We continue to ensure as much as possible that we relay information to families on how we are managing the current situation to ensure the safety of residents and staff at each of our personal care homes and supportive housing apartments.
It will have been 14 days since we communicated a staff positive COVID-19 case at our 450 River Road home. To date, all staff tested for COVID-19 have returned negative as well as all tests on residents who displayed flu like symptoms.
We will continue to be vigilant at all our sites to ensure that we protect residents and staff. Visiting restrictions will continue, with exceptions for end of life situations. You can trust that we will communicate with the resident’s primary contact if there is a change in condition and health issues. We will be holding virtual care conferences with families to update the care plan when appropriate. We will also continue to provide virtual visits with families.
We have implemented staff screening at the beginning of each shift. We also provide masks and goggles to staff based on the provincial guidelines. We also check all resident temperatures twice a day to monitor any potential symptoms. Gowns are used only in the event of a potential or confirmed outbreak.
We continue to evaluate the number of staff that hold more than one position in the health system as well as use of agency staff. We continue to balance the potential risk related to working short as we experience staff absences. We are screening and investigating each employee as the come in to work their shift. We follow provincial guidelines in regards to staff who have had close contact with a person who has been identified a person suspected or confirmed as having COVID-19.
Staffing will remain a challenge, as it is so often in long term care. To date, we have not worked short; however, we have had to ask staff to work overtime. We thank our staff for their dedication and discipline in ensuring they stay safe and comply with the provincial guidelines so that they keep the residents and their co-workers safe.
Our physicians continue to provide medical coverage and conduct weekly virtual visits with the unit. They remain available by phone. There is a physician assigned weekly to visit the site and visit residents who physically need to be seen. The on call schedule remains unchanged.
Families have also been asking a lot of questions related to activities of daily living and social distancing.
The activities of daily living for residents continue with some changes. There are no large group activities such as mass, bingo or end of the month birthdays. Recreation and Spiritual Care continue to provide programming on the unit while ensuring social distancing and proper hand hygiene between contacts. They are conducting many one-on-one visits with residents to stimulate social and mental interactions. Isolation of one or more residents would only occur in the event of a common cold / influenza outbreak. This procedure and criteria have not changed.
We continue to implement social distancing strategies between residents and staff on the unit. This is not always possible due to the nature of the care required. This is a particular challenge during meal times. We do continue to create more separation between meals as well as require staff and residents to follow good hand hygiene at all times. We have also ordered, and received, over 100 individual tables so residents can enjoy supervised meals in the common areas (not in their individual rooms), practice physical distancing and have some social interactions with others. Staff on the units continue to follow the resident individual care plans and there should be no changes to resident care (e.g.: baths, bed time, etc.).
We follow the measures / guidelines provided to us by the Public Health authorities, including Shared Health and WRHA. This includes new guidelines related to the delivery of food and beverages in personal care homes. Please refer the Shared Health web site for specifics: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/covid-19-provincial-management-of-food-and-beverages.pdf
We miss the families, volunteers, and all others who created a home like environment. We know that the visit restrictions are challenging for families and for residents. We try to connect with families by phone to answer questions and continue to provide virtual visits. We know this public health challenge may go on for some time. We continue to appreciate the support and commitment of everyone involved as we work through this pandemic.
Please do not hesitate to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Any questions specific to your loved one’s health condition should be directed to the nursing staff on the units or the social worker. Also, please visit the Shared Health Manitoba web site (www.sharedhealthmb.ca) for the most up to date and accurate information related to the management of the pandemic.
Thank you and keep up the social distancing, we’ll get through this eventually.
Charles Gagné, CEO