RSAs commended for their contribution to Forest Hill during the pandemic

Residents are getting more one-to-one time and staff members have a more manageable workload, thanks to the resident support aide program

Craig Forrest, the life enrichment co-ordinator at Forest Hill, is commending the positive difference resident support aides (RSAs) have made to both residents and staff members at the Ottawa-area long-term care home during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

RSAs are working at many Ontario long-term care homes. RSAs are helping with a variety of tasks at Forest Hill, including spending one-to-one time with residents, putting away laundry, clearing tables after meals and assisting life enrichment departments with programming.

Through the work they do, RSAs are ensuring more social time is spent individually with residents. Staff members are benefiting from having their workloads lightened by the RSAs, and this allows them to concentrate more on resident care.

Through a partnership with The Ottawa Hospital, the RSAs at Forest Hill are recruited and trained. RSAs at Forest Hill are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and meet all the requirements needed for their work.

The Ontario government launched the RSA program in November 2020 to alleviate the burden caused by staffing shortages in the province’s long-term care homes that were made more challenging by the pandemic.

Craig says the Forest Hill RSAs, who have been at the home almost since the program began, have been benefiting everyone.

“This has been a great program for Forest Hill,” Craig tells The OMNIway. “They (the RSAs) are very helpful to us and very beneficial to the residents.”

There are five floors at Forest Hill and the RSAs working at the home are assigned to individual floors, which helps them build a rapport with residents.

Craig says the increased one-to-one time for residents has been the most beneficial aspect of the RSA program, adding that last summer the RSAs spent lots of outdoor time with residents on the patio if staff members or their families weren’t available.

“It has been a really good program,” he says.

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PHOTO CAPTION:  Pictured above, Forest Hill resident support aide Aiden Rollin spends time with resident Shirley Parker.