STAR STAFF – Seniors living in long-term care homes and retirement residences in Ottawa have been especially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because seniors are among the most vulnerable people in our community, long-term care homes and retirement residences have had to take extraordinary measures to protect their residents.
|Nikita and Emily stand outside Symphony Senior Living Orléans where they both work as nurses PHOTO SUPPLIED
Most have been under a strict lockdown since mid-March, which prohibits family members from visiting their loved ones. In some instances, the prohibition has lead to a heightened level of anxiety.
Fortunately, each senior care facility is manned by a dedicated team of personal care workers, nurses, housekeepers, kitchen staff and managers whose sole purpose is to look after the needs of their residents during the pandemic.
Symphony Senior Living Orléans is no exception. Located on Lumberman Way, the retirement community has so far managed to avoid the virus largely due to the proactive approach Symphony Senior Living owner and founder Lisa Brush took in the early days of the pandemic. They were one of the first residences to impose a non-essential visitor ban and they instituted a strict screening process for all of their employees early on in the process.
They are also blessed with a small but dedicated group of nurses, two of whom are Nikita and Emily.
Nikita has been with Symphony Senior Living Orléans since 2018, while Emily only started working at the residence in early April. She was hired after she spent 14 days in self-quarantine following a trip to Australia. This is her first nursing job.
Besides looking after the residents’ health care needs during the pandemic, the subsequent lockdown and non-essential visitors ban has forced the two nurses to provide the residents with more emotional support than they might ordinarily need under normal circumstances.
“It’s been very difficult on some of our residents not being able to see their families, so we’ve been trying to keep them busy by doing as many activities as possible and making sure they’re not missing the family visits too much,” says Emily.
The pandemic has also forced them to spread their wings a little bit. Nikita has applied her talents as an amateur hair stylist – “I don’t cut their hair. I just wash it and style it a bit to help them look nice.” – and Emily plays the guitar for the residents in between her rounds.
The residents at Symphony Senior Living Orléans are indeed fortunate to have such a dedicated team of nurses and staff members to help get them through the pandemic.
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