By: Mike Anderson
While family members of residents at River Glen Haven have complained about the lack of communication with their loved ones during the COVID-19 outbreak, the nursing home’s owner says things are about to improve.
“Admittedly, this has been a challenge as we have been expending all of our energies to make sure our residents’ care needs are met, said Jordan Kannampuzha, COO, ATK Care Group, in an email to The Post.
Mr. Kannampuzha is promising to increase FaceTime and Skype calls, which have largely ceased during the outbreak, according to several family members.
“We are actively working to increase FaceTime and Skype communication between residents and their families so that they can keep in contact,” he said.
That is welcome news to Maureen McDermott, who’s 92-year-old mother is a resident and has tested positive for the virus.
Ms. McDermott recently worked with MPP Caroline Mulroney’s constituency office to arrange a donation of five iPads to the nursing home — generously provided by the York Region District School Board (YRDSB).
Ms. McDermott says her goal is to provide an iPad for every resident’s room at RGH, which means she needs nearly 40 more.
Ms. McDermott believes this is vital because family members have not been able to see their relatives since mid-March when the province banned visits.
And, this may be the last opportunity for some family members to say goodbye to a loved one.
Currently, Ms. McDermott is accepting iPad donations only, which should be cleaned of any personal information.
An older generation iPad may work fine, as long as it can run the current FaceTime and Skype apps. And, she says she will accept loaners, which will be returned later.
Ms. McDermott’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Post asked Mr. Kannampuzha if he would also consider purchasing additional iPads; however, as of posting, a response has not been received.
Getting detailed, up-to-date information, like test results, has also been an ongoing issue for family members.
In his second letter to family members, dated May 13, Mr. Kannaupuzha outlined the steps he’s taking to address this.
RGH has created a new email address, where family members can ask questions about their loved ones. He also pledged that “we will do our best to respond to all inquiries within 24-48 time period.”
Although he said that health-related information would only be released to the family member who has Power of Attorney (POA) for Personal Care.
“If you are not the POA of Personal Care, please communicate your health-related questions via the POA of Personal Care so that we can provide answers,” Mr. Kannapuzha said.
“We will also be providing general daily operational updates. These updates will include the latest confirmed COVID+ case numbers in our home, and any significant operational changes occurring.”
According to Mr. Kannampuzha, RGH will continue to field calls from family members for any “urgent” issues.