Community’s love helping Almonte Country Haven through pandemic

‘The ongoing demonstrations of support and kind words provide the fuel our team needs to continue on in our efforts to provide the excellent care and support that our little home is known for’

The cards pinned to the Almonte Country Haven bulletin board and the hand-painted signs adorning the garden tell the story of a community that’s rallying to support the residents who live at the Lanark County long-term care home and the staff members who work there during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

“Heroes live and work here,” reads one sign posted outside the home.

Another simply says “stay strong.”

A card sent to the Almonte Country Haven team from a family in the nearby town of Beckwith was accompanied by homemade Easter crafts to lift the team’s spirits.

“To all the frontline workers, please know that you are in our thoughts,” the card from the McMurtry family reads.

“We hope you can find a small piece of calm knowing you are doing your best caring for your residents.”

It has been a challenging two and a half weeks for Almonte Country Haven. At the time of this writing there have been 18 residents who have passed away as a result of complications related to COVID-19 infection.

An April 11 article published in the Ottawa Citizen features an interview with the granddaughter of one of those residents, 95-year-old Don Carruthers.

Jessica Mulligan told the newspaper of the care and support Almonte Country Haven staff members show for residents and their families.

“They come in and treat these people like family. They take care of them like family because we cannot be there. And then they go home to their family and they could potentially be getting this illness,” she told the Citizen.

“My grandfather had the best care he could when he passed. Yes, people are passing away, but they are doing what they can with the circumstances they are under.”

Safety protocols restricting all but essential visitors have been in place for more than a month at Almonte Country Haven and OMNI Health Care’s other 17 long-term care homes.

Residents and their loved ones are missing each other.

It’s especially difficult for residents this time of year, with Easter being an occasion they usually spend with their families.

Still, Almonte Country Haven was decorated for the Easter holiday, a testament to staff members’ dedication to keeping residents’ spirits high.

And it’s the kindness and support from the community and from residents’ families that’s helping Almonte Country Haven carry on.

“(T)his is what we need right now to get through this,” Almonte Country Haven administrator Carolyn Della Foresta writes in an e-mail statement.

“The ongoing demonstrations of support and kind words provide the fuel our team needs to continue on in our efforts to provide the excellent care and support that our little home is known for.”

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