Antonio Guglietti has been a respiratory therapist with ProResp for 17 years, often supporting patients in their own home but also caring for the needs of long-term care residents in need of supplemental respiratory support.
The first connection he ever had with Schlegel Villages was in The Village of Erin Meadows in Mississauga; he was still new to the job but even then, he sensed there was something special about the approach the team there had in its philosophy of care.
“Anytime I see someone who works at Schlegel Villages, I can tell that they work at Schlegel Villages in the way that they carry themselves and the way they speak of what they do,” Antonio says. “It’s different.”
He saw it at Erin Meadows and after relocating to southwestern Ontario, he saw it again in the new Village of Aspen Lake when it opened in 2011 and again in The Village at St. Clair, which opened a few years after. He once had the opportunity to visit the first Schlegel Village, Winston Park, for a training session for ProResp team members focused on honouring the Wisdom of the Elder in their interactions in the homes. He felt the same warmth at Winston Park where the vision for what a continuum of care could be first took root, and he could sense the alignment in values between the organizations.
“It was quite amazing to see a full village, completely together as far as long-term care and the retirement home . . . in its entirety,” Antonio says; “the vision is just tremendous.”
In many ways, ProResp and Schlegel Villages share a similar approach to the service of others, which is why the partnership has continued to grow for more than 20 years. One of the most rewarding aspects of his role is getting to know each and every one of the neighbours he serves, Antonio says. He sees their photos upon the walls and hears the stories of their lives as he checks on oxygen levels or monitors equipment, and he knows the Schlegel Villages team members place a high value on the depths of their relationships with residents. They do so much more than simply provide care in the family setting of Village life, which is why he was so disappointed to see how media coverage during the height of a serious COVID-19 outbreak in Windsor at the end of 2020 portrayed the homes he serves.
“It was so painful to see the way the media really took it and ran with the whole COVID circumstance, especially locally here with our home at St. Clair,” Antonio says. He was on the ground in the Village during the height of the outbreak, offering all he could with his team to support the needs of residents who were fighting the incessant virus. He knows how hard the team was working, and how deeply they care.
When Aspen Lake opened and again at St. Clair, Antonio remembers how amazed the region was at the philosophy of care and the social model of living the homes embraced. “It was very unique to long-term care,” he says. “It’s just a different feel and I wish that information got out there.”
As he reflects on the bonds and parallels between his company and Schlegel Villages, he says it boils down to a shared respect for the strength of relationships and COVID or not, those relationships are still the foundation of support. Like so many people in service of vulnerable populations, Antonio finds hope in the rising rates of vaccination and looks ahead to the time beyond the acute worry of COVID-19 and the variants of concern – a time when the neighbours he serves are again living life to its fullest.
Anthony wanted to add a postscript about the connections between ProResp and Schlegel Villages in his own words:
When it comes to our similarities as organizations the one thing that stands out and differentiates us in my opinion is the clear mission to provide client-centred care.
What is clearly evident when I visit our Villages is the commitment to provide personalized care which meets the individual needs of each elder (neighbour) you serve. It is clear that staff continually attempts to identify/recognize these needs, and tailors their care to meet those needs. The attention to detail shines through in every interaction.
In providing this type of care you bring meaning and purpose to the daily lives of the elders you work with. These elders then in turn feel fulfilled in the relationships fostered by these interactions and cherish them. The word IMPACT is what comes to mind.
In witnessing the effort to provide this personalized care it motivates us to do the same with our work. I know personally this ethos motivates and guides me to be the best I can be each time I enter your homes, or any home for that matter.