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AgeCare Valleyview COVID-19 Weekly Update: New CMOH Order

Dear Residents and Families,

We remain committed to providing updates to our residents, families, and staff at AgeCare. We are providing weekly updates to keep you all informed on what is happening in our community and organization-wide.

 

  1. Information and announcements – this week, we are sharing some important community announcements and updates as they relate to the new order from the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH).
  2. Recreation calendar as the need to stay active, intellectually stimulated, and socially connected never ends.
  3. A weekly shout-out to celebrate the great work and activities happening at our community.

These updates are sent on Friday each week. We hope that you find them helpful. Thank you all for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Kike Kola-Ojo
Administrator

Important Updates from the new CMOH Order

As the pandemic evolves, it continues to be essential to maintain strong protections within these settings to minimize the introduction of and risk of virus transmission and spread. As we have learned more about COVID-19, we are better able to target effective interventions.

The latest order (CMOH Order 23-2020), targets interventions that are known to be most effective, while allowing others to be relaxed, safely, to improve quality of life and resident experience within these settings. It provides further guidance and clarifies some key areas relating to care and services at AgeCare. In the review of this order, many of these processes are in place at our site. If you wish, you may review the full order by visiting the Alberta Government website.

There are no changes in this order relating to visitation, which was the primary focus of the previous order (CMOH Order 29-2020). Some key changes within this order are:

Volunteers

We are now able to welcome back our volunteers! Our residents and the recreation teams have genuinely missed our volunteers. Re-introducing the volunteer program at our site will take some time, as we need to ensure we are doing it safely and following the order. All volunteers will be provided with the necessary training and guidance to keep them and others safe. Volunteer training will cover topics such as personal protective equipment (PPE), hand hygiene, outbreak protocols, safe visiting, etc. As we restart our volunteer program in stages, if you are a volunteer, we will reach out to you to see if you may be interested in returning.

If you are not a volunteer currently, are passionate about enriching the lives of seniors, and have time to give, we would welcome you to volunteer at our community. We can accommodate flexible hours to suit your schedule, the opportunity to enjoy the rewards of building new friendships, and the ability to brighten someone’s day. Visit www.agecare.ca/volunteer to learn more and start the application process.

Indoor Entertainment

Most of our entertainment currently is hosted outdoors; however, as we are now in fall, we are looking at our options for indoor entertainment – all while providing the appropriate spacing for these events. At this time, this will not include entertainment with singers due to the high-risk it imposes. Stay tuned for more information on these, through our recreation calendars!

New ‘Risk-Based’ Approach to Admissions, Transfers and Outings

For any new admissions, transfers and resident outings or overnight stays, the order provides guidance on accessing the risk of exposure and providing precautions that should be adhered to based on the level of risk. Effective immediately, we will be using these to guide our decisions at the site. There are two areas that we wish to highlight for our residents and families, including:

(1) Same Day Offsite Resident Outings (e.g., Walkabouts, Appointments, etc.)

When a resident returns from the same day outing, either on their own if independent or with family/friends, the resident and family (if applicable) is expected to have an open discussion with the site about the risk of unknown exposure and collectively determine the required safety precaution. If consensus cannot occur, existing dispute resolution processes will be followed:

See Table 10 Residents Returning from Same Day Offsite Activity (CMOH Order 32-2020)

(2) Overnight Offsite Residents Stays (e.g., family house, cabin, etc.)

To balance the mental health impact of extended isolation/quarantine upon return to the site, the parameters in the table below are in place to guide the assessment of risk and safety precautions, on a case-by-case basis, for the returning resident. Where applicable, additional safety precautions may be required if the resident returns to a semi-private room where the other resident is immunocompromised or medically fragile.

See Table 11 Residents Returning from Same Day Offsite Activity (CMOH Order 32-2020)

Paid Companions

If identified as a designated family/support person under CMOH Order 29-2020, paid companions are permitted, following all safety precautions outlined in that order, including active screening and being educated on safe visiting practices.

External Health Professionals (Dental Care, Foot Care, etc.)

Services provided by external health professionals (who are not employed or contracted by AgeCare) should provide their services virtually wherever possible. If that is not possible, these health professionals are permitted to provide services in-person to individuals who are not isolated. If the resident is isolated, decisions are on a case-by-case basis.

Resident Health Screening

As per previous orders from the CMOH, our Continuing Care (including Long Term Care and Supportive Living) residents were to be screened twice a day for symptoms, including taking their temperature. Residents will now be screened once per day. This screening is documented in the resident health record. If the resident is suspected of having new or worsening symptoms, they are put on precautionary contact and droplet isolation, a swab is taken, and the resident’s family is notified. Residents remain on contact and droplet isolation while they have symptoms. Residents on contact and droplet isolation will be served meals and continue to be provided all the care and support they need in their rooms.

