Decking the Halls with Cheer at St. John’s Long-term Care Facility


Staff and residents at the St. John’s Long-Term Care Facility are simply having a wonderful Christmas time thanks to the generosity of the Health Care Foundation’s donors!

The Health Care Foundation donated $25,000 to the facility for the purchase of Christmas decorations that will bring residents and their families plenty of cheer during the Holiday Season.

Paul Snow, President and CEO, Health Care Foundation

Paul Snow, President and CEO, Health Care Foundation

“This project is so special, and fits so closely with what we do within our Comfort in Care™ Program,” said Paul Snow, president and CEO of the Health Care Foundation. “This is not a building, but rather a home to our seniors. It is so important to make sure they have the comforts of home – especially around the Holidays.”

Decorating the approximately 38,000 square metres of facility was no easy task, but the dedicated and spirited team at the facility were up for the challenge. To ensure the facility was optimized with cheer, staff formed a decorating committee in October 2015.

“The new St. John’s Long-Term Care Facility is massive – with 16 units and 461 beds total” said Colleen Kennedy, a clerk on the front desk of the St. John’s Long-Term Care Facility and an enthusiastic member of the decorating committee.

Members of the Decorating Committee in the main foyer

Members of the Decorating Committee in the main foyer

Other members of the committee include: Bernadette Connors, Nancy Hodder, Deanne Clancey, Lisa Tobin, Jennifer Burton, Trudi Meade, Greg Anthony, Gail Hart, Gina Smith, Scott Barter, Gina Carter, Tina Christopher, Rebecca Maloney, and Yvonne Clinton.

Staff at the Health Care Foundation took care of purchasing the larger items for the facility – the Christmas trees for units and common areas, reindeer for the main foyer, garland to deck the halls and other odds and ends. The remaining funds were then divided among staff to purchase decorations for their own areas and units!

Main Foyer, St. John’s Long-Term Care Facility

Main Foyer, St. John’s Long-Term Care Facility

“The committee divided and conquered the building – the dietary team took on the cafeteria and pedways, my team took on the main foyer and centre block and another group decorated the main entrances and common areas in each of the towers. The units were decorated by the nursing and environmental services staff, and of course the residents also got involved! It was truly a big multi-team, family effort!” said Colleen.

Dietary team members and sisters, Gina Smith and Gail Hart, decorating pedways.

Dietary team members and sisters, Gina Smith and Gail Hart, decorating pedways

According to Colleen and the committee, the infrastructure team also played a big role in adding a festive touch to the facility! The team ensured electricity was available for lit décor, completed all outdoor decorating and were instrumental in getting decorations up in those hard to reach places.

“The ceiling in parts of the building is quite high, so we asked the infrastructure team if it would be possible to hang bulbs in those areas. They told me, ‘if you can dream it, we can do it’. So we dreamt it, and we did it, together as a team.”

Tea cup tree in the cafeteria

Tea cup tree in the cafeteria

Each team and unit was able to choose their own themes, but the facility as a whole has a very traditional Christmas feel. For example, 4 North East took on a Charlie Brown Christmas theme, while the recreation staff created a traditional Newfoundland tree in the main entrance of the west tower.

4 North East staff

4 North East staff

“The team at the St. John’s Long-Term Care Facility really went all out this year to ensure their residents and families would enjoy the Holiday Season,” said Judy O’Keefe, regional director of long-term care at Eastern Health. “I want to thank the decorating committee and all the staff for volunteering their time to bring the Christmas Spirit to the facility.”

Alice Kennedy, Eastern Health vice-president responsible for Long-Term Care; Dr. Oscar Howell, Eastern Health vice-president and Health Care Foundation Board Member; and Judy O’Keefe, regional director of Long-Term Care at Eastern Health.

Alice Kennedy, Eastern Health vice-president responsible for Long-Term Care; Dr. Oscar Howell, Eastern Health vice-president and Health Care Foundation Board Member; and Judy O’Keefe, regional director of Long-Term Care at Eastern Health.

Eastern Health executive, senior management and staff from the Health Care Foundation also lent a hand in decorating the multi-purpose rooms in the facility, just in time for the annual Christmas Dinner held for residents and families!

Director Joy Thompson and President and CEO David Diamond decorating at the St. John’s Long-Term Care Facility

Director Joy Thompson and President and CEO David Diamond decorating at the St. John’s Long-Term Care Facility

“Members of senior management and executive were moved by the team work that went into decorating the facility and in awe of the fabulous job they did. Thank you so much to the team for inviting them to take part in decorating festivities; it was a pleasure to help out and to witness the hard work,” Judy added.

Senior Management and Health Care Foundation staff at St. John’s Long-Term Care Facility

Senior Management and Health Care Foundation staff at St. John’s Long-Term Care Facility

“It was also a pleasure to share the fruits of our staff’s labour with the Health Care Foundation. They came onboard with the project so quickly and personally delivered truckloads of decorations to the facility. I am glad they can see what that means to our team and the residents. We will forever be grateful.”

Stephen White and Leslie Smith with the Health Care Foundation

Stephen White and Leslie Smith with the Health Care Foundation

 

Feedback from residents, family and staff

Colleen has worked at the long-term care site for 27 years now, and is well acquainted with the staff, families and residents! Working on the front desk and being deeply entrenched in staff activities, Colleen has heard tons of positive feedback from the residents about the decorating.

“On the morning after we decorated the foyer, one of our residents, David Makinson, came to visit me at the front desk. When he got to the top of the stairs, he looked at the decorations and his eyes were as big as saucers – ‘WOW’ he said. That reaction was worth every hour we spent putting the decorations up,” Colleen said with tears in her eyes.

Colleen Kennedy and long-term care resident, David Makinson

Colleen Kennedy and long-term care resident, David Makinson

Families are also very pleased with the decorations this year.

“I have seen many families come through the doors and they just light up when they see the decorations. They will often take residents from the floor to visit the decorated areas, where they will sometimes take Christmas photos.”

As for the staff, they were just happy to brighten the Holiday Season for their residents!

Long-term care staff gather for a photo with a resident in the multi-purpose room: Top (l-r): Nancy Hodder, Lisa Tobin, Judy O’Keefe and Sean Pardy Bottom (l-r): Rebecca Maloney and Kevin Hynes

Long-term care staff gather for a photo with a resident in the multi-purpose room: Top (l-r): Nancy Hodder, Lisa Tobin, Judy O’Keefe and Sean Pardy Bottom (l-r): Rebecca Maloney and Kevin Hynes

“Staff spend as much time here as they do at home, and the residents are like family to them,” Colleen explained. “We did it for the residents, because this is their home and we want to make sure it feels that way. Staff will always go above and beyond for their residents.”

4 South East staff

4 South East staff

Health Care Foundation Logo
For more information about the Health Care Foundation, please visit www.healthcarefoundation.ca. ■

This story was written by Jackie O’Brien, senior manager of communications and stewardship at the Health Care Foundation. 

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