“A Salute To Our Frontline Heroes”


In a heart-filled video posted to Facebook, the Ontario Finnish Resthome Association (OFRA) extends their thank yous to frontline workers who are working hard to keep everyone safe. The frontline workers at OFRA show the utmost dedication to ensure the safety of all residents and staff by altering resident activities to a five-person maximum and screening staff and residents on a regular basis. Staff are also practicing safe social distancing at home and limiting their exposure in the community.

Prior to the Minister of Health banning all non-essential visits to long-term care homes, CEO Paul Belair “had already requested that all non-essential visitors refrain from coming into the facility in order to protect its vulnerable seniors,” said Heidi Schell, Purchasing & Marketing Agent for The Ontario Finnish Resthome Association.

This shows that the staff are taking all measures to ensure safety, and while in the facility the Recreation Therapy/Activities programs are switching their methods of interacting with residents.

“We are having very small group activities, of no more than five residents at a time.  While at these groups, we ensure that the residents are 6 feet away from each other and also wipe down the chairs the residents will be sitting in before they sit in them, clean their hands before they touch any of the equipment, clean the equipment between each resident use and then clean the chairs, equipment and residents’ hands again when the activity is over,” said Tara Hill, Recreation Therapist.

When residents aren’t engaging in group activities, they are asked to stay in their rooms to increase safety measures. While that might seem very isolating, staff are ensuring residents don’t feel left out by offering 1:1 visits for residents to vent their frustrations, and to engage in one on one activities.

Hill continues, “For those residents who are very low functioning and are unable to participate in group activities, we are providing snoezelen therapy for sensory stimulation or, if a snoezelen therapy session is not available, sitting them in the snoezelen room with the bubble tube, light spray, projector, music and respite video on for stimulation.”

In order to help family members stay connected with loved ones, staff have also been emailing pictures of their loved ones smiling, or to show off a new hair doo. Family members are also taking the time to walk up to the windows to share “I love you” signs and to blow kisses to their grandma or grandpa.

In these hard times, OFRA misses its visitors just like the residents do to. OFRA would also like to say

“To all those working in healthcare – thank you, you’re the best!  To the families of our residents – they are handling all of this very well and we are doing our very best to protect and meet the needs of your loved ones.  We understand this is a difficult time for you and for our residents.  Please take advantage of our Skype/FaceTime program and our OFRA Family Mail program to stay connected with your loved ones.  Call or e-mail me to arrange for Skype/FaceTime visits or to find out about the OFRA Family Mail program.  [email protected] or 705-945-5262, ext. 204.  To the community – thank you for the many ways you are supporting OFRA throughout this pandemic.  Stay well and please take this seriously.  There are not many cases in our district – let’s keep it that way!”