Family Communication – July 15th, 2021 – CHANGES TO VISITOR AND RESIDENT LEAVE GUIDELINES AND POLICIES IN LINE WITH PROVINCIAL STAGE THREE OPENING
This email outlines changes to surveillance testing requirements for fully immunized individuals, as well as further changes to Directive #3 and to MLTC Guidance to cautiously ease restrictions and further improve the quality of life for long-term care home residents. These changes are in-line with the Stage 3 re-opening of the Province as outlined by the Premier this week. Effective Friday, July 16th:
- Individuals who are fully immunized will not be required to have a rapid antigen quick test before entering Fairhaven. This includes both employees and visitors of all types. Proof of full immunization status will be required to be shown each time a visitor enters our facility. Quick tests will be offered to those who wish to confirm their COVID negative status.
- Individuals who are partially or unimmunized will be required to have two rapid antigen quick tests per week
- In line with new provincial guidelines that allow Homes to determine capacity restrictions, two visitors (either general or essential caregivers, or a combination of both) will be allowed in Residents rooms.
- All Residents will be allowed to go on day or overnight absences, regardless of their vaccinations status. Temporary absences (overnight), must be approved by our Director of Care (Betty Hazen) or a designate.
- Off site excursions will now be allowed for Residents
- Eye protection will now be necessary for only those individuals who will be providing care within 2 metres to a Resident who is on droplet precautions or is directly in an outbreak setting (this may include many essential caregivers). Otherwise, the need for eye protection will be determined by staff based on a point of care assessment.
- Dining Rooms will have a capacity limit of 40 people so it will not be possible for family/friends to assist with feeding.
- If family or friends would like to have a meal with a Resident, they can arrange to have tray service to their loved one’s room.
- The receipt of take-out food is now allowed for Residents and staff
- Active screening of Residents has been lowered to once per day (from twice per day previously).
- Guest meals are not yet possible due to capacity restrictions.
- Visitors of all types will be allowed to participate in outdoor activities. Indoor activities will be limited to Residents and staff for now.
- Home wide activities are not yet permitted; the Ministry of Long Term Care is taking a cautious approach and is still requiring the cohorting of Residents
- Our Great Room will, for the immediate future, continue to be used as a screening, testing area. As the pandemic recovery evolves, this will be revisited.
- Visitors from all other RHAs will not be allowed to cross into other homes areas to enter the secure floor garden. We still need to be mindful of the dangers of the variants of concern and the need to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus.
- Volunteers are returning to the home and are subject to the same covid screening and testing guidelines as staff and essential caregivers.
- We will not be opening our café at this time. We have a mobile café program operating and it has been very popular.
- As guidelines evolve, there is less and less difference between essential caregivers and general visitors. The main difference is that general visitors must keep a distance of 2 metres, aside from brief physical contact (hugs).
We will be working towards breakrooms on each RHA transitioned back to Resident programs throughout next week (July 19th to 23rd). We will have an area surrounding the former café area cordoned off for staff to eat meals/take breaks
There will no doubt be follow up notices going out to families as the sector’s guidelines evolve. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Family Communication – June 30, 2021 – Further Changes to Visiting and Resident Absence Policies
I’m including the previous bulletins below as guideline changes continue and often relate back to previous revisions to policies. Yesterday afternoon, the Associate Deputy Minister for Long Term care released six documents related to upcoming changes to visiting and Resident absence policies. Highlights of these changes include:
Effective July 7, 2021:
- The limit of two designated essential caregivers (EC) per resident will be removed. Fairhaven is asking that ECs per Resident be limited to four individuals
- All residents may have up to 2 general visitors and 2 caregivers at a time for an indoor visit. Give space constraints, and the continued need to maintain social distancing, we are asking that visitors to Residents’ rooms be limited to 2 people at a time (could be essential caregivers or general visitors or on of each)
- General visitors that are coming indoors to visit in Resident rooms must be at least partially vaccinated.
- Surgical masks and eye protection will continue to be necessary for the duration of indoor and outdoor visits
- The sharing of food or drink will continue to not be possible as visitors would need to remove their protective equipment to do so
- Fairhaven is allowing up to five people at a time to gather for an outdoor visit with a long-term care home resident. All visitors must be rapid tested, AND RECEIVE RESULTS, before the visit begins (results must be received before indoor visits begin as well).
- As we have removed the need to schedule general visits, you may need to wait for 15-20 minutes for staff to porter a Resident outside for your visit, as our prime directive is to care for Residents inside the facility. This waiting period will coincide roughly with the time that it takes to process a rapid antigen test so please be patient with staff; they are doing everything they can to make these social gathering as seamless as possible
When the Province Enters Step 3 of the Broader Reopening Plan (DATE TO BE DETERMINED):
- Homes will be given the responsibility of setting their own maximums for visitors in the Home at any point in time, based on operational capacity
- All residents will be permitted to go on day and overnight absences regardless of their immunization status.
Stay tuned for further updates.
Family Communication June 22, 2021 – Changes to General Visiting Policies Starting Monday, June 28th
As promised in a recent email, changes to visiting guidelines are continuing at a brisk pace. Starting this coming Monday (June 28th), we will no longer be requiring general visits to be scheduled with Reception. The frequency of these types of visits has decreased and, if all visitors continue to be screened, quick tested, follow physical distancing guidelines, and wear appropriate PPE (face protection and surgical masks above the nose), virus transmission risk will be mitigated.
There will be general visiting hours starting June 28th: weekdays AND weekends from 10:00am to 5:30pm. We are hoping to have another smaller tent moved to the front lawn of Fairhaven by next week. We will have staff that will monitor the front area of the Home to ensure that pandemic protocols are being followed.
We are all both excited and a little nervous to see these changes, but we know that we can count on everyone’s co-operation to make this next stage in the pandemic a successful one for all Fairhaven stakeholders.
It is extremely important for everyone (staff, Residents, essential caregivers) to remember that having a first vaccine dose does not provide perfect protection from the coronavirus. Individuals need to continue following provincial and public health guidelines, including masking, physical distancing and stay at home orders.
Everyone that enters Fairhaven (staff and visitors) is strongly encouraged to receive their first and second vaccine doses as soon as they are able. Variants are far easier to transmit, and nothing is going to protect us, and Residents, as soundly as an inoculation. The pandemic is far from over and we need to remain as vigilant as we have been for the past 13 months to ensure the safety of everyone in the Fairhaven community.