RE: COVID-19 – Update from Sunnyside

Dear Family & Friends of Sunnyside;

We continue to be well at Sunnyside with no sick residents or staff.  We keep adding more and more steps to be as safe as possible.

The week of April 5 we decided to have our nursing staff started wearing masks when providing hands on care.

The week of April 12 the Sask. Health Authority required all staff to wear a mask all the time.  This is not the home-like environment we have been trying to create over the past few years, however, as we learn more about covid-19, it is the right thing to do to protect our residents and staff.  We had enough masks to implement this immediately and are relying on the Health Authority to provide us with masks going forward.

This week you likely heard the Sask. Health Authority announce that all health care facilities have to stop sharing staff by Tuesday, April 28.  We share 50 staff with 20 different health facilities.  We have been working all week with our shared staff and the other health facilities to divide up our shared staff in a fair way.  We have 90% of this work completed and will be fully implemented as required on April 28.

For the staff that are staying with us we guaranteed them that we will make up the shifts they had at their other job so they don’t lose any income.  For our staff that are going to work at other places we guaranteed them that they will get their positions back when the pandemic is over.  We will remain fully staffed after April 28.

You may have heard on the news that part of problem with health care staff working multiple jobs was due to poor wages, no benefits and no sick pay.  I want to assure you that Sunnyside pays our staff the Sask. government negotiated wages, we provide a full benefits package and all our staff are entitled to sick pay.  If they are sick they know not to come to work and risk infecting our residents.  Casual staff are a fact of life in health care because we operate 24 * 7 * 365.  When a full or part-time staff member is off on vacation or a statutory holiday, or sick or on training, etc, we need casual staff to fill their shifts so we are always fully staffed and can maintain our care levels.  Casual are paid on the same government pay scale as our full and part-time staff, are entitled to sick pay and qualify for benefits if they work enough hours.  Our staff are very important and our most important asset, we treat them as best we can.

I’m happy to report that our last staff member who was out of the country when the borders were closed was able to get one of the federal government flights back to Canada.  She has served her 14 days of isolation and is back working with us.

We will soon be using iPads to connect electronically with our Doctors and Physiotherapist so they can do assessments and consult with us from their offices.

Please note that we cannot take home made food inside for our residents.

With the arrival of spring and warmer weather our residents are happy to go outside and enjoy our courtyard.  Our summer grounds keeping student will be starting May 4 and will have lots of work to do raking and cleaning things up.  We will be planting flowers and gardening with our residents in our courtyard in about a month.  If you have any outdoor annuals or perennials that you would like to donate let me know.

Some of you may be aware that we have large community garden in our north-east property.  We will be opening this up to our community gardeners, staff and family members again this year.  If you would like a garden spot let me know, we have a few spots available.  Unfortunately our residents will not be able to come out to the community garden this year, but those with windows facing the garden will enjoy all the activity.  Physical distancing will have to be maintained by all gardeners.

Staying in touch with your loved ones at Sunnyside is very important.  Many of you have been connecting electronically for face to face conversations.  We will be receiving a donated iPad, so will have three iPads to use to keep up with this popular service.  Call our Recreation team at 306-653-1267 ext. 140 to make an appointment to have face to face time with your loved one.  If you get their voice mail, leave a message and they will call you back as our Recreation team spends most of their time out with residents.

If you don’t use computers and your loved one does not have a phone in their room, we have wireless phones we can take to them, just call our nursing desk at 306-653-1267 ext 124.  You can also send us emails to deliver and read to your resident.  Emails can be sent to me at randy.kurtz@saskhealthauthority.ca.

Some family members are coming to our front window to see their loved one.  You can call our Rec team at 306-653-1267 ext 140 to let them know when you are coming and they will bring your loved one to the front window.  You can talk via telephone.

Please share this info with all your other family members or let them know they can keep updated with things at Sunnyside on our web page (www.sunnysidecare.ca) and our Facebook page (Sunnyside Adventist Care Centre).

Also keep updated via Saskatchewan’s website at:  www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19.  There continues to be good news with more people recovering from covid-19 than new cases being found.  The actual number of sick people was down to 65 as of April 23.  There was exciting news yesterday with the “Re-open Saskatchewan” announcement.  If you have not already done so, please check it out on the above website.

It is going to be some time before long term care homes can re-open, we can’t predict when that will be.  We appreciate your support, patience and prayers and miss having you with us every day.  It’s going to be a great day when you can join us inside again.  Until then, if there is anything else we can do for your loved one or for you, please let us know.  I am available at 306-653-1267 ext 123 or randy.kurtz@saskhealthauthority.ca.  Our nursing staff are available 24 * 7 at ext 124.  All other departments are listed on our phone system when you call.

Please continue to keep us and our world in your prayers at this critical time.

Take care,

Randy Kurtz

Administrator