Acute@Home: A Year at Sea 

By Megan Brown, Wood’s Homes Team Leader.

The past year has brought tremendous obstacles and challenges for all us. Working within the Emergency department of the Alberta Children’s Hospital has been no exception. 

As we entered the new world of COVID-19 in March 2020, we, as a community, did so with caution and uncertainty. This was evident in the Emergency department; the hustle and bustle we once knew became a solemn void. We witnessed a collective apprehension towards attending the hospital. 

Where did all the mental health concerns go? For us, this was the calm before the storm, and we were patiently waiting and preparing. 

As we became comfortable and familiar with this new reality, seasons changed and fall transitioned us into another new reality. Like a natural progression that cannot be controlled, the hustle and bustle we once saw returned abruptly, without care or leniency. Those that had been experiencing mental health crises during the months past and resisted attending the hospital were now coming in waves. 

The storm arrived. 

Although we had prepared, the amount of clients presenting to the hospital expressing being lost at sea, was unprecedented. We as a system were and are still faced with the dilemma of how to respond, support, and aid all of those within the sea with their hands up, looking for support. It hasn’t always felt like there are not enough life jackets or boats. For us, this initially brought up feelings of insufficiency and frustration. Sitting in a boat without a paddle, unable to control where the waves were forcing us. 

As a team, the practice of expressing vulnerability and self-compassion began with the process of tying our life boats together. A stronger response was formed. 

Although we are still bearing a storm, the resiliency we have seen within each other and the families we serve has been our beacon this past year. This lighthouse continues to transcend and shine through the rain and wind – it is this light that pushes us forward. 

When the storm finally calms, we know that we will be surrounded by a new landscape. But the growth and resiliency gained will equip us all with how to move forward. 

To learn more about Wood’s Homes Acute@Home Program, click here.