal touch in those communications. She records video messages and uploads them to YouTube. She, then, uses CareQ to send a link to the video to her desired audience. She has recorded many videos, including one to train staff in new procedures and sent them via CareQ ensuring that all staff receive the information whether they are on shift or at home. In the most difficult circumstances, she makes sure that she is communicating with staff when they need it the most. Her efforts are providing a personal touch to communications that has been difficult to achieve during the Covid crisis.
Using CareQ to Keep Spirits Bolstered & Fear at Bay
In another facility in Nova Scotia, that almost 80 residents call home, the administrator established regular communication with staff about the day’s events in his facility. Each day all staff, whether they were in the building or at home, received an update from him about what happened that day in their facility. In the early days of Covid-19, when fear and uncertainty were escalating, he ended each day with a note to let staff know what was happening in the facility. He was surprised and pleased at how well his communications were received, with many of his staff telling him of the comfort those communications brought.
Using CareQ to Share Pictures & Stories with Resident Families
At the other end of the province, the Director of Care at one of the largest provincially run facilities, uses CareQ to email a newsletter to family members with pictures and stories of their loved ones. During the months that their facility was closed to all visitors, she and her staff collected pictures and stories of the daily lives of their residents to share with family members as part of a larger initiative to lessen the burden of separation.
As we continue to struggle under the weight of the second wave of Covid, try to remember what Mr. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Long-term care facilities are powered by helpers and there is comfort in that.