Red Deer Hospice residents are regularly connecting with family members via technology.
In one instance, a bed-ridden resident saw her daughter’s smiling face through the window while they talked over the phone.
Interim executive director Jerri Taylor said a visitor, who had returned from Mexico, was able to safely see and speak to her mother while remaining outside the building because of precautions connected to the COVID-19 virus.
“(The resident) had a phone and they had a phone. They were outside our patio doors, talking on the phone to mom, who was in the room,” Taylor said.
Families and residents are mostly spending extra time with each other by talking on the phone, with a few video chatting on cellphones and tablets, she said.
Only essential visitors, either immediate family or a designated support person, are now allowed to visit the hospice. One person per resident is allowed at a time, but special consideration is given on a case-by-case basis. Volunteers are not allowed onsite.
“We are locked down. All staff are being screened in the morning and their temperatures taken. All visitors are being screened and their temperatures taken.”
Staff are also asked to reduce their risk of COVID-19 exposure; for example, by sending another family member to get groceries.
Taylor said there were 10 residents at the 16-bed hospice, with two more expected on Tuesday.
Hospice staffing was recently down because a few employees travelled outside Canada, had colds, or needed to find child care.
“We have been scrambling, but we are managing. We’re aiming to go up to full capacity, but it depends on staffing.”