Maplewood family member reflects on what it has meant to be an essential caregiver

Patricia Brown also applauds the strong support she and her mother have received from staff

Patricia Brown says being an essential caregiver to her mother, a Maplewood resident, during the COVID-19 pandemic has been important.

The Ontario Ministry of Health defines essential caregivers as “persons providing direct care to the resident (in ways such as) supporting feeding, mobility, personal hygiene, cognitive stimulation, communication, meaningful connection, relational continuity and assistance in decision-making, per Ministry guidance.”

Currently, residents are allowed up to two designated essential caregivers. Patricia and her sister are their mother’s designated essential caregivers.

As an essential caregiver, Patricia is able to visit her mother, an eight-year resident of the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home, and assist with her care.

Before the ministry allowed long-term care homes to have designated essential caregivers for residents, Patricia, like other family members, was not able to visit Maplewood.

This was a challenging time, Patricia says. Being at Maplewood has been comforting for both her and her mother, she adds.

“As far as our role now, it’s mainly making sure (our mother) is comfortable,” Patricia tells The OMNIway. “It’s mainly letting her know that we’re still there for her. We want to make sure that she knows that we’re there for her.”

Patricia is also applauding Maplewood team members and administrator Rachel Corkery for the care they provided her mother when she and her sister couldn’t be there.

For example, when Patricia’s mother’s birthday was approaching, life enrichment aide Lynanne Campbell trimmed her hair for her birthday photo, which was important to Patricia’s mother.

Acts of kindness like this add up, and the kindness Maplewood team members have shown Patricia’s mother has been comforting to Patricia and her family.

“It has meant an awful lot,” Patricia says.

– This is Part 2 of a two-part story. Click here to read Part 1.

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