A resident of Elim Village, in the Fleetwood area, bangs a pot to cheer on frontline staff in a video posted to BC Care Providers Association’s website.

Thank you frontline workers

SALUTE: Care providers cheered as health-care heroes

Care home staff are being honoured for ‘selfless, dedicated’ work in province’s time of need

The Surrey Now-Leader published a special tribute to frontline workers in its Thursday, April 30th edition. This story focuses on care providers. Click here to see the whole section.

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In a video that has stirred emotions, the elderly residents of Surrey’s Elim Village are shown banging pots, shaking tambourines and otherwise cheering on the health-care heroes who work at the Fleetwood-area “campus of care,” in another of the ongoing “7 p.m. salutes” to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video is posted to the BC Care Providers Association website (bccare.ca), a portal for the province’s continuing care sector. The organization includes close to 370 long-term care, independent living, assisted living, home care, home support and commercial members from across B.C.

Elim Village is among the organization’s largest member facilities in the South Fraser region.

“I don’t know about you, but when I watched the video I got choked up,” said Mike Klassen, vice-president of public affairs for BC Care Providers Association.

“I saw something on social media that said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with not feeling great right now,’ and we’re all kind of going through that, but deep down, how this is impacting families and seniors in particular, is probably hitting us pretty hard. The video just shows how much appreciation there is for frontline staff.”

On April 22, the Fraser Health Authority declared COVID-19 outbreaks “over” at five local long-term care, assisted living and independent living facilities, including a case involving one staff member at Elim Village.

The 25-acre, 700-resident Fleetwood facility, owned by Elim Christian Care Society, offers long-term care, assisted living and independent living. CEO/executive director Ron Pike said close to 300 people work at the facility.

“Elim’s a special community, a special place,” he said, “and there’s such a heightened awareness here among the residents, and it’s special when we all come together in times like that. With the video posted, it’s very encouraging for staff members when they’re supported in a way like that.”

Added Pike: “We’re so proud of the team and the work they’re doing here. We’ve always stressed how important every individual is to what we do at Elim, and they’re really exemplifying that. It’s hard to come to work when you feel that tension – I mean, it’s all around the world right now, that tension, so we’re really proud of the work the staff members here are putting in.”

Province-wide, members of BC Care Providers Association employ close to 18,000 people.

The association recently launched a #TellThemYouCare online campaign that encouraged members of the public to send greetings to seniors during the pandemic, with details posted to bccare.ca/tellthemyoucare.

So far, the submissions have included handwritten notes, video links, drawings and more.

The #TellThemYouCare web page is unique in that it provides a hub for sending and uploading greetings to seniors, then allowing BCCPA to share them directly with seniors via care home staff or home health support workers. No personal information from the submissions will be collected or permanently stored.

Physical distancing is an important duty for all of us during the global pandemic, says BCCPA CEO Daniel Fontaine, but being disconnected from the broader community has been particularly hard for seniors separated from friends and family.

“It is hoped that sending a heartfelt message can show that we care for our elderly loved ones, and that we are thinking of them,” Fontaine said in a news release.

“We’re particularly hoping that teachers and their students doing studies from home will embrace this opportunity and help to flood it with lots of lovely greetings.”

It can be easy for seniors to feel anxious and forgotten during the pandemic. (Photo Unsplash)

In the midst of a pandemic, physical distancing measures and the absence of visits from friends and family have left many older adults feeling anxious and forgotten.

“I know once those messages start rolling in, it will really boost the spirits of seniors across B.C.,” says Fontaine.

Meantime, care workers for seniors are being saluted on the website of SafeCare BC (safecarebc.ca), an industry-funded, non-profit association “working to ensure injury-free, safe working conditions for continuing care workers in B.C.”

Says a message on the website: “To every cleaner, support worker, care aide, nurse, maintenance worker, dietary aide, and so many more working in health care – we salute you. Share your support for B.C.’s health-care workers for the incredibly selfless, dedicated work they’re currently doing to support our province in its time of need. During these difficult circumstances, be part of our Health-Care Heroes campaign to show appreciation for all their hard work.”

In March, SafeCare BC launched Operation Protect as a way of “helping health care workers help us.”

A mobile drop-off site in Surrey has collected thousands of donated masks, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer and other items in the fight against COVID-19. Such PPE, or personal protective equipment, is sought for Operation Protect. Unused and unopened PPE can be dropped off in Vancouver and, in Surrey, in a parking lot at Guildford Town Centre at an arranged time. First, donors are encouraged to fill out a form on the website, safecarebc.ca/operationprotect, or call 1-877-955-6565.

Some of the donated PPE has ended up at Surrey’s Kinsmen Lodge, a care home located a block north of Surrey Memorial Hospital. “I’m so grateful for that, and also to Fraser Health for stepping up,” said Marina Young, director of care.

“We are not running short of supplies, but we’re preparing for the worst, especially if we have to add additional precautions if we have a positive case,” Young said in an earlier interview. “Everything changes every day, and we just don’t know how long this is going to last. We have 157 vulnerable elders who live in our home. We have a lot of staff that go through here daily, and we want them to be safe as well, in a safe work environment.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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