Staff at local long-term care facilities continue to do their very best to ward off COVID-19.
“Our slogan is ‘We’ve got this’,” said Carol Dyck, general manager at Points West Living Stettler Inc. “That’s because we are used to flu outbreaks – we are experienced with them. Every year, when the flu comes around, as it always does, we know how to isolate people.
“We know about the extra precautions – washing our hands, sterilizing things, wiping railings and high-touch areas. Those are things that we are used to doing,” she said.
Still, Dyck does point out that with COVID-19, those measures have become all the more crucial.
“This virus certainly is a scarier one because of how it is spreading,” she said. “But we are following all of the Alberta Health Services guidelines. We’ve also banned visitors – which is the hardest part for our residents because of course they rely on their family’s support so much.
“The only time we let a visitor in is if their family member is palliative,” she said.
Even still, strict screening does take place.
Temperatures are taken, hands must be washed and shoes must be cleaned as well.
“We need to protect them as best we can,” she said of the residents. According to AHS, “Each essential visitor must be verified and undergo a health screening prior to entering the facility. This includes a temperature check and a questionnaire.
“Facilities must have security staff or a greeter to conduct this screening and verify the visitor is designated. Exceptions to these essential visitor rules will be made for family members to visit a person who is dying, so long as only one visitor enters the facility at a time.”
Dyck said that the dining room has been reconfigured to allow for six ft. between each resident during meal times as well.
Of course, no more community groups are currently allowed for the time being either.
“Residents are really missing that part, too,” she said.
But to help brighten residents’ days, staff have been increasingly utilizing communication technology such as Skype to help keep up with those family visits – albeit virtually. Staff have also been taking pictures of residents and sending them along to their families so they can see how their loves ones are doing in general, too.
Meanwhile, as Dyck pointed out, it’s those healthy habits like regularly washing your hands, coughing and sneezing into one’s sleeve, not touching one’s face that can and do make a profound impact.
“It’s those standard types of things that make a huge difference,” she pointed out.
These days, she said that folks at Points West are decorating for Easter as usual.
“We are trying to keep things as normal as possible for our residents, and to keep them happy,” she said. “We are doing everything we can to keep the residents safe, and we appreciate their patience with not being able to visit.”