Strong communication with Maplewood has made coping with the pandemic easier, says family member

‘The staff really came through,’ says Karen Zidenberg

When the COVID-19 pandemic began 16 months ago, Karen Zidenberg recalls the uncertainty and concern she and other family members of Maplewood residents were experiencing.

After all, the world had not faced a pandemic of this magnitude in 100 years, and there was a lot the experts didn’t know about the virus.

Following pandemic protocols, Ontario long-term care homes went into lockdown and residents were unable to visit with their loved ones.

“When it first began, it was a really strange time and it was really hard not to be able to see my mom; that was a real transition,” Karen recalls.

“That was a very challenging time, but I knew (Maplewood was closed) for all the right reasons. I felt it was in everyone’s best interest for the homes to be shut down. We didn’t know enough about the virus and everyone was pretty vulnerable.”

But from Day 1, Maplewood team members were there for family members, Karen says.

Communication between the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home’s staff, led by administrator Rachel Corkery, and residents’ family members helped make a challenging time easier to deal with, she adds.

“The communication was fabulous,” Karen says.

“I was encouraged to call the nursing station any time I wanted to find out how my mom was doing. Rachel was amazing at keeping us as informed as she could, given the circumstances.

“If I had a question, Rachel was always available to help, or I could always call the home. The staff really came through.”

Karen adds that she knew her mother was safe and in good hands at Maplewood and that gave her peace of mind.

“They gave me the sense that I could sleep at night,” she says.

Karen recently became an essential caregiver to her mother at Maplewood. About a month ago, she went into the home for the first time since the pandemic began.

“It was like nothing ever changed,” Karen says. “She is in the best possible hands. I’ve said that before, but I think it has really sunk in.”

– This is Part 1 of a two-part story

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