Caring for care homes in the Fraser Valley
Submitted by Shannon Henderson, Senior Communications Consultant, Communications and Public Affairs

Health care teams and communities show their hearts and bravery in caring for residents of long-term care homes in the Fraser Valley.

Anyone who has ever worked with, lived near or had a loved one in long-term care knows that to be connected with a care home is to belong to a warm and caring extended family.

So it’s no surprise that staff, medical staff, vendors, neighbours and even a local farmer waded in deep to support our care homes in Fraser East when they became cut-off due to flooding and landslides.

Despite the many logistics, challenges and daunting tasks at hand, our Integrated Long-term Care and Assisted Living team members worked tirelessly to support care home staff and residents. They checked-in with homes multiple times a day and were available 24/7 to transport supplies and staff required in eight Fraser Health-affiliated long-term care and assisted living homes impacted by the floods.

Care home leaders worked together to share food, supplies and staff, across homes, under the COVID-19 health and safety guidance of the Medical Health Officer. Many staff and medical staff shared their homes with stranded colleagues, while others slept on cots at care homes to cover shifts for those who couldn’t travel.

Neighbours knocked on care home doors to ensure everyone was okay. Even a local farmer dropped off milk and eggs at a care home to help ensure residents and staff had food basics for meals.

“We have had so many incredible acts of bravery and dedication from our team members and the support of the families and local community in Chilliwack for The Cascades (Long-term Care home),” says Tamara Ross, interim vice president, Regional Operations, Sienna Senior Living.

Vendors and our Health Emergency Management BC partners also supported care homes cut-off from essential food shipments and hot water.

“Last week, during a time when there was no food or supplies to purchase in local stores, one of our vendors (Sysco) made a very generous donation of food and supplies to us,” says Tamara.

The Cascades team helped transport the goods to their care home. Given the generosity of the delivery, they were able to pay it forward to others. They created care packages for their team members (many of whom were sheltering in place at the site), staff from other facilities in the area and vulnerable families in the community. The leadership team personally delivered many of these care packages to staff and families in the area.

Riverside Manor in Hope benefited from outside assistance, too. They had been without hot water for several days as the delivery of new hot water tanks had been sabotaged by transportation issues. After much logistical wrangling by Health Emergency Management BC and Fraser Health, and the hard work of multiple people (and a stair climber), they were able to load two 685-lb crates onto trucks to get the hot water flowing for manor residents and staff.

“These are times we see just how incredibly special the Fraser Health team is. Regardless of role, position or location -- the entire team has come together to bring support and hope to those impacted,” says Angela Mitchell, director, Access, Care and Transitions team.

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