A view from the front lines

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/02/2022 (228 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

As I came into work recently at Oakview Place, one of the COVID-19 screeners said I looked sad.

I took a moment to reflect on that. I am not sad; I am simply exhausted, as are my co-workers and residents, with this ongoing and never-ending pandemic.

Unfortunately, our facility, like many, is back into COVID-19 outbreak mode but we are slowly recuperating. This time around seems worse than the first because we have not completely returned to the staffing levels or enjoyed the normalcy that we had prior to March 2020. Thus this wave seems much more tiring and difficult.

Winnipeg Free Press photo archive Staff and residents at Oakview Place are doing their best cope during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Nurses, health care aides and many other staff are working extra hours and weekends to ensure residents are cared for. Administration and scheduling staff have made tireless efforts to get in extra staff. The hardest part is that residents are confined to their rooms, creating social isolation.

Every long-term care facility is following public health guidelines and consequently these restrictions place a lot of burden and stress on the residents, their families and staff.  

Administration, social work and recreation staff are working diligently to connect residents with families. In COVID-positive zones, staff are required to wear full PPE and it is uncomfortable.

Moreover, residents do not know who we are, as we look like we are part of an alien space invasion. Residents have not seen our faces or a smile in two years.

What is equally sad is, given that personal care homes were the epicentre of COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths in the first and second waves, there is yet to be sufficient provincial or federal government support.

I am glad that Manitoba finally has a minister of seniors and long- term care, like other jurisdictions, and that national standards are in the works. Time will tell what impact this will have.

Despite the acute challenges, many family members are grateful for the care provided at long-term care homes. As a registered dietitian, for me this means that I pay extra attention to food intakes and hydration.

On a positive note, I can says that this outbreak has not been as severe. Most residents, thankfully, have been asymptomatic due to vaccination. Many of us have coped as well as we can.

For me, that means adding distraction and humour to the day, such as turning on the TVs on the units to play music (With staff jokingly saying “We know Lisa’s been here”) to providing some nursing colleagues with sustenance, decorating my office door and taking the time to visit residents confined to their rooms.

I hope that this will be over soon because logistically, emotionally and psychologically, this is not sustainable.

Lisa Lagasse is a registered dietitian and community correspondent for Charleswood. Email her at Charleswoodres@gmail.com or find her on Twitter: @LisaRD42324393

Lisa Lagasse

Lisa Lagasse
Charleswood community correspondent

Lisa Lagasse is a registered dietitian and community correspondent for Charleswood. Email her at Charleswoodres@gmail.com or find her on Twitter: @LisaRD42324393

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