HHS staff lend a hand to long-term care home during pandemic
Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) staff always step up in times of need.
“When there was an opportunity to be redeployed, I didn’t hesitate,” says Marlo Wilson, an HHS nurse who is temporarily working at Grace Villa nursing home in Hamilton to care for residents during a COVID-19 outbreak in the home.
HHS has been working closely with Grace Villa to help manage the outbreak since November 28. Now, in accordance with a voluntary management agreement approved by the Ministry of Long-Term Care, HHS has assumed temporary management of the home to help keep residents safe.
“The team at Grace Villa has been working very hard to limit the spread and keep their residents and staff safe. This agreement allows us to expand our role at Grace Villa and build up the capacity needed to manage and stabilize the situation,” says Sharon Pierson, executive vice president of clinical operations and chief operating officer at HHS. “We’re grateful for our staff and physicians who continue to answer the call to serve the most vulnerable in our community, both inside and outside of our hospital walls.”
This is not the first time HHS staff have brought their skills and expertise to support staff and residents in the long-term care sector. They have also supported other homes throughout the pandemic by carrying out infection prevention and control assessments and follow-ups.
HHS has a long working relationship with Grace Villa and both HHS and Grace Villa voluntarily entered into this agreement.
“Humbling but also very difficult”
Wilson started working at the nursing home on December 8. Her role involves everything from administering medications and completing head-to-toe nursing assessments and taking vitals, to communicating and supporting residents and their families, to assisting with feeding and personal care. She says she will do whatever is needed.
“It’s very humbling but also very difficult, to be honest,” says Wilson. “I know families cannot be here with their loved ones and it’s important to me and everyone I have met that we do all we can to provide the best care, support, and compassion as if it were our loved one.”
Wilson is a registered nurse on HHS’ Geriatrics Consult Team supporting both Hamilton General Hospital and Juravinski Hospital.
“She is a positive role model and champions holistic care for the residents. She jumped in with both feet,” says Kelly O’Halloran, director of community and population health. O’Halloran is part of the HHS team managing partnerships with long-term care homes.
More staff may be needed
HHS is assessing staffing requirements to balance the needs of our hospital-based programs with the needs of Grace Villa. Like Wilson, many staff have already raised their hands to help keep the residents of Grace Villa safe. More will be asked in the coming days as the team further understands the needs at the home.
Wilson was part of a redeployment team during the first wave of the pandemic. “It was humbling to see staff from all different organizations and experiences come together for a common reason,” she says.
As wave two approached, she says it was a no-brainer to help out again.
“My passion is geriatrics and with my background and experience, I wouldn’t want to be any other place during this pandemic.”