COVID-19 UPDATES

Please keep in mind that newer updates may change the information listed in previous updates as the situation is constantly changing and everyone is adapting to new information and government directives.

August 31, 2020 – Updated Visitor Policy for Long-Term Care Homes

As noted in my email of yesterday, the Ministry of Long Term Care released changes to the guidelines for Resident Absences. 

The attached document contained all of the changes to our policies related to this direction from the Province.  Please be patient with staff as we work through this massive change to how we have been operating for the past five months.  We are happy for families that have been lobbying for these amendments but we are still focused on our most important task which is to keep Residents and staff safe and free from COVID-19.

If I could ask everyone to wait to call Resident Home Areas, to notify them of planned outings, until tomorrow (September 1, 2020) this will give us a few extra hours to pass on the procedure adjustments to everyone.  As I mentioned above, this is a large change for our operations and we want to communicate our plans as much as we can given the short notice by the Ministry of Long Term Care.

Fairhaven Resident Absence Policy – Elements relating to August 28th announcement by Ministry of Long Term Care

PREAMBLE

The Chief Medical Officer of Health has released an update to COVID-19 Directive #3 for Long Term Care Homes under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 (Directive #3), effective August 28, 2020, that provides direction on Resident absences from Long Term Care Homes. Under the updated Directive #3, Residents may leave the home’s property for a short stay or temporary absence:

  • Short stay absences are for health care-related, social, or other reasons and do not include an overnight stay, with the exception of single-night emergency room visits.
  • Temporary absences are for personal reasons and for one or more nights. Homes must review and approve all temporary absences based on a case-by-case risk assessment as outlined in Directive #3.

PROCEDURE

Residents may leave Fairhaven’s property on a short stay or temporary absence.

Short Stay Absences

  • Residents may leave Fairhaven’s building, or the Home’s property, for a short stay absence for health care related, social, or other reasons. A short stay absence does not include an overnight stay, with the exception of single-night emergency room visits. Emergency room visits that take place over a single night (e.g. assessment and discharge from the emergency department spans one overnight period) should also be considered equivalent to an outpatient medical visit that does not require testing or self-isolation upon return.
  • As per Directive #3, outpatient medical visits are considered a short stay absence.
  • As per Directive #3, outpatient medical visits are considered a short stay absence.

Temporary Absence

  • Residents may leave Fairhaven’s property for a temporary absence (one or more nights) for personal reasons.
  • Homes must review and approve the temporary absence based on a case-by-case risk assessment as outlined in Directive #3. If Fairhaven denies a temporary absence request, the Resident/substitute decision maker must be communicated to in writing, including the rationale for this decision. A Leave of Absence form including a Risk Assessment of activities to be performed while offsite must be reviewed and signed by the resident and/or their Substitute Decision Maker prior to the absence.
  • If a Resident is admitted to a hospital at any point, this will be considered a “re-admission” and staff must follow the requirements for re-admissions under Directive #3, including a mandatory 14-day isolation period.

All Absences

  • Fairhaven will require 48 hours advance notice for when Residents will be taken out of the Home by family members or friends.  Resident Home Areas will be called to provide this information who will ensure that Residents are ready for their appointments, leave of absences, etc.
  • Fairhaven strongly suggests that all Residents that leave the Home are always accompanied by someone to ensure that proper PPE procedures are taken (ie. wearing masks at all times).
  • Residents will be brought to Fairhaven’s front doors, after being screening on their Resident Home Area.  Visitors who will be accompanying Residents on their absences, will be screened by Reception (Monday to Friday, 8:00am – 8:00pm and Weekends 9:00am to 5:00pm) or by outside Visiting area staff (Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 12:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:00pm).
  • We strongly encourage Residents to returned before 5:00pm if they are having dinner at Fairhaven.  When Residents return, they must be actively screened.  If Residents return outside of the hours listed above, an RN must be paged, by pressing the “After Hours Call Buttons” that are located on the outside of the front doors, and in between the doors.
  • Residents on any absence from Fairhaven must wear a medical mask at all times when outside the Home. This must be communicated to all family members and friends that attend Fairhaven to take a Resident on an absence.
  • Due to the requirement to wear a medical mask at all times when a Resident is outside of the Fairhaven building, attendance at restaurants or having picnics on our grounds, is not permissible.
  • must be actively screened.  No exceptions will be made to this requirement.
  • Fairhaven will provide a medical mask when a Resident begins their absence.  It must be stressed to family members/friends of Residents the importance of public health measures including physical distancing and the need to secure a supply of medical masks in case the PPE given by Fairhaven becomes soiled and/or compromised during the absence, thus rendering the mask ineffective.
  • All goods that are obtained by Residents, or their caregivers, while on any leaves, must be quarantined in the normal manner for 48 hours.  There can be no exceptions to this rule.
  • All Residents returning from any absence must be actively screened.
  • All Residents returning from any absence, that present any designated symptoms as listed in screening procedures, will be isolated for 14 days, and will be tested, as symptomatic, for COVID-19.

