The Gazette has published articles concerning the current COVID outbreak at the St. Albert Retirement Residence (SARR). Some family members were critical of the efforts and information sharing from SARR. I welcome the opportunity to share our family experiences with this facility.
Our mother is a resident at SARR and is housed in an area known as the “Boulevard”. This unit cares for a specific clientele, those afflicted with Alzheimer’s. This disease presents the staff with many challenges not seen in other units. No matter what that challenge might be, the health care aides rise to the occasion. Our family has come to know these ladies and to witness firsthand their love, kindness and work ethic. Not all of their tasks are easy or necessarily pleasant but they carry them out reliably. Mom could not have better care. It’s so comforting to know this. The rest of the staff at SARR has proven equally pleasing. The ever smiling girls at reception always greet us warmly and are a wealth of information. The nursing staff is always available to answer questions or concerns about mom's health.
And now we have the COVID outbreak at SARR. The virus we think will never affect us or our families. Surprise – it’s found its way into hospitals, schools, retirement residences and other facilities. This can happen despite taking any number of initiatives to mitigate a viral outbreak.
Since the outbreak, families have naturally feared for the safety of loved ones in SARR. Many things have been initiated, including deep cleaning and sanitizing, residents sheltering in place, staff wearing personal protective equipment, offering the services of a social worker to families and working with Public Health to complete contact tracing and continued swab testing.
Communication with families is paramount. Each family has a primary contact who receives two emails per week from Craig Smith, the executive director. It is the responsibility of the contact person to forward the email information along to other family members. Part of the information is data for both staff and residents. It includes number of active positive cases, number of positive test results since outbreak, number resolved, number in hospital, number of cases resolved and number of cases anticipated to be resolved shortly. We’ve had no issues with being kept well-informed and appreciate all the information.
In summation, we have full confidence that the long hours and hard work being put in by Craig and his team will see us through this crisis. We thank them for their efforts and sacrifices.
Sandy White, Athabasca