I want to express our sincere gratitude to all who have shared their condolences and concerns for our VON care providers. Our hearts break for the families, friends and close colleagues of Heather O'Brien and Kristen Beaton. We have lost two front-line heroes and could not be more devastated.
Nick Beaton, Kristen’s husband, has emerged as a strong champion for an important cause – ensuring that adequate and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is available for all health care providers. This cause is of utmost importance to organizations and employees in all parts of the health sector. At VON, we are working closely with others to ensure that we have the supplies needed to keep our employees, clients, and their loved ones safe.
I want to assure all those concerned, that all VON front-line care providers – including nurses and continuing care assistants like Heather and Kristen – are provided with appropriate PPE.
Our approach has always been, and continues to be, to follow provincial standards and to observe the advice of our infection prevention specialists. We know that peace of mind can be just as important as physical safety, so along with the PPE, we provide information and training to employees on safe use and conservation of PPE. This is important for their safety, and because of ongoing global supply issues during this unprecedented public health emergency.
We provide ongoing education about safety – related to PPE and other issues unique to a mobile workforce. Working in homecare, one-on-one with clients, presents both special opportunities for connection with clients, and unique challenges that don’t exist in a hospital or clinic setting. Even during non-COVID times, we educate our care providers that if for any reason, they feel unsafe entering a home, they should call their manager so the issue can be addressed and alternate client care arrangements can be made if needed. We do not want our employees putting themselves at risk. Our employees’ health, safety, and level of comfort are paramount.
We remain committed to ongoing communication with our front-line staff so we can be sure they have the information they need to do their jobs safely.
President and CEO