A group of long-term care workers in rural Quebec have taken extreme measures to keep COVID-19 from entering their facility: they have each decided to move in with the residents.
For the second time since the start of the pandemic, employees at Manoir Stanstead in Stanstead, Que., about 160 kilometres southeast of Montreal, have committed to move into the facility for an entire month as a way of limiting their own exposure to the virus and thus keeping their residents as safe as possible.
“We all have our own rooms that we sleep in and we have a routine we made and nobody’s really overworked.” Donna Rolfe, assistant director of Manoir Stanstead, told CTV News. “It’s eight hours each and helpers and it’s working out good.”
Everyone from the director of facility to the custodial staff have agreed to move in until Quebec’s province-wide lockdown is scheduled to end on Feb. 8.
Keeping everyone together in a “bubble” and limiting exposure to the outside world has shown to be effective in other settings. Both the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association employed a strict bubble method during their playoffs in the late summer, with not a single reported case of COVID-19 in either setting.
The strategy seems to be working at the facility as well. While more than 7,000 seniors have died from COVID-19 in Quebec long-term care homes since the start of the pandemic, Manoir Stanstead has yet to have a single case.
For many of the workers, moving in is a big commitment given they are leaving their families on the outside, but it’s a commitment they’re willing to make for the health of their residents.
“I have five kids, it’s a big decision that I have to do, but I made that for me, the residents and my family at the same time,” said Angele Trudel, an orderly at the home.
Staff at Manoir Stanstead say they are nervous about inadvertently bringing the virus in with them and potentially harming their elderly residents, so maintaining a bubble was the best course of action.
“There’s no chance of anything coming in,” said Faye Chamberlain, an orderly at the home. “Nothing gets through this door right here without getting disinfected.”
For Chamberlain, the decision was a no-brainer as her 76-year-old mother Edna Chamberlain is a resident at the facility.
“I think it’s real great,” Edna said. “It’s a big sacrifice for them to be away from their family.”