Forest Hill LE team applauded for maximizing resident engagement, helping others during pandemic

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the life enrichment team at Forest Hill has worked hard to maximize resident engagement in programming as well as stepping in to help other departments.

Craig Forrest, the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator, says the life enrichment team has especially concentrated on increasing one-to-one programming for residents during the past 23 months since the pandemic was declared.

Additionally, with programming limited to residents on one floor at a time, more residents have been attending activities.

Oftentimes, residents would not leave their home area to attend a program, but if the programming was held in their area they will attend, Craig says.

The result of this effort has been an increased number of residents participating in programming.

“Our activity participation has actually gone up during the pandemic, and it’s mainly due to that fact,” Craig tells The OMNIway.

Planning and carrying out large-group programming consumes a fair amount of time for team members, so not having large-group programming is allowing staff to concentrate on one-to-one time, he adds.

Additionally, life enrichment team members have been able to help their colleagues in other departments, especially environmental services, Craig says.

Throughout the pandemic, sanitizing high-touch areas, such as handrails, light switches, telephones and door handles, has been highly increased.

On top of the extra attention the environmental services team members are paying to disinfecting these areas, the life enrichment team has pitched in to bolster these infection control measures, Craig says.

“The (environmental services) staff is doing their job, but they have such a heavy workload and with (life enrichment staff) helping them when they can, it makes a difference,” he says.

“Wherever they’re needed they will go to help out.”

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