RE: COVID-19 – Update from Sunnyside
Dear Family & Friends of Sunnyside;
We continue to be well at Sunnyside with no sick residents or staff. Even though “Re-open Saskatchewan” is going well, we continue to look for more ways to be safe as the risk to our residents increases as society starts returning to normal activities so we have to remain on heightened awareness.
We are very proactive in testing residents or staff members showing any flu like symptoms. The clinical characteristics of covid-19 are still being understood and new evidence emerges frequently. For example, we now screen our residents and staff for an extended list of new or worsening respiratory symptoms i.e. cough, shortness of breath, runny nose or sneezing, nasal congestion, hoarse voice, sore throat, difficulty swallowing and for the onset of any new atypical symptoms including chills, muscle aches, diarrhea, malaise, fatigue, loss of sense of smell, loss of sense of taste, or headache.
For residents our nurses can do swabs at Sunnyside and send it to the lab for testing. We isolate the resident until the results come back. If a staff member needs to be tested they go to the Health Authority test site and stay home until the results are received. All test results have been negative so far.
We now have an iPad to connect electronically with our Doctors and Physiotherapist so they can do assessments and consult with us from their offices. Our doctors continue to review their residents care with our nurses with same frequency as before Covid-19, however, for now it is by telephone and video. Doctors will come onsite if needed and are on call for us 24 * 7.
There is a lot of excitement regarding the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan which began May 4:
- Re-Open Saskatchewan: Phase One (started Monday, May 4): medical services like dentists, physical and occupational therapies, optometrists.
- Re-Open Saskatchewan: Phase Two (started Tuesday, May 19): Retail businesses and certain personal services have reopened. Public and private gatherings are still limited to a maximum of 10 people.
- Re-Open Saskatchewan: Phase Three (starts Monday, June 8): Restaurants and bars but only to a maximum of 50 per cent capacity. Child-care facilities, gyms, fitness facilities and churches also can reopen. More personal services will be allowed to resume operations. The allowable size of public and private gatherings will increase to a maximum of 15 people. Physical distancing and stringent cleaning protocols have to be in place.
- Re-Open Saskatchewan: Phase Four (Date To Be Determined): Casinos, bingo halls, arenas, curling rinks, swimming pools, galleries, theatres, museums, parks and playgrounds.
- Re-Open Saskatchewan: Phase Five (Date To Be Determined): This is the final phase that would involve the potential lifting of long-term restrictions.
It’s important to note that Re-Open Saskatchewan does not apply to health care, it is for the general public. The Saskatchewan Health Authority has their own Re-open plan for health care. It’s important to stress that resumption does not apply to all services, and must be done in a slow and careful way. This work will be phased so as to gradually monitor impact and preserve safety measures in place at health facilities. Implementation will vary across the province depending on Outbreaks, Capacity, Ability to adhere to Public Health Orders, Timing between stages will be considered carefully.
Phase 1: Resume some everyday services & expansion of surgeries and diagnostic imaging (started May 19, 2020).
Phase 2: SHA-operated specialty clinics (timing = TBD).
Phase 3: Further expansion of everyday services (timing = TBD).
Phase 4: Full resumption of services (timing = TBD).
I remind all Saskatchewan residents that measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 must continue:
- Public and private gatherings are still limited.
- Continue physical distancing of two metres. Wear a mask if physical distancing can’t be maintained.
- People planning an extended household group with one or two families and friends should exercise extreme caution. The limit on gathering sizes still applies.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- At Sunnyside we cannot take home made food or restaurant takeout food inside for our residents, however, flowers from a florist and dry paper gifts are not an infection risk. Therefore, gift delivery of purchased floral arrangements and dry paper such as cards, letters, books and photos to hospitals and long term care homes is approved. Canada post cards and parcels are OK too. You can also email us cards for your resident. We will help any resident read their mail if assistance is needed. If there is a special treat your resident would like, let us know what it is and we will try to get it for them through our suppliers.
- We cannot open windows for you to talk to your loved one. You can come to the window to see your resident and talk via the phone.
- Encourage the family and friends that you talk with to continuing being safe. We have to stay vigilant if Re-open Saskatchewan is to be successful. Reminders are issued daily throughout our province to media and social media that COVID-19 is a virus present throughout our province. We cannot stress enough the importance of every person taking every precaution to protect yourself and your family from transmission. Following all public health measures and restrictions that are in place are key for your safety and the safety of all Saskatchewan residents.
- Covid-19 testing is available and recommended if you have unexplained new or worsening symptoms (of any severity) that may include one or more of the following: fever, cough, headache, aches and pains, sore throat, chills, runny nose, loss of sense of taste or smell, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Call 811 if you think you may be getting sick or have any questions.
I include these reminders because it is so important for everyone to keep their awareness up. I am frequently asked when I expect long term care homes to open. At this point I can’t predict when our care homes will open, however, if you look at the re-open Saskatchewan plan, you will see that it does not talk about the opening of hospitals or care homes. A lot will depend on how the public commits to the measures to help stop the spread. While the public restrictions are slowly being lifted, the care homes in Saskatchewan continue to add more steps to protect our residents and staff.
There is some good news regarding the reopening of care homes. There is group called “Open Family Presence Working Group” that has been meeting. They are discussing family visits at care homes and how to manage it. I look forward to their recommendations and will let you know as soon as anything is announced.
We remain fully staffed after we stopped sharing staff on April 28. Our Recreation student started on May 4 so we will have more Recreation staff for the next four months. Our Grounds Keeping student started on May 1 which will beautify our grounds for our residents to enjoy. We have a student starting in Dietary on June 15. We have also hired several nursing students to work as Care Aides during the summer vacation season.
Staying in touch with your loved ones at Sunnyside is very important. Many of you have been connecting electronically for face to face conversations. Call our Recreation team at 306-653-1267 ext. 140 to make an appointment to have face to face time with your loved one. If you get their voice mail, leave a message and they will call you back as our Recreation team spends most of their time out with residents.
You can also connect by phone, just call our nursing desk at 306-653-1267 ext 124 and they will connect you to your resident. You can also send us emails to deliver and read to your resident. Emails can be sent to me at email@example.com.
Some family members are coming to our front window to see their loved one. You can call our Rec team at 306-653-1267 ext 140 to let them know when you are coming and they will bring your loved one to the front window. You can talk via telephone.
Please share this info with all your other family members or let them know they can keep updated with things at Sunnyside on our web page (www.sunnysidecare.ca) and our Facebook page (Sunnyside Adventist Care Centre).
Also keep updated via Saskatchewan’s website at: www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19.
We appreciate your support, patience and prayers and miss having you with us every day. If there is anything we can do for your loved one or for you, please let us know. I am available at 306-653-1267 ext 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our nursing staff are available 24 * 7 at ext 124. All other departments are listed on our phone system when you call.