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Random Acts of Compassion: Little things mean a lot

April 24th, 2020
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Welcome to an ongoing series highlighting random acts of compassion in Providence Health Care’s long-term care homes

By Kris Wallace

Blow me a kiss from across the room
Say I look nice when I’m not
Touch my hair as you pass my chair
Little things mean a lot

That’s the first verse of the 1954 smash hit, “Little Things Mean a Lot,” a song many folks living in long-term care probably remember. These days, as our residents, families, and staff search for strength, comfort, and connection, little things mean everything.

The sights and sounds of community

Holy Family Hospital has brought a heartwarming version of the 7 PM cheer to its long-term care home. Every morning around 10 o’clock, residents are treated to music and inspirational messages over the PA system.

According to Rae Johnson, Holy Family’s site leader, it started by wanting to do something special for a resident’s birthday. “Normally, she would have gone out for a nice meal. But since that wasn’t possible, we decided to broadcast a special birthday wish. We were amazed by the positive response from our residents, so we started doing them every day. Some folks read poems or share inspiring thoughts. Last week, Melissa Donaldson (our amazing music therapist) and Mrs. Yin Ping Wong joined forces to sing a beautiful song called The moon represents my love.

Meanwhile, at Brock Farnhi, staff created a “Well Wishes” box at the entrance so families can drop off cards and notes for their loved ones. In case you didn’t know, you can email your good wishes to anyone in any of our homes or hospitals. Send your notes to: wellwishesstpauls@providencehealth.bc.ca (Don’t forget to include your loved one’s name and where they live!)

The gift of compassion

If there was a 7 PM cheer for St. Paul’s Foundation donors, Suzana Philips would be there with bells on! Suzana is a social worker at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital. “Thanks to the generosity of our amazing donors, our residents have iPads to visit with their families. Every day, I get to experience the joy of helping them stay connected to their loved ones.”

As you might imagine, wrangling that technology can be a challenge for some seniors. But where there’s a will, and a compassionate staff member, there’s a way!

“Most of our residents and their spouses haven’t used smart phones or apps like FaceTime,” Suzana explains. She shares the story of one woman whose husband used to visit all the time. When the residence went into lockdown, he wasn’t able to come anymore. She spoke with the fellow on the phone and learned that he didn’t have a smart phone, but he had the next best thing: a grandson living nearby. Suzana and the grandson were able to set up a Skype call between the couple.

“The husband was overjoyed at seeing his wife for the first time in weeks. And although our resident isn’t verbal, her eyes sparkled as she listened to her husband’s voice. It was magical.”

Little things mean so much, and so does your support. When you give to the COVID-19 Response Fund, you help bring these moments to life every day, right across our hospitals and care homes. Please give today: for a limited time, your gift will be matched by the Conconi Family Foundation to double its impact. Thank you!

St. Paul's Foundation

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