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Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19): British Columbia Updates

What AgeCare is Doing

At AgeCare, we strive to be leaders in seniors care and approach things differently in our commitment to our residents, families, staff, and volunteers. A willingness to explore new and creative approaches in the delivery of care and services is a cornerstone of who we are from our inception. We believe as strongly in responsiveness and innovation as we do in our history, foundation, and experience.

  • AgeCare plans extensively for these scenarios as part of our outbreak and pandemic preparedness protocols. When the cases in Canada were confirmed, and the outbreak began to spread, an AgeCare COVID-19 Operations Centre was formed. This cross-disciplinary leadership team meets daily to discuss COVID-19 updates and actions required.
  • AgeCare has a robust pandemic plan in place – outlining how we will continue to provide quality care and services during a COVID-19 outbreak.
  • AgeCare has put the necessary steps in place to ensure our communities have enough equipment, supplies, and staff to continue to provide safe, quality care for our residents.
  • AgeCare communities are continually enhancing their care and services procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and support the safety and well-being of residents and staff.
  • AgeCare's approach and procedures relating to COVID-19 align directly with Fraser Health Authority. We stay current with all updates from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and AHS, taking action on any new developments urgently.

For our resident's and family's awareness, we have created an overview of our outbreak protocols. AgeCare Outbreak Protocols Overview (PDF)

Family Communication

At AgeCare, we fully understand the critical role communication plays during a pandemic, and are committed to providing you with up-to-date information as it becomes available.  Currently, weekly updates are sent by email to our families and shared with our staff and residents on-site.

If a community has one or more positive COVID-19 cases:

  • Daily updates are sent by email to our families and shared with our staff and residents on-site.
  • A dedicated 1-800 number is set up for families to call to speak to a member of the leadership team at their AgeCare Community.

There are no daily updates or phone lines set up for AgeCare Harmony Court as we have had NO (zero) COVID-19 positive staff or residents at this location at this time.

What You Can Do

To protect against respiratory illnesses, including the flu and Coronavirus (COVID-19), you should:

  1. Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
  2. Avoid touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  4. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
  5. When sick, cover your cough and sneezes and then wash your hands.
  6. Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill. Self-isolate when required. Residents are at higher risk of serious illness from exposure to COVID-19 and other illnesses. Please review our most up-to-date visitor alert (PDF).

Essential Visits in Long-Term Care and Assisted Living Homes

We recognize that the last few months have been immensely difficult for residents and their families and that you have not seen your loved one for some time. Please know, we are so appreciative of your efforts in supporting the visitor restrictions at AgeCare Harmony Court and the incredible sacrifices both your loved one and yourselves have made to ensure everyone’s collective safety. Thanks to you, those who live and work in our community remain safe and healthy.

As the broader community begins to open, our first priority remains controlling the spread of the virus, and we believe that if we continue on this path – working together – that we can remain COVID-19 free. We ask that families remain strong throughout this transition and continue to be patient in supporting the visitor restrictions that have proven successful.

Effective immediately, AgeCare Harmony Court is extending their visitor restrictions to ESSENTIAL VISITS ONLY at our site through a controlled access point. Essential social visits will occur outdoors in our courtyard.

For visitor guidelines, please see the following sections below:

What is an essential visit?

Examples of essential visits as per Fraser Health and the Ministry of Health include, but are not limited to:

  • Visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end of life and Medical Assistance in Dying.
    • Visits paramount to the resident’s physical care and mental well-being, including:
    • Assistance with feeding, mobility and personal care;
    • Communication assistance for persons with hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual or memory impairments;
    • Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities, including the provision of emotional support; and
    • Visits for supported decision-making.
  • Existing registered volunteers providing the services described above.
  • Visits required to move belongings in or out of a client’s room.
  • Police, correctional officers and peace officers accompanying a resident for security reasons.

Essential visits are limited to one visitor per resident within the facility at a time.  A visitor who is a child may be accompanied by one parent, guardian or family member.

If you feel your situation warrants an essential visit, please discuss your request with your loved one’s care team. The care team will balance your request with the resident’s needs, along with the infection prevention/control requirements of the other residents in the unit. 

