An Update on Long Term Care Homes and Where the Pandemic Might be Headed Next
The HomeFront team were taking time over the last couple of weeks to absorb the new conversations that were happening around systemic racism and police brutality in the US and around the world, particularly around the Black community. It was confusing and upsetting to see, but it also sparked some really important conversations, and hopefully some important change. This week, we took time to regroup around our original mandate.
At the HomeFront our focus always has been on the frontline workers who are facing COVID-19 head on. In our mission to meet this community’s most pressing needs, we started our efforts with sourcing PPE, then shifted to support long term care homes and shelters experiencing outbreaks as the situation evolved. In recent conversations with advocates for personal support workers, we learned that the situation has eased from its peak. Not only have new cases slowed, but the outpouring of support that came through when it became clear that there was a lack of PPE was really helpful in addressing that need and spreading awareness of the issue.
The latest news we have to share from the frontlines is that outbreaks have slowed down overall, but many homes are still experiencing outbreaks and they will continue to happen throughout the summer. This is the new reality until a vaccine is found. Frontline staff in long term care homes still need to wear masks every day, and prices have skyrocketed, so the need for PPE is ever present and donations are still needed.
Many personal support workers who have contracted COVID-19 are off work, and many aren’t eligible for CERB and aren’t being paid by their employers. An average of 53 health staff have become infected with COVID-19 every day this month, the majority of them from the long-term-care sector. Those who are still able to work are exhausted and overworked, and they’re bracing themselves for new outbreaks.
In our continued efforts to support these invaluable hard working members of society, we’re working on new and innovative ways to support those fighting on the front lines. We’re looking at 1) supporting immediate needs, 2) helping to prepare them for the second wave that is coming, and 3) understanding the systemic changes that need to happen in order to better support the sector going forward.
As the conversation shifts to focus on reopening, let’s remember that our frontline healthcare workers continue to fight this battle every day, and do our best to minimize the strain on them.
Stay tuned to hear where our next donation is going!