On Wednesday, March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a global pandemic. At Northern Health, the evolving nature of the pandemic required us to implement changes to protect the vulnerable residents of long-term care homes, including these changes at Terraceview Lodge, a 99-bed long-term care home in Terrace:
- On March 16, 2020, Terraceview Lodge closed their doors to non-essential visitors, but staff continued to support the residents to be picked up by family and/or visit with family outdoors on the grounds.
- About two weeks later, staff started discouraging residents from leaving the building whenever possible and restricted goods coming into the facility.
- At the end of March, the staff were calling families of residents who live in the area and might be willing to take their loved one home temporarily.
- In April, they closed the facility to all outside deliveries (except essentials, such as food and medication). The temporary closure of the facility to visitors meant residents would have to maintain connections by making cards and writing little notes to their family members.
A time like this is scary, and it’s especially so for people who are unable to see their loved ones.
Luckily, on April 1, Coast Mountain School District #82 donated four iPads to the care home to help people connect with their families. Over the following days, staff members reached out to family to let them know this resource was available and arranged virtual visits through FaceTime.
“We started connecting residents with their loved ones on Monday, April 6,” says Bonnie Casault, Recreation Coordinator at Terraceview Lodge. “From April 6-9, we connected 39 residents with their families through either a FaceTime visit or phone call. Since then, staff have been making 20 connections a day between residents and family members, which is amazing! These virtual visits are an entirely new way for our seniors to connect with their loved ones and I have to say the response has been very impactful!”
Families are very appreciative of Terraceview Lodge for making this effort to keep connections between them and their loved ones. One reason these visits are so meaningful is because some family members were worried that their loved one might forget them, due to various mental health or cognitive issues, which would be heartbreaking. Instead, families are seeing their loved one and getting peace of mind.
“This has been an emotional journey,” says Bonnie. “It’s a real gift to be able to share in these moments with the residents and their family. There are lots of smiles and tears and grateful hearts.”
These interactions allow staff to make a deeper relationship with the residents and their family members. Staff are part of the conversation between residents and their families so they can offer support with the technology.
One of the new residents commented that it was a nice way to visit. He moved in to Terraceview Lodge shortly after visitor access was restricted and his family didn’t have a chance to step inside the building or see his room. The virtual visits let them see their dad and his room.
In addition to the iPads, Terraceview Lodge has been fortunate to receive some very generous support from the community.
- Domino’s Pizza provided a lunch for everyone
- The Salvation Army delivered free coffee and muffins every Wednesday throughout April
- Baker Extraordinaire contributed cookies
- Walmart made staff ‘goodie bags’
- Alcan donated 50 gowns when Terraceview Lodge was short on supply
- The Dr. R.E.M Lee Hospital Foundation matched any funds donated to the COVID-19 hospital fund in the month of April
- Kitsumkalum is buying something for the health care teams
The latest good news project slated for Terraceview residents will be an art project similar to the fish that’s featured on the Millennium Trail. The Women’s Resource, a group of local businesswomen, pledged the funds, which were subsequently matched by the Skeena Salmon Arts Festival. This donation purchased 150 wooden fish and hearts, which are being painted by residents. The paints have been donated by the Creative Zone. The staff are pairing up with the residents to “just keep swimming” and paint a wooden fish or heart to display on their backyard fences.
Staff and residents at Terraceview Lodge want to thank everyone in the community for their generous donations and for supporting them to connect with their loved ones at this difficult time!