Keeping families connected with their loved ones throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been a priority at McCormick Home. The extreme, but necessary measures enacted by the Ontario government to keep residents safe presented a number of challenges for staff, but they were quickly met head-on with the swift enactment of alternative methods to help people feel close, despite the distance.
“All our staff pulled together to come up with ways to help,” says Tanya Pol, administrator at McCormick Home. “We recognize that in addition to the many uncertainties presented by the pandemic itself, our most important job next to ensuring everyone’s safety is to help residents and families feel less anxious about their loved ones.”
Our recreation and social work staff have stepped up their frequency of resident photo-taking for individual e-mails to families showing their loved ones engaging in various activities, enjoying special meals and celebrations, or holding signs with personal messages. Families are also offered the opportunity to set up videoconferences with their loved ones, to drop off special care packages and favourite items for delivery to their resident, view photos and videos shared on Facebook, and receive regular updates on the measures the home has taken to keep everyone safe and content.
In addition, the community has also responded with considerable generosity and support. The home received a number of surprise donations of take-out food delivered for all residents and staff as well as many heartfelt video messages and personalized cards of encouragement and thanks. For example, special video compilations for residents were created by students at Matthews Hall and St. Nicholas Catholic School that included heartfelt messages of encouragement, solo music performances and readings. “The impact of these gestures has been tremendously meaningful to everyone,” says Pol.
“I’m grateful for the home’s leadership through these unprecedented times,” says Charles*, a McCormick Home family member. “We feel confident that my dad is in good hands. That means so very much right now.”
“The home is doing a truly amazing job in so many ways: foremost, by putting measures in place to ensure the ongoing safety and wellbeing (including social and emotional needs) of residents; initiating precautions and restrictions as the pandemic unfolds for all who enter McCormick; and keeping families informed with regular updates,” says family member Sylvia.
“Their calm and efficient manner certainly helped to ease my anxiety. I thank them for that — and so much more!”
*Please note that names have been changed for privacy reasons.