VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — After seeing her own mother die of COVID-19 at a care facility in Alberta, a nurse who manages care homes in Vancouver made a mission to try and keep case numbers at zero.
Queenie Choo, CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S., had to say goodbye to her mother over video chat before she passed away.
“She was very emaciated. She was unconscious. She died of COVID, and certainly, she died alone,” she tells CityNews.
During a time when family members in long-term care homes are being shaken by tragedy and disconnect, one care home managed by Choo has kept its case numbers at zero.
“Every effort, from my point of view, is important to ensure this kind of tragic situation won’t happen to any of our clients we serve,” she says.
S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is one of Canada’s largest non-profits that assists new immigrants to the country.
Zero COVID-19 cases
Choo’s non-profit manages a number of care facilities, like Simon K.Y. Lee Seniors Care Home in Vancouver’s Chinatown, which hasn’t seen any cases of COVID-19.
The care home, like many others, has been faced with staffing difficulties during the pandemic after a public health order restricted staff from being assigned to more than one home at a time.
“We’ve been providing creative ways of addressing the issues. We’re honouring part-timers to pick up more hours, we’ve granted overtime if it is feasible,” Choo says. “We also wanted to kudos the staff who have been cross-trained to help out – whether it’s feeding, or helping out the transfers, toileting the residents.”
She adds her staff continues to reinforce virus transmission prevention knowledge.
“No matter how often they have received it, it’s important to refresh the education and make sure the knowledge is there,” Choo says.
There are five iPads with video meeting software available at Simon K.Y. Lee so families can meet safely.
Some people have been allowed essential visits to family members at the end of their lives, made possible through a screening process, sanitation regimes, and wearing lots of personal protective equipment.
But Choo wished her family was able to have that with her mother, who died before Christmas.
“She couldn’t feed herself towards the last stage of her life, and we wished we were there during her last moments,” she says. “It was very sad and certainly I don’t want that to happen to anyone.”