Seniors' families pressing for changes as COVID-19 spreads to more care homes
CALGARY -- Infected, alone and unable to communicate with anyone outside his room, 81-year-old Lorne Vaughan might not realize how his family is pressing to try and change conditions at his long-term care facility during the pandemic.
Nina Vaughan’s father along with her aunt and uncle, 81-year-old Doreen and 89-year-old Sylvio Gauvreau, all tested positive for COVID-19 and were put into isolation inside their home at the Mckenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre.
The family support the frontline workers inside the home but are concerned with the management company, Revera. The family said the company is not providing enough communication or enough resources to provide the basic level of care.
"We’ve been in contact with various members of management at Revera and they keep telling us a plan is coming but we don’t have the luxury of time," said Nina Vaughan.
"We’re all just really struggling with how to deal with this,” said the Gauvreaus' daughter, Renee Laboucane.
The family had two main requests of Revera:
- Daily updates on the overall situation inside the care home.
- Daily contact between each resident and at least one family member
The women said they wait days to hear from their parents. The seniors are not able to use technology on their own so without the help of staff they are completely cut-off from family.
"To be on lock down for 18 days ... that’s got to be frightening," said Laboucane.
She said this should not be the responsibility of the health-care staff in the home.
"They need a dedicated team of communication experts," said Laboucane.
The family also said they should not have to wait to learn about additional deaths and newly confirmed cases in the facility from the media.
"Have a virtual town hall with the family members and answer these questions," said Vaughan.
In a statement, Revera’s chief medical officer said the company has been sharing the steps the group has taken on its website.
"We appreciate the support of AHS as we work together to care for and protect our residents and adapt our protocols and procedures to meet the challenge of this unprecedented pandemic," said Dr. Rhonda Collins.
Vaughan and Laboucane also contacted the province about their concerns, saying it's important to have a communications strategy in place as COVID-19 spread to more long-term care facilities.
As of Wednesday afternoon there were confirmed cases of the virus among residents and one staff member at several Calgary facilities:
- Mckenzie Towne
- Continuing Care Centre
- Carewest Glenmore Park
- Extendicare Cedars Villa
- AgeCare Seton (*Staff member infected)
- Father Lacombe Care Centre
Four residents have died of the illness at McKenzie Towne Continuing Care.