Please see:  COVID-19 Directive #3 for Long-Term Care Homes under the LongTerm Care Homes Act, 2007 Issued under Section 77.7 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA), R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7

August 28, 2020 – Updated Visitor Policy for Long-Term Care Homes

At 3:30 on Friday afternoon, the Ministry of Long Term Care released changes to the guidelines for Resident Absences.  The Ministry defines two types of absences:

  1. Short stay absences are for health care-related, social or other reasons and do not include an overnight stay, with the exception of single-night emergency room visits.
  1. Temporary absences are for personal reasons and for one or more nights. Homes must review and approve all temporary absences based on a case-by-case risk assessment as outlined in Directive #3

The Ministry also insists that we have a solid plan in place prior to allowing Residents to leave, including specific procedures and policies that deal with such issues as entrance and exit points, situations where Residents cannot leave due to presenting symptoms, etc.  Due to the lateness of the notice, we have been working on these tasks throughout the weekend.  We will have our policies and procedures finished by the end of Monday morning at which point we will send out a comprehensive email, and post information on our webpage, that speaks to the details on this provincial decision. 

Until then, I have attached the “Frequently Asked Questions” that were distributed on Friday with the announcements. 

July 16th, 2020 – Updated Visitor Policy for Long-Term Care Homes

Early Wednesday (July 15th) evening, the Ministry of Long-Term Care released an updated visitor policy for long-term care homes across the province. The following are key highlights:

Change in requirements for outdoor visits

  • Effective immediately, COVID-19 testing for outdoor visitors will no longer be required. Visitors will, however, still need to pass an active screening questionnaire administered by home staff.
  • Visits must still be made, by appointment, through Reception (705-743-0881)
  • Visitors are required to use a face covering if the visit is outdoors and are responsible for bringing their own face covering for outside visits.  
  • Outdoor visits will now be allowed for two people to visit a resident at the same time.

Opening of indoor visits and requirements

  • As of Wednesday, July 22nd, indoor visits to long-term care homes will be permitted
  • Visits start at 9:30 am and end at 4:00 pm from Monday through Friday
  • At Fairhaven, this will take place in our Great Room, which will have tables, just like outside in our tent, at which visits will take place
  • For indoor visits, visitors MUST VERBALLY ATTEST THAT THEY HAVE TESTED NEGATIVE FOR COVID-19 within the previous two weeks and have not subsequently tested positive.
  • The province has made a point of ensuring that visitors must be informed that Homes are not responsible for providing the testing
  • Indoor visits will also allow for two people to visit a resident at the same time.
  • When calling to schedule a time to visit your loved one. Please indicate whether you would prefer an indoor or an outdoor visit.  Remember that indoor visits will continue to require COVID testing for those attending Fairhaven property.
  • The home is responsible for supplying surgical/procedure masks to indoor visitors. Since these items are in short supply, it would be appreciated if visitors brought their own surgical/procedure masks with them.
  • The updated policy still requires that the home must not have any active COVID-19 cases and that visitors wear face coverings and maintain social distancing.
  • The province has also stressed that non-compliance, such as refusals to wear face coverings, will result in a possible penalty which could include the discontinuation of visits.
  • Homes retain the task of scheduling visits and must do so in a manner that prevents overcrowding
  • Initially scheduled visits will need to remain at 30 minutes to ensure that an equitable distribution of visits is achieved with all of our Residents.  If there is a scheduled opening after your initial visit, it will be possible to extend the length of your time together.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide this information until the time of your stay here.
  • Please remember that, if our Home experiences an outbreak of any kind (COVID or otherwise), indoor visits will be suspended until the end of the outbreak

July 7th, 2020Premier Doug Ford extends COVID-19 emergency orders

Premier Doug Ford has introduced legislation to extend COVID-19 emergency orders past the province’s expected expiration date for its state of emergency July 15th.  By doing so, it allows the government to transition away from the declaration of emergency, which allows for a continued gradual resumption of “normal” personal and business lives while keeping in place the important tools that organizations need to keep people healthy and safe, especially as the Fall arrives (with school resuming and a new respiratory/enteric outbreak season).  Emergency orders to allow for the continuation of staff safety bubbles will be extended one month at a time with the legislation expiring in one year.

