Shut in doesn’t mean seniors in long-term care homes have to be shut out during COVID-19 outbreak

Family Councils of Ontario encourages creativity to stay in touch with elderly loved ones

Family Councils of Ontario (FCO) is encouraging families to be creative to maintain those links with loved ones in long-term care homes across the province.

Non-essential visits have been suspended because of COVID-19. The illness is especially nasty to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

FCO works with Family Councils in long-term care homes across Ontario, acting as the lead and support to families in improving quality of life in long-term care.

Spokesperson Samantha Peck said long-term care homes are following protocol to the letter. She said this isn’t just to protect residents and families, also staff so they can continue to deliver good care.

“Homes are well-prepared for outbreaks and issues such as this.”

Peck said her heart breaks for seniors who can’t have regular visits and for families that want to be there for their loved ones.

She has heard stories of families and long-term care homes getting creative to maintain a connection.

At one facility in Lindsay, Peck said the recreation coordinator called hundreds of families of residents through Google Hangouts using tablets the home had.

“Families would book virtual visits and staff would help take families on a tour of their loved ones room and to ensure the resident was well fed, happy and groomed.”

Peck said never rule out the importance of a phone call.

“I know it doesn’t replace the in-person visits that families and residents cherish so much. It doesn’t replace families being able to come and sit with loved ones at meal time.”

Peck said there are instances of creativity happening in Ontario homes that are trying to bridge the gap during what is a very difficult time for everyone.