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Community Care Durham Goes The Extra Mile!

Community Care Durham Goes The Extra Mile!

Community Care Durham Goes The Extra Mile!

In September, Michelle Arbour found herself in a predicament.

Her stepfather, Bev Johnston, needed a ride as he would be discharged from the hospital and moved into Fairview Lodge long-term care home, where a room had just opened.

There was one problem, with one day’s notice, arranging transportation wasn’t an easy task.

Michelle quickly turned to Community Care Durham (CCD). Bev is no stranger to CCD, he’s been a client since 2012. The staff knew him well, providing support through the Assisted Living program.

Janice Burgess, a CCD Program Assistant, made it her mission to take care of Bev’s dilemma.

The family’s transportation options were exhausted, therefore Janice knew she needed to find a creative solution. She went out of her way to coordinate a Clarington Accessible Van Driver to operate a Whitby Accessible Van and transport Bev to his new residence in Whitby.

The family wrote a letter to show their gratitude to Janice and CCD staff.

It’s a timely reminder of the exceptional work CCD does for people not only during Community Support Month, through every month of the year.

Read the special letter written to CCD staff by Bev Johnston and his family.

Letter to Janice B., Program Assistant and CCD Staff

Generally speaking, I cannot say enough about our wonderful experiences with the many services provided by Community Care Durham. Bev has utilized Meals on Wheels, PSW home support, snow removal and lawn services to name a few. These services truly allowed Bev to live independently at home, the way he wanted, far longer than expected. A new hurdle came up and a new service came in. For all of this, Bev and all of his family, are sincerely grateful.

After a prolonged hospital stay in 2019, Bev moved into a retirement home. This was a difficult transition for Bev as he had always loved to get in his car and drive. No longer able to drive, I would do my best to take him for drives a couple times per week. As the months went on, it became more and more difficult to transfer Bev to and from his wheelchair to the van. With a heavy heart, I realized our outings were over. I once again turned to Community Care Durham, this time for transportation assistance so Bev could continue to go to appointments. The process was easy and a weight was lifted knowing we had CCD to count on.

During COVID isolation Bev, like many elderly people, became more debilitated and had a fall. Another admission to the hospital followed and this time Bev would have to wait there until a Long Term Care bed became available. As most families in our situation playing the “waiting game”, we really didn’t know when we would get the call saying it’s time to move. The addition of pandemic visiting restrictions added chaos to the experience due to limited communication with the healthcare team. As a family, we had very little notice or guidance to arrange transportation for Bev from the hospital to the Long Term Care Facility. We were told one day before Bev’s move that everything was in order and the transfer was to happen at 10 a.m. the next morning. The hunt was on for transportation. Our first calls went to wheelchair accessible cab companies in Durham Region. Next try was medical transport companies by wheelchair or stretcher. Then private wheelchair transport companies. We called the LTC home and the hospital for suggestions. The bottom line was that we needed to get Bev there but had no one to take him. As a long shot, I decided to give Community Care Durham a call. I had little hope as Bev was currently in the hospital, not his home, and in need of transportation within Whitby when he was actually a client of Clarington. Janice answered my call that day.

As if she could sense the desperation in my voice, she began figuring things out. Janice called Whitby and arranged for a Clarington driver, Ian, to drive to Whitby, use Whitby’s van and transport Bev from Lakeridge Health Whitby to Fairview Lodge.

This was no small task we were asking for, I knew that. Janice helped with determination, as if Bev was a member of her own family. Ian got Bev to Fairview at the scheduled admission time. They worked together like a well-oiled machine. We are thankful for all of the behind the scenes work that went on for Bev.

Bev has been at Fairview Lodge for 2 weeks now and is happy to call it home. Community Care Durham has been there for us for the past 8 years and when we were desperate to get Bev to his new home, they pulled out all the stops!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Community Care Durham and especially Janice, Ian and the Transportation Department.

Bev Johnston, Joe Johnston and Michelle Arbour