Creative thinking ensures a safe, fun St. Patrick’s Day for Almonte residents during pandemic

Residents receive room-to-room visits from team, while one resident’s family serenaded her from the garden

While Almonte Country Haven’s annual St. Patrick’s Day party was cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lanark County long-term care home’s residents were still able to safely enjoy a celebration of all things Irish, thanks to the creativity of staff and some family members.

Almonte Country Haven, along with OMNI Health Care’s other 17 long-term care homes, is closed to visitors to protect residents and team members during the COVID-19 crisis. This also means there are no large-group gatherings being held in the homes.

But with a large population of people who have Irish ancestry in the region, St. Patrick’s Day is naturally a special spot on the calendar for many, and Almonte Country Haven residents are no exception, says administrator Carolyn Della Foresta.

So, on March 17, team members, clad in their green St. Patrick’s Day best, did room-to-room visits and delivered green beer and snacks while traditional Irish music played over the intercom.

This noticeably brightened everyone’s spirit, Carolyn says.

“It was a fun atmosphere; we had residents dressed up and a lot of staff were right in the mood,” the administrator tells The OMNIway.

“One dietary staff member was dressed in a green tutu dress with shamrock earrings and this funny hat, and everybody was really in the mood. We had a great time.”

Later on in the day, Carolyn was working at her desk when she experienced a moment she says was the highlight of the day for her.

Outside, in the home’s garden, she heard the sound of people singing. When she looked out her window, she saw resident Eileen Coyne’s daughter, Jane, and grandson singing towards the window of Eileen’s room.

“This is a very beautiful story in this time of isolation,” Carolyn says.

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