Dear Residents, Families, Friends, Staff:
I will start by saying how proud I am of our community. The re-opening of our Dining Room went smoother than expected and adherence to government directives with respect to masking and physical distancing are being followed nicely. Clearly, things are not the same as pre-pandemic times. The “NEW normal” is what we must accept and get used to while the virus looms. Not only is it tough for all of us to get used to, personally, it also imposes great demands operationally. As things change day to day, our continued commitment to the health and safety of our residents and our team remains our top priority. The requirement to wear masks inside and outside the building when you are visiting friends, family and on community excursions reduces exposure and must be adhered to for everyone’s protection. The behaviour of all of us has a role to play in reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. Adherence to the guidelines is mandatory and we greatly appreciate your understanding, co-operation and patience as we navigate and implement new ways of keeping us all safe.
REMEMBER the Importance of Infection Control Measures in Preventing COVID-19 Outbreaks
As we move into the Fall season, Public Health reports that we are already seeing increased rates of COVID-19 cases in several locations across the province AND in retirement homes. Increased cases in the community lead to increased outbreaks within congregate care settings.
Þ We must remind ourselves to remain vigilant.
Þ We must closely follow all official COVID19 recommendations of the Public Health and local government decisions.
Þ We must continue to enforce enhanced infection prevention practices and protocols. Diligent screening and temperature taking of residents will continue as directed by the Ministry of Health. Protocols related to staff, visitors, and health care providers; augmentation of staffing plans, effective communications, education, and compliance with testing programs continue to be enforced.
These processes, when implemented properly and consistently followed, are the first and best defence against COVID-19 threatening retirement homes and can prevent the need to consider additional restrictions.
updates to VISITOR POLICY
The Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility released an update to the requirements for visitors effective immediately:
A recent change categorizes Visitors, as follows:
Essential Visitors: (Support Workers & Caregivers)
Support Workers (health care professionals – PSW’s, Nurses, Therapists, etc.)
- No restriction on visits – even in an outbreak.
Caregivers (family members who provide direct care, private caregiver, paid companions, etc.)
- A maximum of “2” caregivers per resident, upon approval of individual Care Plan revisions, changes to 1 if home is in an outbreak. Essential Visitors are the only type permitted to visit when a resident is self-isolating or symptomatic, or the home is in an outbreak.
General Visitors & Personal Care Service Providers:
Non-Essential Visitors has been changed to “General” Visitors. General visitors who visit to provide non-essential services, social reasons and/or tours.
- A maximum of 2 General Visitors per resident may visit one resident at the same time, in-suite and provided the resident is not self-isolating or symptomatic and the home is not in outbreak. NO visitors are allowed if the home is in an outbreak.
Personal Care Service Providers are not essential visitors and visit to provide personal services to residents such as nail or foot care or hairdressing.
- A maximum of 1 Personal Care Service Provider, per resident, may visit a resident provided the resident is not self-isolating or symptomatic and the home is not in outbreak. NO visitors are allowed if the home is in an outbreak.
updates to SCREENING and PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
As of September 15th, ALL visitors must continue to be actively screened upon entry for symptoms and exposure for COVID-19; INCLUDING temperature checks and now, must verbally ATTEST that they have:
1. Read/Re-Read the following documents:
- The retirement community’s visitor policy, and
- Public Health Ontario’s document entitled Recommended Steps: Putting on Personal Protective Equipment.
2. Watched/Re-Watched the following Public Health Ontario videos:
- Putting on Full Personal Protective Equipment;
- Taking off full Personal Protective Equipment; and
- How to Hand Wash.
NO visitor will be admitted if they do not pass the screening and verbally ATTEST to not be experiencing any of the typical and atypical symptoms of COVID-19. Note that Croup and Conjunctivitis have been included in the screening questions. Information on the above is provided at the screening table via video as per the watched/re-watched requirements. Visitor handouts are available at the screening table.
In addition to the above, as required in Directive #3, ALL visitors must wear the required personal protective equipment and are responsible for bringing their own. Any visitor unable to obtain the appropriate PPE, may be refused entry. However, Heritage Place endeavours to work with visitors to ensure compliance.
Retirement home staff and volunteers are not considered visitors. Heritage Place does not have an active volunteer program in place.
COVID-19 is a world-wide problem of disruption, dysfunction, isolation, loneliness, and misfortune and in one way or another, we all feel the effects of this pandemic in our lives. YOUR health and safety remain our top priority as we consider various options of inclusivity and as we grapple and adapt to the ‘new normal’ in these COVID-19 times. Do not underestimate the impact that your actions will have in helping to stop the spread of this virus. Keep up the good work. An information update is forthcoming. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
With hope towards a healthier future,