It’s been quite a year! As we reflect back, we find that while there certainly were challenges, we found tremendous opportunities for creativity, compassion, and kindness, with resilience and adaptability that rose to the surface when we needed it. 2020 tested us in many ways, and I am so proud of the way you, our residents, and our staff rose to each new situation calmly, creatively, and lovingly.
COVID-19 Outbreak at Veterans Memorial Lodge
On November 29, 2020, Island Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Veterans Memorial Lodge with a positive test result for one staff member in one unit. We immediately implemented our Outbreak Response Plan in collaboration with Island Health, including enhanced infection control measures and ongoing communication with families and residents of Veterans Memorial Lodge, and with our staff.
During the following two weeks, all residents and staff in the impacted area were tested twice for COVID-19 (once a week). All tests were negative, and Island Health declared the outbreak over on Friday, December 11, 2020.
We are grateful for the understanding, willingness, generosity, and confidence the families of residents at Veterans Memorial Lodge had in us as we managed this outbreak. Though the challenge was great, the response was greater, and we are thankful for the efforts that enabled us to contain the outbreak to a single staff member.
I am particularly proud of our staff, who rose to the challenge with courage and compassion, doing everything they could to deliver excellent care and service. Their dedication was wholehearted, and I am grateful for the calm, professional, caring way they approached this situation.
It is our privilege to care for the people who live and work with us, and their safety and wellbeing is of utmost importance to us. As we progress through the winter season, we invite you to join us in remaining vigilant in order to continue to protect those who are the most vulnerable among us.
Holiday Celebrations and Decorating
This year, holiday celebrations in our Care Homes are a little quieter than usual, yet the magic of the season is alive and well. For example, this week a member from the community delivered 100 gifts for the people who live in all our Care Homes, donated by her friends and family members. We are humbled by the generosity our communities have shown this year, and want you to know that each message of encouragement and every donation has made a huge difference for the people who live and work with us. We know it hasn’t been easy, and at the same time, we are warmed by the genuine care and concern for all within our Homes.
With a view to providing a clean, healthy, safe, and caring environment in long term care homes, Island Health has given us their policy about holiday decorations. Families are welcome to provide seasonal decorations in their loved one’s room, within the following guidelines:
- Decorations must be limited to ensure adequate space for staff to safely provide care;
- Decorations must be easy to clean; and,
- Decorations will be removed and may be thrown out should there be an outbreak.
Booking Visits, Phone Calls and Video Calls at Veterans Memorial Lodge
We have recently made a change to the way in which designated social visits, window visits, and video/phone calls are scheduled at Veterans Memorial Lodge. Reception will now book all visits except essential visits. Please call 250.658.0311 to book your appointment. Please do not call Activity Workers directly as they no longer have access to booking information. Thank you for your understanding as we do our best to streamline the visit booking system at Veterans Memorial Lodge. All other Care Homes will continue with their existing processes.
Send Holiday Joy
You are also very welcome to access our Keep Connected page, through which you can send a message, or upload photos or short videos for your loved ones in any of our Care Homes. Santa’s Helpers will share these messages with them, and we know how much joy that will bring.
While the holidays will look a little different this year, I firmly believe there are better days ahead. I know that together we will manage whatever comes our way in 2021. Thank you again for your confidence in us, your generosity, and your encouragement during this uniquely challenging year. I wish you and your families the best of the holiday season.