“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure”, at least that is what Henry Kissinger said. Diamonds are also the hardest mineral known to man which is what makes it a good analogy to describe the incredible work undertaken by the people working in long-term care during a pandemic.
One need only look at the headlines to understand the heartbreak and the horror that Covid-19 has brought to long term care. As the staff in these facilities navigate Covid-19 in their own lives, they also face incredible pressures at work…unimaginable loss, increased workloads, decreased staff, and terrified families. Incredibly, in the face of these hurdles, many of Atlantic Canada’s long-term care facilities have found creative ways to communicate and share information. Like coal under pressure, they have become faceted, brilliant, strong, diamonds.
A care facility in southwestern Nova Scotia is home to 105 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.
In another facility in Nova Scotia, that seventy-nine 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.
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.
At a time when their duties were increasing and the most common tasks took much longer to perform, staff in long-term care facilities dug a little deeper and found a little more to give. Driven by a desire to ease the separation pain of the people they serve and powered by a creative ability to think outside the box, these facilities (and many others) found new and exciting ways to use their CareQ systems. Their efforts gave families and staff comfort when comfort was hard to come by.