Families await vaccine for loved ones in nursing home

·2 min read

SHEET HARBOUR – While no date has been set for administering phase one of the COVID-19 vaccine at Habourview Lodge (HVL) Continuing Care in Sheet Harbour, preparations are underway, while families are eagerly awaiting its arrival.

Nicky Coolen’s mother has been a resident since 2019. The pandemic has made the transition to the facility challenging for her family. Visiting during the isolation period in the spring was managed through Skype calls and visits since then have not always included physical embraces. Masks and social distancing are mandatory and until the fall plastic barriers have been the norm.

“This has been a really difficult year for everyone with loved ones in long term care – for the residents – and the staff who care for them,” Coolen told The Journal via email. “This is the first full year our Mom has been a resident at Harbourview and it’s been really hard not being able to see her and hug her as much as we’d like.”

Coolen and her family has been waiting patiently for the arrival of the vaccine.

“We’re very grateful she’s in a place where we feel she is safe and protected,” said Coolen, “… and the staff have been so incredible through it all – but the necessary restrictions and limitations around the visits have been hard on everyone.”

More than 100 residents and staff are on the list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, once the supply is received.

“There are 32 elders living at HVL and 69 staff in total work here,” Clinical Supervisor Cathy Logan said.

Marla MacInnis, spokesperson with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness told The Journal via e-mail that work is underway to distribute and administer vaccine in nursing homes as quickly as possible.

“We are unable to provide an exact date of when each facility across the province will receive the vaccine,” MacInnis said.

The inability to obtain the vaccine supply required has caused the delay.

“As vaccine supply increases – so too will access to the vaccine for Nova Scotians,” said MacInnis.

In the meantime, preparations are being made to ready facilities for receiving the vaccines.

“We are working closely with the long-term care sector,” said MacInnis, “to ensure each facility is ready to begin administering vaccinations when it is their turn.”

“We’re anxiously awaiting word on when the vaccine will be available,” said Coolen.

“It will provide a great sense of relief to know that our Mom – [and] the other residents and the staff – are protected against COVID.”

Janice Christie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal