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Changes to Directive #3 in Ontario: An Update on Visitor Policy

December 10, 2020

COVID-19-Blog

Hello everyone,

Yesterday, there was an update to Directive #3 under the Long Term Care act, which Retirement Homes are required to follow during the pandemic. This update, effective Wednesday, December 9, 2020 states that General Visitors are not allowed in a retirement home that is located in a public health region in an Orange, Red or Grey level.

The Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility (MSAA) released a revised Retirement Home COVID-19 Visiting Policy.  The revised policy is effective December 11, 2020.  It can be found on the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority (RHRA) website, here.  We understand the RHRA is working on a matrix to better illustrate these changes; once complete, we will forward it to you.

To align with the Provincial COVID-19 Framework, High Alert and Alert areas have been eliminated.  Retirement homes will now be subject to Provincial protocols under Green (Prevent), Yellow (Protect), Orange (Restrict), Red (Control), and Grey (Lockdown) COVID-19 zones that are based on the boundaries of their local public health unit.  Seasons is required to uphold this visitor policy.  Changes include, but are not limited to the following.  Please consult the RHRA policy link above for full details.

General Visitors are not permitted to visit homes in Outbreak, Orange (Restrict), Red (Control), and Grey (Lockdown) levels.

Designated Family/Support Person/Caregiver may be a family member, friend, companion (privately paid or volunteer), support worker (privately paid or volunteer), power of attorney/trustee, agent, legal guardian, or any other person identified.  A reminder that this type of “visitor” would be deemed essential and as such, provides direct care which may include:

      • Supporting feeding
      • Mobility
      • Personal hygiene
      • Cognitive stimulation
      • Communication
      • Meaningful connection
      • Relational continuity
      • Assistance in decision making

The Designated Family/Support Person/Caregiver MUST:

      • Be identified by the resident and/or substitute decision-maker
      • Schedule all visits ahead of time
      • Remain consistent
      • Be educated in all IPAC protocols, specifically donning & doffing of PPE
      • Adhere to all IPAC protocols or risk being declined further visits

For homes in Green and Yellow Levels, a maximum of two caregivers per resident may visit at a time.  For homes in Outbreak, Orange, Red and Grey levels, a maximum of one caregiver per resident may visit at a time.

Absences that do not include an overnight stay.  For homes in Green and Yellow levels, residents are permitted to leave the retirement home for an absence that does not include an overnight stay.  For homes in Outbreak, Orange, Red and Grey levels, residents may leave the premises for walks or essential reasons such as groceries, medical appointments, etc. and must meet the screening, face-covering/masking, physical distancing and education requirements.

Absence that includes an overnight stay. For homes in Green and Yellow levels, the resident must self-isolate for 14 days and may not receive general visitors, leave the home for short absences or overnight stays.  For homes in Outbreak, Orange, Red and Grey levels, an overnight stay is not permitted.

Universal masking. The updated Directive states, and as per Seasons’ protocol, all staff and visitors must wear a surgical/procedure mask during the entire duration of their shift/visit.  Visitors can wear a face covering for outdoor visits and should remain 2 meters apart from the individual they are visiting and Seasons Team members.  Retirement Homes are required to have policies for resident masking: At Seasons, residents are asked to wear masks when they are in the common areas of our homes.

While we knew changes were pending, this information was officially outlined to Seasons last evening.  We know these are important changes that have a significant impact on our residents and their families.  We apologize for the short notice period this provides.

We remain committed to following all directives from local public health, our sector regulators and provincial CMOH directives.  We continue to practice strict infection prevention and control measures as the health and safety of our staff and residents remain our greatest priority.  Thank you to our staff and residents for their cooperation and vigilance.

Should you have any questions about these changes, please speak with your General Manager.

Sincerely,

LeighAnne Voll
Chief Operating Officer,
Seasons Retirement Communities

For additional online resources for COVID-19 you can visit the following sites:

Canada Health
Alberta Health
Alberta Health Services
Public Health Ontario
Retirement Home Regulatory Authority

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