Motivated by gratefulness

Deana D'Ambrosio

A surprising thing occurred in Deana’s department during COVID-19. As a coordinator for Food and Nutrition Services she knows the quality and variety of food is very important for patients and residents, but she didn’t realize how important the social interactions were until she starting hearing multiple compliments. “I was so happy when I heard about the important connections going on. Patients were so grateful for the support and daily interaction, especially at a time when visitors were infrequent. We ended up unexpectedly helping to fill a void for people who were experiencing changes to their social interactions.”

For her personally, Deana found some huge adjustments needed to be made. “The most challenging part for me has been the adjustment to my routine. I like to keep busy, so the downtime was so very quiet and difficult. In addition, my mom experienced a health emergency and ended up in hospital for seven weeks. Not being able to visit her in hospital was tough.” An avid horse-rider Deana’s usual routine involved spending time at the barn and racing her horse. “But all that stopped and I couldn’t see my horse for five weeks,” she says.

As quickly as everything was changing with the pandemic, her team had to implement a lot of changes in the past five months to keep up. Appreciative of her colleagues and leaders she recognizes the true team approach. “We have been working together in a difficult situation, especially in the beginning with unknowns and fear. We worked really well together even under pressure, but I always felt supported and I know we all felt a strong obligation to keep each other safe.”

When a need in the community arose, the team jumped at a solution. “We have community members who need texture modified food in order to eat, and were  unable to come into our building to purchase it.  We found a creative way by providing a curbside pick-up and I went as far as making a personal delivery to a palliative patient’s home. The experience of hearing how grateful they were for these small acts of kindness continued to motivate me and my team.”

Noticing the impact of less social interaction, Deana feels her eyes are open. “It’s amazing, but things that seemed important, like a haircut, seem much less important now. This has shifted some of my priorities now. I think far less about material items and more about connection with others.”

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