LETTER: ‘Immeasurable and heartfelt gratitude to each and every Westminster House staff member’

‘Finest of humanity’ displayed during extended COVID-19 lockdown


Re: COVID-19 outbreak at care home declared over, Nov. 11

The pandemic is not over and, tragically, our elders in care are some of the most vulnerable at risk of the virus’s damaging effects.

Many of those elders bear the brunt of the pandemic’s social isolation and the grief and despair it brings. The shortage of human resources in health care is a problem in B.C.’s acute care and long-term care.

Care facilities are not designed as isolation units. Despite all this, Westminster House and the measures instituted by Fraser Health kept the coronavirus out of this facility for over 18 months, while we were holding out for the hope offered by vaccines.

Even before this lockdown began on Sept. 12, I was filled with admiration for the staff who have been dedicated and devoted to keeping our loved ones safe.

As I watched from my perch outside my father’s window at Westminster House, I saw the growing anxiety, exhaustion, and fear.

I heard the staff care, with dignity and respect, for residents who, by nature of their medical conditions, could not manage their own behaviours, or understand the need for isolation. I saw regular staff disappear for some weeks as some tested positive for coronavirus.

I saw many new faces as Fraser Health supplied personnel to replace and supplement the Westminster House staff. I saw all the extra work that carrying out the proper isolation procedures for each resident entailed.

I saw both Westminster House and Fraser Health workers arriving for their shifts worried and weary before they even began, some unfamiliar with the facility and the residents, but all stepping into their responsibilities with determination to do their best under extremely challenging conditions.

I saw the increased measures for infection control, when workers came in to my father’s room several times a day to carry out extra sanitizing procedures. I saw everyone’s fatigue and discouragement grow with each week the lockdown persisted. And yet, they steadfastly carried on their efforts through what many of them have referred to as “a never-ending nightmare.”

I wish to share my immeasurable and heartfelt gratitude to each and every Westminster House staff member and Fraser Health personnel for the extraordinary efforts that they carried out each hour of each day of this lockdown, and all the months of the pandemic preceding it.

They have displayed the finest of humanity. Many, many thanks.

Pat Randall, Surrey

COVID-19Letter to the Editorseniors housing