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New Brunswick volunteer joined the Red Cross response at an LTC home in Manitoba

Liane Greter is an emergency management volunteer from New Brunswick who deployed to Winnipeg, MB, where the Canadian Red Cross has been assisting some long-term care (LTC) homes with their COVID-19 response.

Canadian Red Cross volunteer Liane Greter in masksTwo teams of Red Cross volunteers, mostly from within Manitoba or the neighboring provinces of Ontario and Saskatchewan, were deployed to work in shifts at the facility.

Before arriving, Liane completed several online training courses from home, then travelled to Ottawa for two days of in-person training regarding long-term care, dementia, infection control and using personal protective equipment.

While she enjoyed getting to know Red Cross colleagues from other provinces, it was difficult seeing the reality of life for LTC residents during a pandemic.

“Imagine being elderly, having ... COVID-19, alone in your room with no visitors for weeks. The LTC staff work hard but there’s no time for chit-chat because they have to wash, clothe, feed, provide care to residents continuously.”

That’s where Red Cross volunteers stepped in. With each resident having a different personality and specific needs, Liane had to learn to adapt quickly.  

“We helped to make residents feel less lonely, less afraid, less confused, just by being there. We talk, read, play games, anything that makes them feel more comfortable.”

Other Red Cross supports included making ready-to-eat food trays and light cleaning.

Liane says staff at the LTC home were appreciative of the Red Cross’s help but was quick to add, “it’s us who appreciate them.”

Although the work was challenging at times, Liane says it was also extremely rewarding.

“You hear these beautiful stories of lives lived from before the war, or hear about heartaches, lost families and adventures from long ago.”

The Canadian Red Cross is actively recruiting humanitarian workers, including international medical graduates, to help provide vital support to Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for more information on the positions available.
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