Q & A with Mary Brooks, BayPath's Ombudsman Program Director
Q: When the pandemic restrictions went into full effect in 2020, what were some of the challenges you faced?
Mary: It was an extremely trying time for everyone as it came on so quickly. The most challenging part was not being able to visit the residents in person.
The volunteers struggled with not being able to provide the comfort and support to the residents they had come to know.
Q: What were some of the interim procedures you used during this time?
Mary: We reached out to residents virtually with the assist of staff using zoom, google duo, and simply the phone. Initially, the focus was connecting with the residents to find at least one resident in each facility that could be an "ambassador," often the president of the resident council would take this on. The ambassador would serve as their facility's key contact for the ombudsman to call for insight and status updates.
Thankfully residents were among the first phase of those vaccinated, and at this stage, we can resume visits, practicing safety & social distancing protocols.
Q: How have residents dealt with the pandemic restrictions for the most part?
Mary: The most difficult time, of course, was in the beginning when residents were not allowed visitors and needed to stay in their rooms for their safety. However, two things became apparent. First, older adults are more resilient than we typically think of them being. They have lived through so much in their lives, from wars to other health crises, that this life experience made them more equipped to deal with the pandemic than many younger adults. Secondly, they gained a new appreciation for the support the staff provided them through this difficult time.
Q: How are you able to support so many consumers within MetroWest Long Term Care facilities?
Mary: One word... VOLUNTEERS! We have been so fortunate to have worked with such dedicated volunteers who build a bond with our consumers and take the time to understand the residents' needs. As such, they gain an intuitive sense of when concerns need to be addressed, even if the consumer in question is reluctant to share. The volunteers are a vital part of the work we do.
If you would like to know more about becoming a volunteer for our Long Term Care Ombudsman program - CLICK HERE or you can contact Mary Brooks at email@example.com