Our Retirement Living (Independent, Private Pay) residents continue to be screened for symptoms once a day, including taking their temperature. If they are suspected of having new or worsening symptoms, they are put on precautionary contact and droplet isolation. The resident’s family is notified if approval is in place from the resident to notify the family – as residents are independent seniors.

Staff Health Screening

The previous requirement in the last CMOH order of staff having to be screened after a brief exit (e.g., breaks, garbage removal, supporting outdoor visits) is no longer understood to be a necessary component of an effective approach to health assessment screening.

Staff continue to be screened before starting their shift and are required to self-monitor for symptoms during their shift. Any staff who have symptoms are to immediately stop their work and report to their supervisor to review their symptoms. If instructed to so by their supervisor, they will leave the building, self-isolate and access the online Alberta Health Services (AHS) Healthcare Worker screening tool. They will not return to work until they are cleared to do so.

Clarification on Terms: Isolation/Quarantine

This order provides further clarification on the differences between the terms Isolation and Quarantine.

  • The term isolation refers to separating and restricting the movement of a person with COVID-19 symptoms, or who is confirmed to have COVID-19 to prevent their contact with others and reduce the risk of transmission
  • Quarantine refers to separating and restricting the movement of a person for 14 days who was potentially exposed to COVID-19 to reduce the risk of transmission should the person become a COVID-19 case.
  • Whether in isolation or quarantine, it is expected that residents remain in their room and away from others.

Site Outbreak Definitions

In this order, clarity has been provided on the definitions of the following terms currently being used by Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services in the tracking of outbreaks.

  • Outbreak Prevention: No residents or staff showing any symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Under Investigation: At least one resident or staff member who exhibit any of the symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Confirmed COVID-19 outbreak: Any one individual (resident or staff) laboratory-confirmed to have COVID-19. Sites with two or more individuals with confirmed COVID-19 will be included in public reporting on the Alberta.ca website.

What Will Not Change

In the latest order from the CMOH, there are changes to some of the minimum standards related to the care and services we provide. Upon the review of this order, we at AgeCare have made the decision to exceed these minimum standards in a few key areas to further prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our communities. In addition, we wished to reiterate some of our other outbreak prevention strategies that remain in place.

Swabbing of New Residents (Exceeds Minimum Standards)

The new order has made risk-based recommendations on welcoming new residents into our community. This includes but is not limited to, no longer swabbing asymptomatic residents upon admission. For the safety of residents and staff, we will continue to swab all new residents for COVID-19.

Enhanced Cleaning Procedures (Exceeds Minimum Standards)

Enhanced cleaning procedures, and the associated staffing, remain in place. This includes high touch surfaces (examples: doorknobs, faucets, etc.) at least 3 times per day following our outbreak protocols. Visitors will not be asked to assist with cleaning.

Dining Experience (Exceeds Minimum Standards)

Additional dining times will remain in place to ensure appropriate physical distancing can occur while residents enjoy their meals. No changes will be made to either the number of residents at the table or the delivery of service. Safe food handling and enhanced cleaning protocols continue to be followed.

Staff Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (Ongoing, No Change)

While not covered in this order, we wish to remind you that our staff continues to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in accordance with the guidance of AHS and the CMOH. They are also required to take the appropriate hygiene measures when applying and removing PPE. This includes, but is not limited to, staff wearing masks while providing resident care or in areas where 2-metres physical distance cannot be maintained.

Education and Training (Ongoing, No Change)

Education Services continues to provide ongoing training for staff on the appropriate use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hand hygiene, and other health and safety protocols.

AgeCare COVID-19 Operations Centre (Still in Effect)

The AgeCare COVID-19 Operations Centre, a cross-disciplinary leadership team, and site leadership continue to meet multiple times per week to discuss COVID-19 updates and take any actions required.

Recreation Calendar

We are happy to share that our recreation calendar is back, and many of our regular recreational activities in the community have resumed. Residents can participate in a variety of engaging activities that enrich the mind, body and spirit, while maintaining appropriate physical distancing.

Valleyview Recreation Calendar – September 2020

Weekly Shout-Out

AgeCare Valleyview would like to thank all the residents living in Retirement Living & Long Term Care for their patience, cooperation, and willingness to embrace change.  During this difficult time, Residents have been supportive of the necessary changes and continual updates to programming.

It is a pleasure to provide programming for all of the wonderful people living here. The October Calendar will be coming out next week.  Recreation now posts the Recreation Calendar on the Televisions on the 2nd and 3rd floors, in addition to delivering one to each room as well.