As we all adjust to the “new normal”, we wanted to dedicate some blog posts to stories of continuing care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we have this post written by Lisa and her dog Yodel, who together are an instrumental part of our Licensed Home Child Care program.
I have been a Home Visitor, with Today’s Family – Licensed Home Child Care program going on 20 years now. Though we have had many changes over the years, never would I have thought we would experience something as life altering as a Global Pandemic. However, here we are 36 weeks later!
When our Canadian Government announced the initial shut down mid-March, Today’s Family – Licensed Home Child program was the program that was running. Through collaboration and our partnership with the City of Hamilton, we were able to access funding to support our Essential Workers. This gave our families peace of mind that their children were safe within a loving, nurturing, family-like setting while they were able to focus their much-needed skills to bringing Hamilton back pre-pandemic.
This provided additional resources to the Providers that were opening their homes 7 days a week and, in some cases,, offering round-the-clock care. We welcomed many new families and Providers to our Licensed Home Child Care program. We hosted weekly ZOOM meetings for Providers to ensure that they were kept up to date with all newly legislated requirements from the Ministry, which is our governing licensing and Public Health. By following these new guidelines, and some are updated weekly we were able to develop our Pandemic Practices which included PPE, enhanced sanitary practices, screening tool measures for all.
Our Senior Leadership Team has been instrumental with their support for us – encouraging, cheerleading, and leading us every step of the way. No question goes unanswered and we have learned ourselves that sometimes it’s okay not to have the answer right away as we’re all learning together. My daily work life has changed in these past 36 weeks from going into the office with an amazing team to going to my dining room table daily with my pup, Yodel Shark Redfeather as my constant companion/colleague. He’s quite the colleague – sleeps beside me on a blanket and does enjoy his lunch break. Yodel, takes the meaning “Sleeping on the job” to a whole new level.
My contacts with my colleagues are through ZOOM, text, FaceTime and verbal conversation. I am missing them terribly and the amazing times that we have shared together over the years together – again we have had to adapt to change. Our Provider quarterly visits have changed to virtual visits to meet Ministry regulations and guidelines. We’ve moved forward from paper trails to everything being electronic. This has always been in the works – it just moved us sooner. What amazing tools we have developed and incorporated into our world.
My fears have diminished over the 36 weeks. The unknown is still there, but now I see new challenges as “okay, what’s next? How can we as ‘Team Awesome’ overcome these next steps together?”