Across Canada, the risk that COVID-19 poses to the residents of personal care homes (PCHs) is clear. Efforts to prevent, quickly identify and contain “outbreaks” of COVID-19 are vital to protecting populations that are most vulnerable to serious outcomes from this virus. To date, Manitobans’ efforts have been effective in prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks in the province’s PCHs. Visitor restrictions, enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfecting practices, daily staff screening before staff enter the workplace, adherence to provincial personal protective equipment requirements and the implementation of a single-site PCH staffing model have been sequential and escalating steps in Manitoba’s response to COVID-19 within the province. Each preventive measure has involved significant consideration of the impact it would have on your loved ones.
We know that family and friends are integral to the overall health, well-being and quality of life of residents within PCHs. Balancing necessary preventative measures with maintaining the vital connections that residents have with family members and support systems has been at the heart of every stage of our response. However, while preventing the spread of this virus within our facilities remains a central priority, the likelihood that COVID-19 will be a part of our ‘new normal’ for a longer duration requires us to find a longer-term balance between preventative measures and the many benefits of ongoing interaction between residents and their loved ones.
Accordingly, this is to advise that, effective May 29, 2020, we will be supporting on-site, outdoor visits at the Heritage Life PCH with the following considerations:
- Screening of all visitors must occur, including assessment for symptoms or known exposure to COVID-19 prior to entry. Restrictions will apply to visitors who have travelled outside of Manitoba within the past 14 days. No visitor shall be permitted if they have any cold/flu or other COVID-19 symptoms.
- All visitors must comply with Infection Prevention and Control measures. This includes strict hand hygiene and maintaining physical distancing (6 feet/2 meters apart) at all times.
Indoor visits remain suspended. Exceptions will continue to be made on a case-by-case basis as per existing guidance, e.g. visits for compassionate and/or end of life reasons.
Off-property visits are not permitted given the risk to residents and to the facility associated with unknown nature of contacts, exposure and other required safety measures.
In order to help us ensure that this new opportunity presents the best experience for you and your loved one, please review and complete the attached request form.
Protecting the health and well-being of your loved ones and staff remains one of our top priorities. Regular assessment by public health officials of the impact and evaluation of the need for adjusted visitor restrictions will continue as developments evolve. Once again, thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we take every measure to protect you, your loved ones and our staff.
Director of Care