Vernon’s Heritage Square, operated by Kaigo Senior Living Group. (Laryn Gilmour - Black Press Media)

COVID-19: Okanagan assisted living tenants to connect with families via iPads

Kaigo Senior Living Group to stock Vernon and Armstrong care homes with FaceTime tech

Retirement homes and assisted living facilities in the Vernon area are doing all they can to ensure the well-being of their residents during the COVID-19 pandemic — even if it means ordering iPads to keep residents better connected to their families.

Wendy Calhoun is the director of operations for Kaigo Senior Living Group, the parent company of six care homes including Vernon’s Heritage Square and Creekside Landing and Armstrong’s Pioneer Square.

The organization closed all doors to visitors and family members Monday, March 16, in keeping with the latest recommendations from public health authorities.

“We’re making sure that as best as we can we can keep family members informed,” she said. “Families for the most part have been very understanding.”

“Primarily, we’re trying to limit as much as possible the traffic in the residential care where our residents are most vulnerable,” Calhoun said.

That said, Kaigo sites will still allow visits in situations where residents become palliative or fall ill. Those family member visits follow universal precautions and isolation.

READ MORE: Vernon long-term care facility dealing with flu outbreak

READ MORE: ‘We are experiencing a global shift,’ says Vernon mayor

With their front doors locked, Calhoun said the retirement homes and facilities are safer, but also much quieter.

To help tenants through increased isolation, Calhoun is in the process of securing iPads for tenants to speak to their loved ones face-to-face, rather than simply over the phone.

“I’m currently just working with Telus right now to get it set up so that each of our homes have a supply of iPads so we can connect with families,” Calhoun said on March 19.

Kaigo site managers have daily conversations with the regional health authority, passing down the latest information to site staff after a morning phone call with Interior Health.

“Our care teams are meeting daily to try and stay current with the onslaught of information from the health authorities,” Calhoun said. “Making sure we’re maintain our staffing levels is really important, and that we’re caring for our staff as well as our residents.”


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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