Diane St-Denis has been working at Chateau Glengarry Retirement Living Centre for 34 years. As the Administrator she has been at the center of the Home’s COVID-19 response for the past 12 months.
Diane St-Denis has been working at Chateau Glengarry Retirement Living Centre (the “Home”) for 34 years. As the Administrator of this Home in picturesque Alexandria Ontario, this role typically involves working with residents who are seniors in age, that need some assistance with daily living tasks, as well as those that require memory care. Over the past 12 months, Diane has been at the center of the Home’s COVID-19 response.
Through her several dozens of years at Chateau Glengarry, Diane has dealt with a variety of crises and considers herself used to such intense situations. “We see things that most people haven’t experienced until approaching the later stage of lives. It can be overwhelming at times,” she says. “It is normal for residents to experience known illnesses.” However, after a year fighting COVID-19, Diane admits that this has been the toughest battle in her career.
Each morning, before breakfast and her work hours, Diane scans the province’s newly reported cases of COVID-19 and updated policies from regulators and relevant offices. Diane continues to take measures every day to protect our residents, staff, and herself.
Some of the measures Diane takes while following comprehensive infection control guidelines and procedures is to ensure that the home is always clean by disinfecting the furniture, floors, and handles, as well as reminding residents and staff to wash their hands and belongings, how to properly use PPE masks and equipment and to practice social distancing.
Unfortunately, the nightmare still came, one staff member was infected in the community and an outbreak was announced to the highest alert level at the end of 2020 after being virus-free for 10 months. Ever since, Diane has dedicated even more time to ensure the safety of Chateau Glengarry, including communicating with residents, staff, regulators, suppliers, and overseeing their mental and physical health. Thanks to her help protecting the environment of the retirement home on daily basis, NONE of the residents tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the Pandemic till now.
Another challenge has been the shortage of staff and the increased need for training. Diane acknowledges that some staff members needed to prioritize the safety of their own family; however, the majority of our staff remained dedicated to working with the residents and are truly the CHERISHED ASSETS of our society. Risking their lives to take care of those in need.
After operating in Alexandria for more than 30 years, Chateau Glengarry strives to live up to its purpose of caring for its residents. Of course, COVID-19 has also created challenges for training, especially for new staff members. Lise, Diane’s helpful Activities Director, is yet optimistic about this and jokes, “Don't mess with me, you shrewd virus! It’s piece of cake for me to train a troop to capture you!”
Up until now, more than 90% of our residents have received two vaccine shots successfully. Diane is grateful for the support from the staff, her Director, and the community, and has realized the toughest year only made her a better and stronger person. It is Diane, among many frontline healthcare workers, who are the heroes that make Canada a safe country to live in.
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