On July 27th, 2020 we established in-room visitation guidelines following the Public Health recommendation related to visits to personal care homes. We were to review these guidelines after the first two weeks.
Thank you to all designated essential care givers for their understanding, patience and collaboration. It remains critical that we all continue to follow these guidelines, especially the infection control precautions related to the wearing of a mask, hand sanitation and physical distancing.
If you have visited and have since experienced COVID-19 symptoms or have been tested for COVID-19, we urge you to let us know as soon as possible so that we can take the appropriate steps.
At the present time, we will NOT be expanding our guidelines. We do not have the capacity to allow for more essential care givers at the time of the visit or to expand our visitation hours / days. We have reassigned staff to support these visits. Until we can receive funding support to hire dedicated resources for visitation under the public health guidelines, we simply cannot afford to expand and protect residents, staff and visitors.
We will continue to have only two regularly assigned essential care givers for in room visits and we continue to ask that you hold separate visits (one visitor per visit).
On average, we receive approximately 150 to 175 in-room visits per day from essential care givers (St. Boniface 80-85; St. Vital 40-45; St. Joseph 25-30; 10-15 in Supportive Housing). We are required to assign staff to screen and educate essential visitors upon entry to ensure compliance of the public health orders and to keep everyone safe.
We also continue to schedule outdoor, indoor, window and virtual visits. I want to personally thank the management, nurses, instructors, housekeeping and support staff for stepping up and helping us welcome designated essential family care givers back. We know residents have appreciated and benefitted from the re-instatement of these visits.
Please note the following IMPORTANT reminders:
- Designated essential family care givers are to visit between 11 AM and 7 PM, Monday to Friday only. We will only make exceptions for end of life situations.
- Please refrain from arriving or leaving between 14:30 and 15:30 to allow for shift change, as this creates significant congestion, delays and risk as it is more difficult to ensure proper social distancing, screening and hand sanitation.
- Only 1 designated essential care giver at a time. Some rare exceptions have been made to in regards to very unique circumstances. All exceptions have to be approved by the Director of Care prior to the visit (not at the time of the visit).
- PLEASE FOLLOW the PUBLIC HEALTH RULES related to visitation. This includes wearing the mask APPROPRIATELY AND AT ALL TIMES, social distancing, hand washing, and respond accurately to screening questions and have temperatures to be taken. Some may think the ‘threat’ of infection (COVID or other) is nonexistent. We must remain vigilant as cases continue to be reported, active COVID cases are increasing and we are soon to enter flu season. We must ensure the protection of EVERYONE. We do not want to have to limit or restrict visitations any further.
- We strongly encourage OUTDOOR visits or INDOOR visits in designated areas as this remains the preferable method of reducing the infection risk and continue to provide social interactions between residents and family.
We ask you to review the COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control in the COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control for Essential Visitors booklet.
We thank you again for your understanding and cooperation. We invite comments by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Gagné, Chief Executive Officer
Marielle Lafond, Chief Nursing Officer
GUIDELINES FOR IN-ROOM VISITS
To ensure the success of these in-room visits and to limit the number of visitors in the facility at any given time, guidelines are to be followed as we welcome families back into the facility while mitigating the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
- Visiting hours will be Monday to Friday from 11am to 7pm.
- Where there are two designated family care givers, we ask that only one designated family care giver visit on any one given day (one visit per one person each day). Visits must occur on separate days. This is to allow for better physical distancing in resident rooms and to permit as many residents as possible to receive visitors.
- We ask that designated caregivers avoid arriving or leaving for their visits between 2:30 and 3:30 PM to prioritize screening of staff during shift change.
- We ask that designated caregivers visit only once daily (entering / exiting once per day) and not come and go from the facility on the same day. Only one visit per day will be allowed. There are no time limits on the duration of the visit.
All family and friends not identified as a designated caregivers will be encouraged to continue to schedule courtyard, virtual, window, or assigned area indoor visits. Note that these types of visits remain the preferred method of maintaining contact with residents during the pandemic.
All Designated Caregivers will be screened upon entry. This will include:
- We may check your temperature upon entering the facility.
- Ensuring you have no flu or cold like symptoms. You must stay home when sick or not feeling well, even if symptoms are mild. Please watch for the following: recent onset of fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, diarrhea and vomiting.
- Ensuring you have not had recent exposure to anyone testing positive with COVID-19 or awaiting these test results,
- Ensuring you have not travelled east of Terrace Bay, Ontario,
- Ensuring you have not had recent exposure to anyone self-isolating due to travel restrictions currently in place.
It is the Designated Caregiver’s responsibility and duty to protect the residents, the staff and the Actionmarguerite community by following these guidelines when visiting:
- You must remain in the resident’s room and not circulate on the unit (this includes the dining room, nursing station, other residents’ rooms or in common / public areas, cafeteria, lounges, etc.).
- Your visit may be limited if residents are unable / do not wish to remain in their rooms during the visit.
- You are to sanitize upon entry all resident items that you bring.
- The resident room chair may be used for visiting with your loved one. Resident beds should not be used by any visitor.
- You are asked to call the social worker or the nurse manager after your visit if you have concerns or questions. In the event of an emergency or if you must speak to a nurse or a HCA about a health concern, please remain in the room and press the call bell. Someone will come to see you.
- You may take the resident for a walk in the designated resident courtyard. You must advise staff before departing the unit. Hand hygiene of the resident and the designated caregiver is required when leaving and returning to the unit. During your walk, you would be responsible to:
- assure a distance of minimum 2 meters (6 feet) with others,
- avoid physical contact with others,
- avoid other public areas,
- wear a mask at all times.
- You may be required to assist in performing sanitization of the high touch areas in the resident’s room following your visit as an added precaution and infection control measure.
At each visit, it is MANDATORY that Designated Caregivers adhere to the following rules:
- Sign in with date, time, full name and phone number at time of arrival and departure (this is to allow for contact tracing in case of an outbreak).
- Read and participate in a brief education session (provided by staff at the entrance) on infection control requirements and strict hand hygiene. You will be asked to sign off that you have received this education and understand the education received.
- Perform hand hygiene when entering, at all points of contact and when leaving the building.
- Wear a mask at all times (note this will not be provided – you must bring your own mask)
- Travel straight to the resident’s room, avoiding any common areas or other resident rooms.
- Avoid touching surfaces in the facility or interacting closely with other residents / family en route to the resident’s room.
- Adhere to Public Health Advice regarding close contact (maintain a distance of 6 feet /2 meters) respiratory hygiene (wearing a mask at all times), and hand hygiene.
Actionmarguerite reserves the right to ask you to leave if these rules are not being followed, including inappropriate infection control, hand hygiene and the proper wearing of a face mask.
We cannot do this without the cooperation and commitment of families and staff. COVID-19 will remain with us for months, if not years. We must find a way to strike a balance between the benefits of family visits and restricting visits at all costs.
In collaboration with Public Health, Actionmarguerite will determine the need to suspend all visits in the case of a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak.
Effective July 27, 2020, revised and updated on August 12, 2020.