Family Communication-June 18, 2021 – Further Details Regarding Latest Ministry Guidelines and Fairhaven Policy Changes

I am sure that it has been a challenge for families to follow the ever-changing guidelines and policies regarding Resident visits and leaves.  While all are positive modifications,  there have been some questions asked and some clarifications needed to “fill in blanks.” These notes are meant as an addendum to the original emails below.  Thanks to all of you for your support;  seeing Resident’s socializing is helping all of us get through the difficult process of “letting go.”

  1. We are going to offer general visits in our tent on Saturday, June 26th.  Depending upon demand, we will try to have the staffing available to have further weekend appointment times.  Ensuring that we have proper staffing levels inside our Home, for direct care, will need to be the first priority but we may have options to allow for both. 
  1. A maximum of two general visitors and one essential caregiver can visit Residents, at the same time, outdoors.  Before any indoor, or outdoor, visits occur, everyone who is attending must be screened and have a rapid antigen quick test done.  As most will know, this test is very non-invasive and results are available in less than 20 minutes.
  1. To be consistent with this policy, please limit those who have contact with your loved ones, when they are on any type of leave from Fairhaven, to three people who have had at least one vaccination does at least two weeks prior to the leave.  
  1. While visiting on Fairhaven grounds, physical distancing must be maintained, and surgical masks/eye protection must be worn at all times.  The consumption of food and beverages won’t be possible without removing this protection so please do not do so.  Eating and drinking together will be another milestone on our way to normalcy, but we are not there yet.

There will no doubt be additional changes coming in the next two weeks; we will continue to keep everyone updated as our environment evolves.

Family Communication June 10, 2021 – First Steps in Home Reopening

The opening of Homes, after the Province’s Stay at Home Order and our outbreak, is a significant and wonderful first step to providing Residents with greater opportunities for social interactions with staff, other Residents and loved ones.  With COVID-19 cases still common, and the dominance of the B.1.1.7 and Delta variants, the Province has taken a cautious approach in terms of limiting potential exposures to the viruses.  We agree with this approach, with an eye to more relaxed regulations, hopefully, in the near future if progress continues to be made in keeping new cases to low levels.

Here are some reminders for visits in the upcoming days and weeks:

  • Any visits that are not with essential caregivers are “general visits.’  For instance, if a Resident is on our grounds and visits with someone in a car, even though they are six feet away, that is still considered to be a general visit.  Any of these visitors must have a rapid antigen test, and wait for results, before visiting with Residents. 
  • At this point in the pandemic, we can’t approve of informal gatherings of family and Residents on our lawn.  While we are sure that this would not turn into situations that we have all seen in Toronto parks, it is just too soon to take that step.
  • Changes to Resident visits have come quickly and have already changed at least twice in the past two weeks.  We have “staffed-up” as much as we can to help with facilitating general visits during the Monday to Friday period each week but weekends remain a big challenge with staffing and we need to deploy all available personnel in the facility to ensue that we are providing appropriate care.  We are hoping to begin to offer limited weekend visits within the next couple of weeks.
  • While brief hugs are allowed, physical distancing, and the use of PPE and eye protection, is still necessary for all visits, regardless of type.  This is a change in policy from the initial communication regarding the resumption of visits; a sign of how procedures can change quickly and often.

Family Communication June 7th, 2021 – End of Outbreak /New Visiting and Resident Leave Guidelines

Peterborough Public Health has declared Fairhaven’s outbreak over.  Residents will no longer need to isolate and may move throughout the Home.  Essential Caregivers can resume attending Fairhaven immediately, and we are working towards having general visits start again on Thursday, June 10thGeneral visits, in our tent area just outside our front doors, can be booked now by calling Reception.

All Residents who smoke (tobacco or cannabis), must now do so in the designated areas outside on Fairhaven grounds that were utilized pre-pandemic (at least 9 metres away from entrances/exits to the Home).

We are planning to have three Physiotherapy Assistants (PTAs) back at Fairhaven as of June 14th.  They will have had, at least, their first vaccine dose, for two weeks by then. 

