Known for their admirable commitment to residents’ care, the COVID-19 Long-term Care Deployment Team prioritized the health of residents in the midst of COVID-19 outbreaks during pre-vaccination waves.
Two-hundred licensed practical nurses, community health workers, and health care assistants formed the Long-term Care Deployment Team. Team members were working like first responders, deployed into facilities in the midst of COVID-19 outbreaks to take care of residents.
When Cheryl Beach describes the work of the Long-term Care Deployment Team, her voice fills with emotion, “Day after day, this team demonstrated perseverance in the face of adversity and courage to be in the most challenging situations. They consistently put the care of residents at the heart of what they do.”
Cheryl is the Executive Director of Integrated Community Services. When the pandemic hit our province in March 2020 she was tasked with assembling a team of health care staff who could be deployed, as needed, into long-term care facilities during COVID-19 outbreaks.
Assembling this team was a proactive measure taken to help protect the health and quality of care of approximately 8,600 long-term care residents who reside in care homes across the region, and who are among the most vulnerable people in our community. Fraser Health was the only health authority in the province to establish a team like this. Two-hundred service providers, including licensed practical nurses, community health workers, and health care assistants, formed the Long-term Care Deployment Team and went on to provide as many as 4,000 care hours each week to facilities across Fraser Health, and continue to do so.
“Team members were working like first responders, like firefighters running towards these crises,” Cheryl explains. “They were deployed over and over again into facilities in the midst of COVID-19 outbreaks. People were sick, people were scared, and the team members went into these stressful situations and took care of the residents. It demonstrated such intense and admirable commitment.”
During pre-vaccination COVID-19 waves, the team was supporting up to 40 long-term care facilities at once. Thankfully, the vaccine has slowed the occurrences of outbreaks in facilities, allowing the team to be able to step in to lend support to another health authority during one of its long-term care COVID-19 outbreaks. This support prompted “deep gratitude and humble appreciation” from that health authority’s senior leadership.
The team continues to provide support to long-term care homes experiencing outbreaks.
Jeff Bergen, Roxas Earnshaw, Dona Marie Hulipas, Derek Man, Vina Mae Teng and the entire Long-term Care Deployment Team are recipients of an Above and Beyond Best in Health Care Merit Award, a special one time award for exemplary pandemic-specific responses.