Just over seven months ago, St.Amant began adapting to the new reality of facing a pandemic in Manitoba. As new announcements and protocols happened every day, our staff rose to the challenge and pivoted to ensure the best service possible. The threat of the virus, the closing of schools and some programming all sprung up within days and affected people supported and their families, and our volunteers and staff.
Our programs instituted new protocols in what we now call the fundamentals. Over one hundred staff immediately started working from home, connecting with their teams over video conferencing. This is how some families also stayed in touch over the spring, with video or phone chats. Outdoor visits soon began and then restrictions were eased and in person visits could safely occur. Staff in our Clinical Services team established a COVID-19 wellness line for the St.Amant community to call. Our volunteers filmed activities and shared them with the people they would see weekly.
“People were so creative, people really focused on the people we support, coming up with all kinds of unique and creative ways in keeping people busy.” said Shirley Labossière, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer.
To resume services for our community programs without compromising the safety of the people living at 440 River Road, the building was segregated into sections with new walls built along with assigning programs to use different entrances. Should a positive case happen in one area, this wouldn’t close down the other programs and services.
“Sometimes it is really difficult to balance the health and safety conversation at the same time acknowledging that people have a need to maintain really important relationships and connection and actually even still try and build those connections and make new ones.” said John Leggat, President & CEO. John returned to St.Amat
Appropriate screening and physical distancing is in place across our program and service areas. There have been a few positive cases in staff and one person supported in the community, creating new challenges but we learn from them to ensure we can do better in the future.
“I really want to say a big thank to all of you that we support and the families for stepping up and for being patient during this really difficult time.” said Leggat.