In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Grey County is redeploying many of its people and resources to essential services, especially Long-Term Care.
People from all kinds of County departments like Economic Development and Planning, are forming a Community Support Team whose first task will be to help people in homes connect to their loved ones through video.
Long-Term Care Director Jennifer Cornell says the news service is called "Colour It Connect" (Named in the same style as Grey's slogan, "Colour it Your Way").
She says they'll use computer tablets and technology like FaceTime and Skype to help people connect while visiting restrictions are in place.
"It can be really lonely. Loneliness can have a real impact on residents' well-being, and it's really tough for the family members who also have their own worries and their fears with what's going on on top of worrying about their loved one in a long-term care home," says Cornell.
She hopes the Colour It Connect program will help relieve some of that worry, adding while some may already connect with family by phone, there are some residents for whom a telephone presents challenges, "Being able to see on a screen...the face of the person they want to communicate with will be very beneficial for them."
The redeployed County staff making it happen will set those video calls up and help residents use that service.
Cornell notes staff at the home are under increased pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic and says there are a lot of preventative measures being put into place to further protect residents of the County's homes, "We're actively screening all staff as they come into the building, so that does take some time. We're using all of our regular outbreak protocol and we're doing enhanced cleaning and working very hard to make sure that we're protecting the residents and the staff in the home."
She notes some of the global travel restrictions have had an impact on staffing levels as well.
Cornell adds the new County Community Support Team is not doing the duties of, or taking away form the hours of unionized Long-Term Care home workers, "They would be able to help in other non-nursing ways."
Cornell says the first wave of redeployed staff consists of about 20 people, "I'm so proud of how enthusiastically they put their hands up to say they would be trained to do something completely outside of what they regularly do and help us out in Long-Term Care."
She says there will be another wave of staff to train in the future as well.
"It is nice to see how people in the community are coming together to provide support for each other. It is really heartwarming."
Meanwhile, Cornell residents have said they're grateful for the extra measures staff have gone to to protect them from COVID-19.
The County's instructions on its website say to set up an appointment, email your resident’s home at the address below.
Grey Gables: firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail)
Lee Manor: email@example.com (link sends e-mail)
Rockwood Terrace: firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail)
In your email, include:
Your Phone Number
Preference of FaceTime or Skype
FaceTime phone number/email address or Skype Account Name