Lifting spirits

Working on the COVID-19 unit at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital, chaplain Blaine Allan has seen the impact of rising numbers of cases on patients and staff.   

“It’s tough enough being on a regular unit, but to be on a COVID unit, it’s a bit different. The intensity is different. The intensity has increased, and it’s so tragic. The need for the community to be together is greater than ever.”

Similarly, residents at Covenant’s care centres across the province are feeling the continuing effects of the pandemic. They miss having as many in-person visits as they’d like, says Cecilia Marion, site administrator for Youville Home in St. Albert and St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital in Edmonton. “Everybody’s just getting a little worn out.”

That’s why Covenant has launched Lifting Spirits, a campaign aimed at sharing messages of hope, gratitude and encouragement with our teams, residents and patients while inspiring others to do the same. Messages from staff, physicians, volunteers and members of the public are being shared through social media posts or comments, email and other channels.

Research suggests that both giving and receiving hope, gratitude and encouragement can have positive impacts on our physical and mental health. Physically, such sharing may lead to improved heart health, less pain and better sleep. And emotionally and psychologically, it may result in increased happiness, decreased depression, better self-esteem, less stress, greater resilience and mental strength, enhanced feelings of connectedness and higher life satisfaction. Given the significant and ongoing demands of the pandemic, acts of support and encouragement are now more important than ever.

Anita Layh, manager of hospitality services at Bonnyville Health Centre, says kind words of support, whether from colleagues or members of the community, go a long way toward making healthcare workers feel valued during such a demanding time.

“For us right now, those words mean that someone is noticing the amount of work put in. It reminds us that we’re working together to take care of patients and residents and the community. It’s that extra nudge to keep going.”

Words of encouragement and support are also meaningful for residents. Cecilia has seen how receiving cards, letters and posters lifts the spirits of residents at Youville Home, especially now when interactions with the community through avenues like the school reading program are limited. It’s a way of interacting that makes them feel that someone knows they’re there and cares about them, she says.

Here are some examples of uplifting messages our teams, residents and patients have received.

We invite you to help lift the spirits of Covenant's teams, residents and patients. Take a moment to send a message of hope, gratitude or encouragement, and we’ll share it with them. Email your message and photos to or post them on social media using the hashtag #LiftingSpirits and tag Covenant Health (Twitter: @CovenantCA and Facebook/Instagram: CovenantHealthCA).

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