Since our outbreak began, there have been many changes to minimum provincial guidelines with respect to visiting and Resident Leaves.  I will summarize them below and have also included a summary chart for your reference.

“Fully Immunized” means:  

  • they have received the total required number of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by Health Canada (e.g., both doses of a two-dose vaccine series, or one dose of a single-dose vaccine series); and
  • they received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days ago.
  • Currently, the required number of doses for the Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines to complete the vaccine series is two.

General Visits and Essential Caregiving:

  1. Each resident may have up to two general visitors at a time for outdoor visits. Essential caregiver(s) can also be present during these visits.
  2. Physical distance of two metres must be maintained between general visitors and residents.
  3. Effective June 9th, 2021, brief hugs are permitted between all residents and visitors regardless of immunization status.
  4. Where both the resident and the visitor are fully immunized, close physical contact, including hand holding is permitted.
  5. All visitors must wear a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin at all times. Residents should also be masked, where tolerated.
  6. Residents with mobility limitations or health conditions (i.e. factors unrelated to weather), that make an outdoor visit highly unlikely or impossible, may have one general visitor visit indoors at a time. One essential caregiver may also be present during these visits.
  7. General visitors, who are visiting outside, do not need to wear eye protection.
  8. General visitors are not permitted to visit residents who are symptomatic or isolating under Droplet and Contact precautions.
  9. General visitors must undergo active screening upon arrival at the home.
  10. General visitors arriving for outdoor visits are not allowed beyond entry points / areas in homes.
  11. General visitors will need to undergo rapid antigen tests
  12. For indoor visits, general visitors are subject to antigen testing and must test negative for COVID-19 prior to being granted entry to the home
  13. Where either the resident or general visitors are not fully immunized the general visitor must maintain two metres physical distance from residents.
  14. As of June 9th, where both the resident and the general visitor are both fully immunized, close physical contact is permitted. Brief hugs will also be permitted regardless of immunization status.
  15. Close physical contact between a fully immunized resident and a fully immunized caregiver is permitted.
  16. Fairhaven will require proof of complete vaccination when provincial guidelines require this status for the type of visit a person wishes to have
  17. Essential Caregivers will not be required to wear gowns but, like staff, they must wear face shields when they will be within 6 feet of a Resident.

Resident Leaves and Outings on Fairhaven Property

  1. As of June 9th, residents who are fully immunized can leave the home for social absences, which includes absences for all reasons that are not medical, compassionate/palliative, and/or essential absences, that do not include an overnight stay.
  2. Fairhaven strongly advises family members contact with Residents, on social day outings, be limited to those who have received their first vaccination dose, at a minimum of, two weeks prior.
  3. In order to ensure that Residents are ready for a social outing, please notify the applicable Resident Home Area as far ahead of the outing as possible.
  4. Residents who are fully immunized may also leave the home for temporary absences, which includes absences that involve two or more days, and one or more nights, for non-medical reasons.
  5. As per Directive 3, residents who leave the home for on an overnight absence are required to have a laboratory-based PCR COVID-19 test upon return and remain in isolation on Droplet and Contact precautions while their test result is pending.
  6. Residents who are fully immunized will need express written approval from our Home’s Director of Care (Betty Hazen), or her designate, to go out on temporary absences.
  7. Residents who are not under isolation requirements or symptomatic can leave the home to take a walk in the immediate area to support overall physical and mental well-being
  8. Before leaving Fairhaven, Residents will be given a surgical/procedure mask and will be reminded to comply with routine public health measures, including masking (as tolerated), physical distancing, frequent hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette.
  9. Residents must maintain their distance from others (unless they require assistance/direct care) while they are out.
  10. Residents returning to Fairhaven must be actively screened for symptoms and exposure history, for COVID-19, before they are allowed to enter Fairhaven. 
  11. Any resident returning to the Home following an absence, who fails active screening, will be permitted entry but isolated under Droplet and Contact Precautions and tested for COVID-19 as per the COVID-19: Provincial Testing Requirements Update.

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.