Covenant Health
This week's reflection

This week's reflection

Ah gut gebentsht yohr | A good and blessed year

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COVID-19 Information

Families are an important part of the care team, and it is our desire to keep you informed about current guidelines and enable you to stay connected to your family members during this time. The situation and relevant information continue to evolve, resulting in changing guidance for residents, families and staff. We recognize that these changes can be difficult, but our teams remain committed to providing compassionate, high-quality care for the residents in our care.

Individuals over 60 years of age and those with pre-existing health conditions are most at risk of severe symptoms from COVID-19. Since being able to vaccinate the majority of our residents and care givers, we have seen a notable decline in the incidence of viral infections in our continuing care, congregate living population. For the most accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit Alberta Health Services.

Safe visitation related to Order 16-2021 beginning May 10, 2021

The Chief Medical Officer of Health released public health order 16-2021, which provides new visitation guidelines designed to enhance the quality of life for residents. While we fully support this order and welcome the positive benefits it may have, we know that the COVID-19 virus can still cause illness. The new order is complex and has many components. While our residents are experiencing decreased cases of COVID-19, we are experiencing increased cases of COVID-19 in the community. Consequently, our visitation practices will follow the new order with the acceptable variations based on the site’s risk tolerance. 

Designated family/support persons

  • Each resident or alternate decision maker may designate up to four persons who are essential (children under 14 must be accompanied).
  • These individuals are essential for residents’ physical and mental health.
  • Designated support people must be verified by the site on entry, be educated in safe visiting practices and be screened.
  • Designated support people may be able to visit at the same time if they are able to maintain physical distancing (unless they are from the same household) and all other safe visiting practices.

Visitors 

Visitors are those other than designated persons and may be allowed indoor visits based on:

  • Resident circumstances (see below regarding extenuating circumstances)
  • The desire of the majority of residents (51 per cent of respondents) for social visits, informed by risk tolerance assessment.

Visitors when there are extenuating circumstances (up to four visitors may be permitted, space permitting, unless from the same household — please discuss this with your site):

  • End of life (last four to six weeks, except in hospice)
  • Change in health status (due to medical/social/spiritual crisis)
  • Pressing circumstances (including financial or legal matters, family crisis)

Hospice visitors

  • Hospice patients will be able to have visitors immediately upon admission.

Outdoor visits

  • Outdoor visits follow the restrictions that apply to all Albertans. Sites are not obligated to provide or supervise spaces. If the resident requires staff support to prepare for an outdoor visit, please arrange with operator. 

Pets

  • Pets will be allowed for outdoor and indoor visits. Please co-ordinate the visit with the appropriate unit manager.

Food and gifts

  • Family and friends will be allowed to bring food from outside to the residents. Food must be brought in a container that can be wiped down. At this time, visitors are not allowed to eat or drink during visits.*
  • Family and friends will be allowed to bring gifts for residents. You can drop off a gift and have us deliver it, or you can deliver it yourself during a visit.*

*Please limit the number items you bring into the site as each additional item can pose an additional risk.

For more information, please talk to your site contact.

Stipulations for visits

There are several stipulations for visits that are important to know:

  • Visits must be coordinated with the sites. When the site is dealing with an outbreak, they may need to quickly limit social visits for a time until they are able to ensure they can provide the appropriate support for visits.
  • Designated family/support people must be verified by the site on entry.
  • Visitors must read and follow Covenant Health’s Safe Visits policy and adhere to all of the site’s safe visiting practices.
  • Visitors must determine their level of unknown risk to COVID-19 and disclose it to the resident or their alternate decision maker.
  • All indoor visitors will need to go through screening to enter the site.
  • All indoor visits will take place in residents’ rooms, space permitting or in designated shared spaces. Groupings of up to four individuals from one household will be permitted. You will not be permitted to visit other residents or visit in other areas, including the hallways.
  • Visitors must practice social distancing; everyone must be a minimum of six feet away from one another (unless from the same household).
  • Everyone involved in a visit must wear masks at all times.
  • Visitors and residents must practice proper hand hygiene using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before, during and after visits.
  • Site staff will support family/support persons and visitors in proper use of masks, hand hygiene and safe touch practices when you visit as well as the use of additional PPE where that may be indicated.

The order is meant to address residents’ quality of life and mental health. It is important for visitors to the site to assess the benefits of these changes for the residents and themselves in terms of physical health, safety and emotional well-being. While site staff are responsible for the safety of your family member and must do what they can to support their well-being, as you spend more time with them, you also have a responsibility for their safety. We are all responsible.

Risk tolerance assessment

Risk tolerance is the ability of a site, as an entity (collective of families, residents and staff), to accept increased potential exposure to COVID-19. The assessment is a tool to inform decisions about access to social visits and site processes. Risk tolerance is fluid, will change over time and will depend on many factors, such as:

  • Building room types, residents’ health status and the risk tolerance of residents, families and staff.

Phone and virtual visits

Please continue to connect with residents regularly by phone or virtually through Zoom, Skype or FaceTime in addition to in-person visits where possible. It is so important for families to hear each other’s voices.

Item pickup and drop-off

  • Essential items not provided by the sites, such as toothpaste, deodorant, Polydent, etc., will continue to be permitted to be dropped off.
  • Devices such as cell phones and tablets required for keeping in communication are encouraged. They will be disinfected prior to being delivered to residents.
  • Contact your site for details related to resident laundry.