“We are at war here.” The enemy is COVID-19 and the soldiers are the staff – the nurses, continuing care aides, the kitchen, the laundry and housekeeping and even the maintenance staff; the administrative staff; Dr. Venne; and the Board of Lakeview Pioneer Lodge. It’s a war that no one wanted to fight and the victims are the very people they strive every day to care for, to provide enriching activities and experiences for, and to provide comfort to in the twilight years of their lives. “People need to know that we are fighting a war,” added Gilles LeBLanc, Board Chair at the Lodge. This came in response to a comment made by a member of the public questioning why more residents hadn’t been transferred to hospital. “The hospitals at Melfort and Nipawin did not have to accept our residents,” LeBlanc stated. Doing so introduced the virus into their hospitals and put their staff at risk, and the residents were not in need of highly specialized treatment like ventilizers and as such those hospitals had every right to refuse them on that point alone. Based on information garnered from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, doctors, and infection control nurses across the province residents of long term care facilities that can be cared for on site should be. The process to get the six residents transferred took a full day from finding hospitals willing and able to help out and accept them, to all the paperwork that needed to be completed before the actual move could happen and all this while continuing to carry out the myriad of everyday things necessary to keep all the wheels turning and dealing with COVID. This move was not a vertical one, moving the residents to a higher level of care clarified LeBlanc, but rather a sideways move made to address the staffing challenges at the time.
The Lodge does have compressed oxygen tanks on site and are quite capable of providing oxygen to residents needing to be supported in that way and Dr. Venne is more than capable of prescribing antibiotics if necessary and monitoring the condition of the residents as he has been doing since the beginning of the outbreak. Should a resident’s condition further deteriorate to the point where a ventilator is necessary and therefore intubation is required, a transfer to an intensive care unit is in order and has been done.
Today we are able to report that the condition of the residents at Lakeview Pioneer Lodge is stable and until they can be said to be improving stable is a good option. The Board has been trying to receive approval to have the staff and residents vaccinated and while the medical health officer for our area was initially in favour he has since changed his mind. The Board is continuing to seek approval to get the healthy staff vaccinated to ensure they don’t fall prey to the virus, but admit that this could take a while. One final note from the Board is this: wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, sanitize your hands every time you use a pen that someone else may have used, sanitize touch surfaces frequently including your own workspace if someone else has used it. This virus spreads just as efficiently through touch as it does through airborne particles. So while the mask serves as a physical reminder to protect from airborne particles it is easy to forget thatthe hands are a transmission zone as well and it is up to you to do all you can to make sure your hands don’t transmit the virus to you.