Dear Tabor Village Families and Friends:
Impact on Older Adults
As we start Week 3 of Phase 2 of the Restart BC Plan, much of the same restrictive safety measures remain in place at Tabor Village. Looking from the outside at aged care communities, one could easily wonder why, the same relaxation of precautions is not taking place. When the decision was made by the Tabor Village Leadership Team to continue with the COVID-19 safety plan measures the choice to do so was made in the best interests of others. To protect and to not harm older persons living at Tabor and their families as well as staff members.
As we know, the global COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented public health crisis that alarmingly impacts older adults, particularly those with pre-existing conditions. Those residing in long-term care and assisted living settings are at even higher risk of COVID-19 infections. The survival rate of COVID-19 virus infected seniors living in care settings remains a significant concern. The only defense we have against the virus is to prevent transmission.
Workplace Health and Safety
While Tabor is the home to your family member, at the same time the Village is the workplace for health care workers who care for older adults. As an employer working with frontline staff, a COVID-19 Safety Plan was developed and implemented to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. A recent WorkSafe BC review of Tabor Village assessed the employer's response to the current COVID-19 pandemic in relation to worker health and safety in this workplace. I am pleased to report that the report commended the measures being taken to ensure the safety of workers and seniors who call Tabor Village home.
Future Possible Relaxation of Visitation Restrictions
The Ministry of Health and Health Authorities are starting to discuss how we might be able to support outdoor visits for older adults in long term care and assisted living. Given that visitor restrictions remain in place except for essential visits (visiting persons actively dying) and as the weather improves, there is an opportunity to develop guidance to support safe visiting by families and friends of older adults in designated outdoor settings.
Tabor Village is seeking your input and feedback to the proposed visitation guidelines and I encourage you to contact me to provide input and comments. While there is no definite date announced when visitor restrictions might be lessened, it is important to look at ways to effectively allow visits without endangering you or your loved one’s health by cautiously setting up a safe way to visit without undoing the sacrifices that you have made over the past few months.
We have heard from you how difficult these restrictions have been on you and we feel your stress from not being able to visit your family member during the pandemic. With this in mind, the therapeutic recreation team initiated video conferencing, email letters to seniors, care packages from families, closed window visits and phone calls. As the gardens bloom, seniors are spending more time outside and closed window visits become more challenging to share these outdoor spaces and your patience is appreciated as we work through visiting hours to ensure the grounds remain accessible for seniors who live at Tabor Village.
Adapted Therapeutic Programs and Dining Room Service
The therapeutic program team developed adapted activities and programs such as hallway bingo, exercises with personal equipment, hymns and devotions in smaller groups of eight people seated six feet apart, ice cream cart room service, high tea, arm chair travel, trivia, and iPad programs. The dining rooms are reopening with seniors sitting at their own tables or together where they can dine six feet apart. The popular monthly breakfast at Tabor Court is restarting on June 10
Happy Seniors Week!
The first week of June each year is Seniors Week and a time to celebrate the contributions of those one million British Columbians who are over the age of 65. As the pandemic has shined the media spotlight on how we care for seniors, know that the values that you have practiced all your life to honour and respect older adults has not gone unnoticed. All generations from children to young adults to middle aged and to active seniors know the commitment that we have made to seniors who can no longer live independently as the entire Tabor community believes in the profound value of providing the best possible care and support.
Opinion Editorial, The Vancouver Sun
Recently, I wrote an Opinion Editorial piece that was published in the weekend edition of The Vancouver Sun. The article can be read by clicking on this link:
The article comes from a perspective of the need to replace hospital style nursing homes with small homes that may have better infection control outcomes. A conversation we at Tabor Village have been having for many years and a perspective that I believe we all share. Despite everything we did to prevent COVID-19 from entering Valhaven, an outbreak lingered and it is taking its toll on employees, older adults and their families. Is it time to replace hospital style old age institutions? Could a new design for the next generation of nursing homes fix the problem we hear about on the evening news? The pandemic has put a spotlight on the senior living sector. Now is the time for such a change; to honour our mothers and fathers!
Be Kind, Be Calm and Be Safe
As Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Medical Health Officer says, be kind to each other, be calm in the face of the crisis and be safe by practicing infection control measures.
We Want to Hear from You
In an effort to maintain open communication please do not hesitate to reach out to your regular contacts at Tabor Village or myself if you have any questions, would like clarification, or have an idea to enhance the way seniors are cared for during the pandemic at Tabor Village.
Dan Levitt, MSc., CHE
604-859-8715 ext. 102