The legislation will force the government to report any emergency order extensions to a legislative committee once every month and table a report on the use of the law six months after it expires in 2021.  As noted in the press release from the Province:

The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 would, if passed, ensure important measures remain in place to address the threat of COVID-19 once the provincial declaration of emergency has ended. Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Continue emergency orders in effect under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) under the new legislation for an initial 30 days.
  • Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to further extend these orders for up to 30 days at a time, as required to keep Ontarians safe.

The specific order related to long term care (ONTARIO REGULATION 77/20 – ORDER UNDER SUBSECTION 7.0.2 (4) OF THE ACT – WORK DEPLOYMENT MEASURES IN LONG-TERM CARE HOMES) can be found at:

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200077

Background

On March 21, 2020 , the Ontario government announced a new temporary order under the March 17, 2020 declaration of emergency that gives certain health service providers the powers to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Long Term Care Homes must continue to operate in a pandemic which creates a complex environment to navigate between continuing operations, continuing to offer care to Residents, and adhering to Collective Agreements with CUPE and ONA.

Under the Order, Health Service Providers shall, and are authorized to take, with respect to work deployment and staffing, any reasonable necessary measures to respond to, prevent and alleviate the outbreak of COVID-19. This includes, but is not limited to, the authority to do the following:

•        identify staffing priorities and develop, modify and implement redeployment plans;

•        conduct any skills and experience inventories of staff to identify possible alternative roles in priority areas;

•        require and collect information from staff or contractors about their availability to provide services for the Health Service Provider;

•        require the provision of and collect information from staff or contractors about their likely or actual exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19) or about any other health conditions that may affect their ability to provide services;

•        cancel or postpone services that are not related to responding to, preventing or alleviating the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19); and

•        suspend, for the duration of the Order, any grievance process with respect to any matter referred to in the Order.[6]

In essence, this order allowed Homes a certain amount of flexibility to create our “staffing bubbles” which kept employees co-horted with Residents in a specific Resident Home Area (RHA).  The benefits of this arrangement have been discussed many times before; by limiting the travel not just “in and out of Fairhaven,” it is has been critical to limit travel within Fairhaven as well.  Staffing bubbles create a protected community within a community that is protected against a virus in another area of the Home due to the limited amount of intra-building travel.  The introduction of staffing bubbles has meant a great deal of adjustment for our employees and I cannot stress enough how thankful I am that staff have given a great deal of effort to adapt to this arrangement and have expressed how proud they are to be a part of a proactive environment.

Our Home has lobbied extensively, locally and at the provincial level, to be given the ability to continue this staffing practice which has been integral to our success in preventing an outbreak at Fairhaven.  We will continue to look for ways to ensure that everyone gets as much vacation as possible as we realize that the support of mental health for all of us is key to continuing to fight against the coronavirus. 

It has been a difficult process for many people to assemble and maintain the strong staffing cohorts that we have but I feel much stronger now about our ability to effectively keep our own health and the health of our Residents.  This was a best practice measure put in place as part of our pre-emptive strategy to “act like we already have the coronavirus.”  I am extremely pleased that this important tool that we all have, to fight off a COVID outbreak, will continue to prevent the introduction of hundreds of potential cross contamination events daily.

Please be assured that Fairhaven continues rigorous screening procedures, twice a day, for anyone entering our Home and that we continue to utilize personal protective equipment that meets, or exceeds, that which is recommended by Ontario Health, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Long Term Care, World Health Organization and the Ministry of Labour.  Isolation of those with symptoms will continue and we continue to reserve our Great Room as an isolation ward that is ready to be used instantly in the event that the coronavirus enters our Home.  We will continue to take every possible precaution to prevent a COVID-19 positive case in Fairhaven.

June 15th, 2020 – RESUMPTION OF FAMILY VISITS TO FAIRHAVEN RESIDENTS

Dear Family Member:

The Ontario government has announced the gradual resumption of visits to long-term care homes as of Thursday, June 18th.  We are planning to be able to allow family members to make appointments for 30 minutes visits, starting on Wednesday, June 17th, by calling Reception at 705-743-0881.

