Century Park Implements New Infection Control Measures
Leslie Beard, Communications Coordinator for Optima Living, said the company operates a number of facilities across Alberta and British Columbia. “At all those facilities we have not had one positive case of COVID-19. And that really, that speaks to the quality of care.
One of the things that they (Optima Living) recently put in place, a new partnership they are launching with Norquest. It’s called the Health Care Aide Workplace Initiative. What they’re doing with Norquest is they are going to bring in health care aide students who are working to get certified as health care aides. It started on June 1.
For the next year these people come in, obviously they are supervised, they get the necessary training, real life training. So this is to add to the labour pool. There’s no doubt about it as the population is aging we need new young people coming in who can work in these positions.”
Beard said that in any health organization you are always looking for opportunities to bring in and to encourage people to consider your place for employment. Optima does for Century Park right now have a few job openings and they are looking for people, but right now I mean we’ve got the staff we need and we are working with AHS Central Zone to make sure we have adequate staff to maintain the quality of care.
So, this is really a team effort it’s not just all the facilities in the Vegreville area working together as well with Alberta Health and AHS. And that’s the encouraging thing. Everyone is focused on quality of care. She also wanted to point out that none of the staff or the residents have tested positive for COVID. Every day, even if staff go out for breaks, when they come back into the facility they have to have their temperature taken, they have to wash their hands, and they have to fill out a form if there’s any symptoms. We do that religiously, and so far it’s been effective in protecting everyone.
At Century Park we put in a number of different initiatives even before it was mandated by Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services. We have put in 40 new soap and hand sanitizer dispensers in each room, and that has been done in the last two weeks in all of our supportive living places. We have also installed eight new pump stations along the walls in each of our cottages. Beard added that those dispensers and pump stations will remain in place after COVID is gone.
“The big focus has always been on infection control, and that’s what we’re doing right now. We are still following all of the protocols that we did before, but now, of course people can’t come in to visit their loved one but we have set up patio visits. Where seven days a week people can come in and visited their loved one, 30-minute visits, two visitors for one resident. We’ve done that for the past two months. Before that people could come in one person at a time. They have to go through a whole protocol of hand washing, temperature taken, and filling out a survey to see if they have any of these COVID symptoms.
But, once of course things got more serious around the world they had to crack down on that. The only exception to that if you have one resident in palliative care. The Chief Medical Officer of Health has agreed that that resident can have a family member come in as long as they’re wearing a mask and they are screened. They go through the protocol, get their temperature taken, fill out the form, wash their hands.
Some of the other things that we have done that are more of a quality of life issue. Quality of care obviously that’s our priority, and that has to be the most important thing, but quality of life too in a time when you are somewhat isolated from your loved ones. So we celebrate all residents birthdays. There’s the cake there’s a celebration and even though family members haven’t been able to come in to participate, we take photos, and they are shared with family members. We had a big Mother’s Day celebration.
Another example is a husband and wife asked for their loved one if they could plant two lilac shrubs and a rose bush in front of their window. We said yes it wasn’t an issue, so they planted it there. And then they got their lawn chairs and put on their masks and sat in front of the window and enjoyed the fact those bushes had been planted there. It may not sound like a lot but it means a lot, these sorts of gestures in these times.”