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Client Service Coordinators: The team supporting the frontline

Client Service Coordinators: “It’s more than a schedule, it’s a bridge to care.”

Often when people in the community think about Carefor they think of our frontline staff, but there’s a team behind them helping them do their jobs. When a Carefor client needs support, whom do they speak to? When a frontline staff needs to know which client is in urgent need of care, who lets them know? When someone needs to book an appointment, who do they call? They reach out to one of our many Client Service Coordinators (CSC) working across Eastern Ontario.

As we continue to deal with the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the continued efforts of our community health care workers are keeping people safe, connected and supported at home. That said, it’s more than frontline workers who are keeping people safe and healthy, CSCs also play a key role in ensuring the most vulnerable are receiving proper care and support.

Peggy Sue Brushett is among many CSCs who are catalysts in this circle of care. She has been at Carefor for seven years and currently does the scheduling for Personal Support Workers working from Downtown Ottawa to Carlingwood Mall, including retirement home clients.Peggy Sue Brushett at her home workstation.

She says the COVID-19 pandemic has been quite stressful for everyone, but she and her colleagues are working hard to ensure their both Carefor frontline staff and clients are health and safety.

“We’re doing the best we can. We stay strong for these clients because they are dependent on us. For some, we are one of the few people they talk to because they know we are going to answer the phone.”

While Peggy Sue and her colleagues are not out there side-by-side with our frontline staff, they’re always a phone call away: “I’m making sure all our clients get seen, all our PSWs are not overworked, that they have their breaks, proper PPE, they’re well-informed, and that they know that I’m always there if they need me.”

COVID hasn’t made the job of CSCs any less demanding. Since April 2020, Personal Support Services have made an average of 12,000 visits per week, including an average number of 27 new referrals each week. Peggy Sue says some weeks, she makes a whopping 440 calls: “When I go to bed, I’m still scheduling in my head.”

Despite the challenges of these times, CSCs are getting creative, finding ways to prioritize while still going above and beyond.

“I wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s very stressful, but I do it every day, because I know I’m making a difference. Even if it’s just a schedule, it’s important to remember it’s the schedule that got that person out of bed, their medication, and their shower.” 

Client Services Supervisor Sarah LeClaire has been in awe of the amazing work of her team during this time: “COVID has been a big challenge, but CSCs did a great job transitioning quickly and finding a way to still work side-by-side remotely with their colleagues.” 

She says it’s important to remember just how vital CSCs are in community care and the role they play in the frontline: “Without the coordinators, clients wouldn’t get seen.”