For essential social visits at AgeCare Harmony Court, these will occur outdoors, in our courtyard.

Signing Up for an outdoor essential social visit

For the month of July, to ensure everyone has the opportunity to schedule an outdoor essential social visit with their loved one and so we can ensure that we have the staffing in place to support, visits will be limited to 1 visit per resident for 30 minutes. We will reassess this at the end of the month At this time, residents will be able to visit with one designated family member or friend.

There are 10 outdoor visit spaces available each week. These will occur WEEKDAYS between 10:00 and 11:30 AM and on the WEEKENDS between 1:30 and 4:00 PM.

To sign-up for an essential visit, contact our Social Worker, Julie at 604-527-3314.

You may also wish to sign up for one of our virtual visits with the resident.

Screening

Entry points to facilities will be more limited than usual and we will screen all visitors for signs and symptoms of illness, including COVID-19 symptoms, prior to every visit.

All visitors coming for an outdoor essential social visit are required to come to the front entrance each time they visit, perform hand hygiene, and complete a Visitor Acknowledgement Form.

If you have signs or symptoms of illness or are in self-isolation or quarantine in accordance with public health directives, you will not be permitted to visit. 

Signs of illness may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, loss of sense of smell, loss of appetite, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, and muscle soreness.

If you feel even mildly unwell, stay home and do not visit. Even visitors deemed essential must not be ill to enter the facility.

What to expect while visiting a resident

As a visitor, you will be instructed when to perform hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and safe physical distancing. 

You will be shown how to put on and remove any required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when visiting or caring for patients/residents who are on droplet and contact precautions. 

You must go directly to the resident you are visiting and exit the directly after your visit.

Visits are limited to one visitor per resident at a time.  A visitor who is a child may be accompanied by one parent, guardian or family member.

If you are unable to adhere to appropriate precautions, you will be excluded from visiting.

Virtual Visits

Fraser Health continues to encourage the use of technology to remain in touch with your loved ones who are staying in a Long-Term Care or Assisted Living facility, especially if an outdoor in-person visit is not possible. 

We highly encourage all our family members to take advantage of our virtual visits (phone, video, or email) options provided by our recreation team. These visits allow you to stay connected with your loved one and give the residents a much-needed sense of comfort and reassurance during this difficult time.

Virtual visits must be booked in advance to ensure staff is available to assist, and resident care needs can continue to be met. To ensure everyone has the opportunity to schedule a visit with their loved one, visits will be limited to 30-minutes.

To sign-up for a virtual visit, contact our Recreation Manager, Jessica at 604-527-3328 for virtual visits.

What are the requirements for me to have social visits?

To support visits in long-term care homes and seniors’ assisted living residences, guidance has been developed by the Ministry of Health, which requires that facilities take a number of precautions to reduce the risk to residents.

  • Family/social visits are limited to a maximum of one family member or friend at a time as space permits in a facility.
  • Priority is protecting residents, so the province is taking a cautious and phased approach. For the month of July, residents will be able to visit with one designated family member or friend.
  • This will be reassessed in August, and the hope is to be able to expand this to safely include other family members or friends going forward, though there may still be a limit on the number of visitors at a given time.
  • All visits must be booked in advance to allow for the teams at the facility to safely accommodate scheduled visitors.
  • As per the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and Fraser Health care homes/residences may offer visits at three key locations:
    • Outdoor locations, which are dedicated to visiting (weather permitting);
    • Indoor designated locations; and
    • Individual single-client rooms for residents with limited mobility.
  • AgeCare Harmony Court will be offering these essential social visits outdoors in our courtyard.
  • Visitors must bring a mask and wear it for the duration of the visit.
  • Visits will not be allowed if there is an active COVID-19 outbreak at the home, and you will not be able to visit if you or the resident you are visiting are ill or have any COVID-19-like symptoms. 
When will I be able to visit with my family member or friend?

Recognizing enabling social visits will not happen overnight, Fraser Health provided their Long-Term care homes and seniors’ assisted living facilities time to make the operational adjustments necessary ensure the safety of residents.

