By Michael E. McRae
President & CEO, St. Ann’s Community
June 3rd, 2021
What do you do when you’re told you can no longer do the job you love, even when that job involves helping others?
You find another way of doing it.
That was the case for our dedicated Adult Day Services staff. For 14 months, our ADS programs were forced to close due to state-mandated pandemic restrictions. (Why weren’t they considered essential healthcare workers? Good question, and it angers me still.)
During that time, our Adult Day staff put aside their professional passion (bettering the lives of ADS participants) and took on new roles at St. Ann’s while waiting for restrictions to be lifted. They stepped up to help with new duties the pandemic made necessary at St. Ann’s, including employee COVID testing. Given that we employ some 1,200 people, that was no small task. They also volunteered for our Buddy Program, spending time with residents in our skilled nursing communities while family visits were prohibited.
Of course, they continued to support ADS participants as best they could while those participants were forced to shelter at home. Staff put together curriculum packets (games, puzzles, activities, etc.) and healthy meals and delivered them to participants’ homes. They also stayed in touch, provided telehealth services, and checked in on them regularly from a distance while providing moral support during the lockdown. This was something participants and their families told us they greatly appreciated.
And here, finally, is the good news: after more than a year of closure due to the pandemic, St. Ann’s has been given the green light from New York State to reopen our Adult Day programs. The program at Durand Senior Apartments is now open, and Home Connection at St. Ann’s will be opening soon. With proper COVID-19 precautions in place and temporary limits on the number of people we serve, we’re happy to say, “Welcome back!”
From the reactions I’ve seen, I don’t know who’s happier, the Adult Day participants or our staff. They’re finally able to once again do the work they love, work they know is essential to the health and well-being of those they serve.