Creative social distancing solutions created for residents at Bethany Sylvan Lake

Small group and one-on-one sessions have been created for residents at the seniors’ living facility

A resident of Bethany Sylvan Lake works with an employee to create a colourful art project during a one-on-one session. Photo Courtesy of Bethany Sylvan Lake

No residents at Bethany Sylvan Lake are ill with the COVID-19 virus, the senior’s living facility recently announced.

All residents who have showed symptoms of the virus have had their test results come back negative.

Bonnie Elgie, with Bethany Sylvan Lake, says all residents who showed symptoms are now feeling better and are no longer in isolation.

Residents at Bethany Sylvan Lake are screened at least once a day for symptoms of COVID-19, she says.

“…If they show any possible signs, they are being swabbed and isolated until cleared by the Medical Officer of Health,” Elgie said in an email.

The staff at Bethany have been hard at work to ensure the health and safety of residents and employees during the outbreak.

For the health and safety of all involved, Bethany Sylvan Lake implemented its “outbreak processes and protocols” and are following the direction of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

One protocol in place is to screen each employee anytime they enter the site with temperature checks and a questionnaire.

“We are also requiring all workers at our care centres to wear masks and other PPE as appropriate at all times when providing direct patient care or working within two metres of any others in patient care areas,” Elgie said.

The residents at Bethany continue to be cared for diligently by staff with meals and care schedules remaining the same.

Elgie says the recreational coordinators work to come up with creative activities for residents while maintaining social distancing orders.

“Residents continue to participate in many of the same types of activities with social distancing measures in place for small group activities and meals.”

She says creative solutions help to keep the residents engaged and not feeling isolated during the current pandemic.

Staff at the care centre are creating small group programming and one-on-one sessions between staff and residents.

One-on-one sessions have been spent taking photos and working on photo albums, working on an art project, exercising, or “whatever would benefit the resident the most that day.”

“This is a challenging time, unlike anything any of us have ever experienced… Our communities, volunteers and supporters have been amazing in connecting with our residents safely through cards, letters, visits through windows, signs on lawns and drive by parades,” Elgie said.

Visitors and volunteers are not currently allowed inside the facility, in an effort to keep staff and residents safe during the COVID-19 epidemic.

However, that does not stop families and friends from connecting with residents, Elgie says.

Alternative methods of connecting, such as telephone, FaceTime or Skype are recommended to stay connected with loved ones living at Bethany.

“Social distancing does not mean we stop connecting… We are doing everything possible we can to accommodate this from a technology perspective. We are also encouraging window visits for those that struggle with technology.”

Staffing levels at Bethany have stayed consistent with pre-COVID-19 levels. Elgie says there is a contingency plan in place to ensure residents continue to receive the best care possible.

She continued saying, many support systems and resources are in place for employees to access including Lifeworks and the Employee Assistance Program.

“We are doing all we can to make sure that our employees feel supported during this challenging time. It’s times of crisis that make or break a team, and this experience has solidified our team’s resolve to work together with our residents and their loved ones to make the most of a very difficult time,” said Elgie.

“Our employees are the real heroes.”

A new program has started at Bethany to thank the dedicated staff. It is called ‘Heroes of Bethany.’

Community members can help tend to Bethany employees’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs, during the current pandemic.

Donations to the Heroes of Bethany program can be made at

“Our employees are vital in keeping our residents safe and we could not do what we have been able to do without them.”

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