They required all operators to develop a written plan in accordance with the practice requirements to make sure all necessary precautions are in place to protect residents and visitors.

We are pleased to say that as of Wednesday July 8, 2020 AgeCare Harmony Court is now able to accommodate these essential outdoor social visits.

Why is Fraser Health starting with only one designated visitor?

The safety of vulnerable residents is a priority, which is why we are taking a cautious and phased approach. It will allow us to limit the number of visitors to a facility and the contacts that a resident has.

Fraser Health will reassess in August and the hope is to be able to expand this to safely include other family members or friends going forward, though there may still be a limit to the number of visitors at a given time

Why is Fraser Health only allowing one visitor per resident?

The safety of residents and staff is a priority.

Fraser Health has limited the number of visitors within a visiting group to best support physical distancing and ensure more families are able to participate in visits.

Visits will not be allowed if there is an active COVID-19 outbreak at the home, and you will not be able to visit if you or the resident you are visiting are ill or have any COVID-19-like symptoms.

Fraser Health also continue to encourage families and friends to stay in touch virtually and remotely, where in-person outdoor visitations are not possible.

Are there limits on the length/number of visits?

For the month of July, the outdoor essential social visits are limited to 1 visit per resident for 30 minutes. This is to ensure we have the staffing in place to support these visits. We will reassess this at the end of the month.

You may also wish to sign up for one of our virtual visits with the resident.

Can I bring food, drink, or gifts?

At this time, no items, including food or drink, may be exchanged between the resident and their visitors, unless the item is currently part of the resident’s care plan

What added safety measures are in place?

All visitors will be screened for signs and symptoms of illness, including COVID- 19, prior to every visit.

If you have signs or symptoms of illness, or if you are in self-isolation or quarantine, you will not be permitted to visit.

You will also be required to wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, make sure you cough or sneeze into your elbow and practice safe physical distancing.

You will also be required to bring your own mask and wear it for the duration of the visit.

Any furniture and surfaces in the visiting area will be sanitized at the end of each visit to meet BC Centre for Disease Control guidelines.

Social visits will only be allowed if there is no active COVID-19 outbreak at the care home/residence.

What happens if the weather is not good?

Visits are weather dependant. If the weather is poor, your visit may need to be cancelled and rescheduled.

Can I take the resident for a visit at another location?

No. Residents must remain on the grounds of the care home/residence and in the designated visitation area for social visits.

By having the visits occur on the grounds of the care home/residence appropriate measures can be put in place to protect against COVID-19, such as maintaining a two metre physical distance, which will help make sure that you and your loved ones remain safe.

Will I be required to wear a mask? Or plexiglass separating?

All visitors must bring and wear a mask for the duration of their visit.

Some care homes/residences may consider making physical alterations, such as adding plexiglass partitions. At this time, as visits are occurring outdoors, we will not have any plexiglass partitions in place. These are not required to support social visits.

Will visits continue if there is a 2nd COVID-19 wave?

The safety of vulnerable residents is a priority.

If there is a second wave of COVID-19 it is possible that visits may need to again be temporarily restricted to prevent against the spread of this virus.

Additionally, visits will not be allowed if there is an active COVID-19 outbreak at the home, and you will not be able to visit if you or the resident you are visiting are ill or have any COVID-19-like symptoms.

Fraser Health is working closely with the Ministry of Health to protect the health of everyone in BC. Restricting visitors minimizes the risk of the introduction of COVID-19 into facilities and allows staff to focus on caring for patients and residents, rather than monitoring and screening visitors. 

Thank you again for your continued support in maintaining the visitor restrictions and helping keep our community COVID-19 free. AgeCare remains committed to supporting the well-being of all residents and staff during this time.

Orders from the Provincial Health Officer or a Medical Health Officer take precedence over this policy.

All information above provided complies with the orders from the Ministry of Health and the direction received from the Fraser Health Authority (FHA) as of July 3, 2020.

Source: FHA Visitor Guidelines and FHA COVID Q & A

Resources

Virtual and In Person Visits CTA     Visitor

Cover Cough Download CTA     Hand Hygeine Download CTA