Long-term care homes will allow outdoor visits with the following requirements:

  • One visit per resident each week, with one visitor for each visit.  Demand is expected to be high; if extra space begins to open up, we will revisit the limit of one visit per Resident per week
  • All visitors must have tested negative after a COVID-19 test within the past two weeks prior to each visit
  • All visitors will be screened before visits, which will involve being asked a series of questions and having your temperature taken temporally
  • Visits will be supervised, and you will be asked to use hand sanitizer
  • Visitors must always bring their own mask and wear it during the visit
  • No food or drink can be consumed or given to Residents during the visits
  • Gift items will continue to be taken between our front doors for quarantine
  • Minimize the jewelry and accessories that you wear to lower the risk of virus transmission
  • Ensure long hair is tied back and avoid touching your face during your visit
  • Physical distancing will be required for all visits.   Unfortunately, this will mean that typical greetings of hugs, kisses and touching will not be possible. This approach will ensure the health and safety of residents, staff and visitors.

Long-term care homes must meet the following conditions before they welcome visitors:

  • Homes must not be in outbreak
  • Homes must have an established process for communicating visitor protocol and the associated safety procedures; and
  • Homes must maintain the highest infection prevention and control standards.

As more information is received, we will update our families, staff and Residents.

Sincerely,

Lionel Towns, Executive Director

June 9th, 2020COVID-19 UPDATE

We have received all of our test results for Residents that were swabbed during our Home-wide resident COVID-19 testing of Saturday, May 2nd.  All results were NEGATIVE.  We have not been notified of any positive staff cases by individuals or by Peterborough Public Health. A lot of hard work, selfless actions, cooperation from Residents, and support from families has led to the point where we do not having any suspected or confirmed cases, for Residents or staff. 

It is great that we’ve been successful so far but we all know that the pandemic is not close to being over and one misstep can put us into an outbreak. Thank you once again to everyone that came out to get tested. It isn’t an overly pleasant experience but it certainly gives us a snapshot of how we were doing, as of that day, which is important in enforcing how important it is to maintain our vigilance and hard work going forward. Keep up the great effort everyone!

May 27th, 2020COVID-19 UPDATE

Letter to Families from Lionel Towns, Executive Director

The Canadian Armed Forces released a report yesterday documenting their findings on five long term care homes at which the military was assisting.  The Premier’s press conference yesterday focused solely on this matter. He has called on the federal government and the Canadian Armed Forces to extend their current mission for at least an additional 30 days. He also announced that one of the deaths has been referred to the Office of the Chief Coroner for investigation.  The report contents are very disturbing and detail serious concerns around infection prevention, safety, staffing and level of care.

There is no doubt this pandemic has hit our sector very hard. We have long been calling for changes to address the serious challenges and deficiencies for some time. As this report shows, COVID-19 has magnified and compounded these challenges like nothing we have ever seen before.  We are heartbroken for any of the individuals who have had to deal with these horrible circumstances.  Serious deficiencies, that are found by Inspectors, need to be addressed by the Ministry, before similar issues are brought up by an outside party such as the military, so that Homes are not in such a state of unreadiness for acute challenges such as this pandemic.   

At Fairhaven, our staff continue to work tirelessly to ensure that your family member has access to the highest level of care possible as we all navigate the ongoing pandemic situation to the best of our abilities.  We are grateful that Fairhaven is currently stable and concentrating on the quality of life for Residents who are impacted so greatly by visitor and movement restrictions.

We would like to thank our CUPE, ONA and Administrative staff members, AdvantAge Ontario and Ministry Advisors for their continued dedication and hard work, under challenging circumstances, over the past several months.  Thank you once more for your patience and if you have any questions at all, I encourage you to contact me directly at the contact information below.

May 14th, 2020 – COVID-19 UPDATE

We have received all of our test results for Residents that were swabbed during our Home-wide resident COVID-19 testing of Saturday, May 2nd.  All results were NEGATIVE.  We have not been notified of any positive staff cases by individuals or by Peterborough Public Health. A lot of hard work, selfless actions, cooperation from Residents, and support from families has led to the point where we do not having any suspected or confirmed cases, for Residents or staff. 

It is great that we’ve been successful so far but we all know that the pandemic is not close to being over and one misstep can put us into an outbreak.  Thank you once again to everyone that came out to get tested.  It isn’t an overly pleasant experience but it certainly gives us a snapshot of how we were doing, as of that day, which is important in enforcing how important it is to maintain our vigilance and hard work going forward.  Keep up the great effort everyone!.

