RE: COVID-19 – Sunnyside’s Precautions as of April 6, 2020
As you can imagine, Sunnyside has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation very closely. At this time there are still no confirmed or presumed positive cases of COVID-19 at Sunnyside (Residents or staff).
The Government of Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority have all activated their emergency operations centres to coordinate communication and planning. All long term care homes in the Saskatoon area have a conference call every morning with our local Health Authority representatives for updates. We receive email updates from all three organizations many times every day.
The health and well-being of our residents and staff is paramount and will guide us as we collectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. With COVID-19’s escalating impact around the world, and right here in Saskatchewan, we have taken many steps to meet this very significant challenge head on. Out of caution and concern for health and safety, and recognizing our responsibility to help maintain a healthy care home and local community, we have implemented proactive measures including the following:
- Our Leadership team meets daily to monitor the evolving situation, access expert advice and guide our planning and decision-making processes to address active and ongoing disease surveillance, workforce protection and management, supply chain management and risks, travel, access restrictions to our home, and quarantine measures as defined in our Pandemic plan.
- We have communicated best practices for protecting employee health (washing hands frequently and properly; covering your mouth with your arm when coughing or sneezing; avoiding contact with those who are already infected; social distancing; avoiding touching your face and implemented employee workstation and cell phone cleaning requirements.
- We are restricting anyone having traveled outside Saskatchewan from entering our home for 14 days and are advising them to stay home and self-isolate. Any staff members who have come in contact or have identified as being at risk of having come in contact with a person with COVID-19 are sent home for 14 daysr.
- We cancelled all external meetings and have in place systems for remote teleconference or video meetings.
- The Chief Medical Health Officer ordered that visitors to long-term care homes are restricted to essential visitors only. Essential visitor means immediate family visiting for compassionate reasons only. Essential visitors are screened for any signs of illness and for their travel history. This was the most difficult change we had to implement as our family members are very important partners in the care we provide. We have also cancelled all volunteers.
- To stay in touch with their loved ones family members can call them if they have a phone in their room, if they don’t have a phone we have wireless phones we can take to them, just call our nursing desk at 306-653-1267 ext 124. You can also send us emails to deliver and read to your resident. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. We also set up Facebook Messenger which allows family and residents to communicate face to face electronically. These face to face communications are very popular. We started with one iPad, but had to buy a second one and add some extra Recreation staff to assist residents. Call the Recreation team at 306-653-1267 ext. 140 to make an appointment to have face to face time with your loved one.
- To communicate with families we have sent out mass text messages, mass emails, mass letters, and post updates on our website and Facebook page. We meet with our residents every Thursday at 2:00pm. Staff meetings are frequent.
- Any resident that becomes ill for any reason will be isolated. Swabs will be taken and sent to the lab for testing. Any residents returning from hospital or any new residents are isolated for two weeks.
- Any staff member that become ill, has a cough, difficulty breathing or has a fever are asked to stay home and away from public places. As an added measure we started taking our staff’s temperature at the start of each shift. Sunnyside has a sick time policy that will compensate our staff for sick time.
- We have hired and trained additional care staff in case some of our staff fall ill. We are in the process of training all our non-nursing staff to assist with things like meals and resident lifts in case they are needed. We will be allowing some staff vacations of short duration as long as we are not in outbreak.
- We won’t have any potlucks or sharing of food from home.
- Care Conferences with families will be done by teleconference calls.
- We are doing additional cleaning for high touch places like door knobs, hallway rails, staff room, coat room, etc.
- Staff are helping our residents maintain hand hygiene. Our Rec room, physio room and, lounges remain open so life can remain somewhat normal for our residents. We are doing our best to practice social distancing between residents. IE: Recreation groups are 10 or less. Last week the Ministry of Health asked all care homes to start providing tray service in resident rooms for all meals as we can’t provide social distancing in a dining room environment. We are anxious for spring so we can start going outside to our courtyard.
- All external groups planning to meet at Sunnyside have been cancelled including for Recreation. We will not do any resident outings.
- We have a Ultra Violet (UV) light and are using it daily to disinfect washrooms, staff room, dining room, recreation room, resident rooms, etc.
- We installed a new time clock that is touchless, it uses facial recognition. We put a table by our time clock for staff to leave their purses while they punch in instead of using the nearby dining table.
- All deliveries of supplies are dropped at our loading dock, no truck drivers enter our building. Our Maintenance team bring all supplies in.
- Before coming to work staff are asked to shower, put on clean clothes and come straight to Sunnyside.
We take the COVID-19 threat seriously and we are taking all reasonable measures to prepare for and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to our residents and staff. Our # 1 goal is to keep all our residents and staff virus free. The Government of Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority have been working tirelessly to support us in any way they can. We will continue to follow their direction plus implement our own internal precautions.
The leadership team of Sunnyside will continue to meet regularly and be in constant contact with the Saskatchewan Health Authority to assess our response and proactively manage the impact of COVID-19 as it evolves taking preventative measures to ensure our plans and response aligns with the latest recommendations and best practices.
Sunnyside’s biggest challenge is to ensure we have enough medical supplies like masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and other protective supplies. So far we are doing OK by being extremely careful with usage. As you know there is a world-wide shortage of medical supplies. We are encouraged by the efforts being made by governments and industry to ramp up production and are hopeful more supplies will be available soon.
Let’s all do our part implementing precautionary behaviours with high consistency now and over the long-term so we can bring an end to this pandemic.
You can find the most recent information at the Government of Saskatchewan’s website: www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19. I’m sure there will be new steps we can take this coming week to further enhance our safety.
Thank you for your continued support of our residents and staff. Please keep us and our world in your prayers at this critical time. If there is anything else we can do to you’re your or your loved one during this challenging time please let us know.
Blessings to you and your family, take care and stay healthy,