Staff's sacrifices keep Eastern Townships seniors' home COVID-free

An Eastern Townships seniors' residence has yet to report a single case of COVID-19 among its residents after staff went to extraordinary lengths to keep their charges safe.

The Manoir Stanstead is home to 53 seniors, more than of whom are over the age of 90. While they haven't been allowed to have visitors, for the past month they have had some new housemates as 14 staff members have lived in the facility.

For resident Edna Chamberlain, that included members of her own family.

“I felt I was privileged to have my daughter, my son and now my grandson here,” she said. “You can't ask for more than that.”

Her daughter, orderly Faye Chamberlain, said director Susie Adam set the example by moving in as well.

“Susie asked us to set out the call; is anyone willing to move in? We all just jumped on the chance,” she said.

Resident Madeline Bullock said the staff has become like a family to her.

“I thought they were giving a lot of their time and we all should thank them for doing this to keep us safe,” she said.

Faye Chamberlain acknowledged the change has been a challenge, with some staff members leaving loved ones behind but that in the end, it was worth it.

“Our residents, they're like our family members,” she said. “We wanted to keep them as safe as possible.”

The residence even gained a new mascot when orderly and team leader Michelle Dubois moved in with her chihuahua Bobo.

“He's like my comfort blanket but he was actually a huge comfort for everybody,” said Dubois.

Louise McKelvey said she and other residents feel grateful to have been spared the devastation that has hit so many of Quebec's CHSLDs and seniors' homes.

“I was shocked, because I thought everybody cares.”

While staff have begun to move back to their own homes, strict protocols do remain in place. Adam credited the Manoir Stanstead's perseverance through the pandemic to her staff.

“I'm proud of the team, the spirit during that month, it's really incredible,” she said.  

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