May 12th, 2020 – COVID-19 UPDATE

Letter from Minister Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care to all Residents and Families

MLTC-Ministers-Letter-to-LTC-Residents-and-Families

April 28th, 2020 – COVID-19 UPDATE

Homewide Testing of Fairhaven Taking Place Saturday May 2, 2020

• Staff that are not working need to be at Fairhaven on Saturday by 11:00am

• You are asked to bring your health cards but, if you don’t have one, this will not stop you from being tested

• There will be two teams. One team will start out testing staff that are not working on Saturday. They will be set up in the turnaround circle in front of Fairhaven’s front doors.

• It is likely that the teams will be here at the afternoon shift change so those employees will be testing at the downstairs entrance before they start their shift

• Night staff will be tested by the Infection Prevention and Control Nurse early on Saturday morning.

April 28th, 2020 – COVID-19 UPDATE

Our Great Room has been transformed into an isolation unit for use in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak at our Home. We felt it was necessary to take this step in order to be fully prepared for the containment of the virus if it reaches our building. We will be moving our employee screening to the lower employee entrance and this will be the only door that anyone will enter or exit from Fairhaven. Everyone, except EMS personnel, has their temperature taken when they arrive and when they leave, in addition to being asked screening questions. All Residents are being screened twice a day as well.

The Great Room has had plumbing rerouted to accommodate self-contained laundry operations and its activity storage room is now a medical supply closet that will contain everything needed to care for Residents. Even garbage from this area will not enter Fairhaven at any point. The hallway outside of our double entry doors for the Great Room now has two new doors on either side that can be shut at any time to completely shut off the area to the rest of the Home. The bathrooms in that hallway would then be used for sick Residents and for staff caring for them (one for each group). We are also starting a Resident Home Area staffing plan on Monday. This will “cohort” a specific group of people with each area to decrease the risk of cross-contamination and will have the Home completely prepared for the staffing “bubbles” that we would need to implement in the event of an outbreak. Please be assured that we have decided to take all of these steps proactively so that we can move immediately to containment mode if an outbreak of the coronavirus does occur. We are working tirelessly to facilitate connections between our Residents and loved ones and to help everyone here (staff and Residents) get through these unprecedented times.

March 22, 2020 – COVID-19 UPDATE

Dear Residents & Clients, Families and Visitors,

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and impact the Greater Peterborough Area, we are doing everything we can to keep our residents, clients and staff safe.

Below please new guidelines that are effective March 23, 2020.  These decisions have not been made lightly; we know our residents and clients are among the most vulnerable and we are doing everything within our power to support and protect them.

Residents Restricted from Leaving the Facility:

Residents will no longer be able to leave Fairhaven except under medically warranted circumstances. In an effort to keep everyone as safe as possible, our Home cannot release residents and clients to family members or others. Medically necessary treatment will be authorised by attending medical staff in conjunction with our management team.

This is a difficult but necessary decision to help ensure our vulnerable residents and clients are as safe as possible.

Deliveries of take out food, or grocery items, will not be allowed until further notice.  Any deliveries of convenience items will be quarantined for 48 hours.        

Postponing all Group Programs:

As another precautionary measure to prevent any further spread of any type of cold symptoms, we are temporarily postponing all group programs and activities. These activities will only be provided by our staff on a one to one, basis as able and appropriate.

Visitation:

In order to ensure a safe and secure environment in Long-Term Care, the Ontario government has mandated that only essential visitors be permitted in our homes.  Essential visitors are only those visiting a resident that is very ill or at the end of life.

Mandatory Screening at Long Term Care Homes and Seniors Services Facilities:

All Long-Term Care staff, students, volunteers and visitors continue to be “actively” screened for COVID-19 by a dedicated person in each location. This involves questions regarding respiratory symptoms as well as taking the individual’s temperature. ANYONE that fails any part of the screening process will be asked to leave work and to contact telehealth and/or their health care provider. Any staff member who has travelled outside Canada must self-isolate for 14 days.

March 17, 2020 – Updated COVID-19 Guidance Document and Screening Checklist

Please find attached two updated guidance documents from the Ministry of Health: 1) COVID-19 Guidance: Long-Term Care Homes and 2) COVID-19 Screening Checklist. These are attached in both English and French.

March 14, 2020 – IMPORTANT COVID-19 INFORMATION BELOW

As directed by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, in a memo circulated by the Ministry of Health …

ONLY ESSENTIAL VISITORS WILL BE ALLOWED INTO FAIRHAVEN UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

The ministry is identifying essential visitors as those who have a resident who is dying or very ill. Emergency personnel will be allowed to enter the Home. Residents are being strongly encouraged to remain at the Home until further notice as well.