We were very happy to see the gardeners from the County Properties team here working on our gardens out front this past week. We also had a great crew of some staff who worked on the interior gardens this week with beautiful results. Now to be patient a few more weeks before we add the flowers.
It is a sad reality that this is our second Mother’s Day that we are celebrating during COVID pandemic. We will be having special Mother’s Day activities occurring leading up to and on Mother’s Day. (fun Mary Kay spa day pictures from yesterday later in the newsletter)
We are going to trial opening up the times when your rapid antigen test can be done at the Home. We are hopeful that we can manage this as we recognize that this will be very helpful to many of you who are struggling to get to the Home during the designated times. We will now be available to do your rapid antigen test Mon- Wed between 10am – 7pm. We would love to hear your feedback on this change.
We are happy to share some significant changes to a Ministry Directive that was released this week. The Ministry acknowledged the significant positive impact the COVID vaccination program is having in LTC Homes for staff and residents across the province. There are many changes and clarifications throughout this document that we have reviewed. Some of these changes take effect right away while others are staggered and home dependent.
The immediate changes that you will note at JMPC are as follows:
All those coming into the Home are required to wear eye protection at all times. (we have not strayed from this since our brief outbreak, so this will not be a change for JMPC)
- There are updated screening questions that you will be asked commencing May 7 2021.
You will no longer be required to answer any questions or take your temperature upon exiting the building, but we will still be tracking the time of your departure for contact tracing purposes.
- During the Provincial Stay at Home Order, residents (like all of us within Ontario) are now also permitted to leave their home with or without their designated essential caregiver. The designated essential caregiver will be required to have the required COVID testing (PCR/Rapid Antigen testing) when they pick up their resident. The absences are permitted for the following reasons:
o To attend important medical appointments
o To get exercise outside
o To get essential groceries
o To get essential pharmacy items
(It is our hope that these last two outing types will be very limited to keep unnecessary
exposure risks low, given that JMPC does ensure food/pharmacy items for residents)
Another immediate improvement affects new admissions. Moving forward, residents who move in and are fully vaccinated will only require a negative PCR test and will no longer require the 14 days of isolation. For new admissions who only have a single vaccine dose, they will be in isolation for 10 days (instead of the previous 14 days). We know that this has been very difficult for newly admitted residents so this is a significant improvement.
Once the Provincial Stay at Home Order is lifted, there are some additional improvements that you will see. They include the addition of 2 types of Outings (both types of outings will require advance approval of the LTC Home):
o Short Term Outings – Leaving the property for social or other reason but not overnight
o Temporary Outing – Leaving the property and includes overnight of one or more
nights. (no isolation of 14 days upon return)
Another improvement that will be implemented depending on the vaccination status of each individual LTC Home will not affect JMPC until late June. With this change, Homes must meet a minimum threshold of 85% of residents fully vaccinated (both doses) AND at least 70% of staff fully vaccinated (both doses). The term “fully vaccinated” is defined to mean having received both doses and includes 14 days following the second dose. Once homes meet this threshold further restrictions can be lifted. At JMPC we do meet the criteria as it applies to resident’s full vaccination status at this point. Unfortunately, staff (similar to essential caregivers), were held off from receiving their second dose for up to 16 weeks. As a result most of the staff’s second vaccine dose is not until mid June. (In speaking to many essential caregivers, this is the same experience that you are also having).
Some of the changes that will be occurring once we meet the Fully Vaccinated status (approx. late June as it is 14 days after the second dose) include:
- Freedom of movement throughout the Home for essential caregivers.
- Essential Caregivers joining in on resident programs again.
- General Visitors entering the Home (the extent of this is unclear at this time)
I will continue to advocate to Public Health the importance of getting our staff (and essential caregivers) fully vaccinated as quickly as possible so that we can implement these improvements that fully support the social and emotional needs of the residents.
I realize that this is a lot of information to take in. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. There is a never ending flow of documents coming at us and it is challenging for everyone.
For now, it looks like perfect weather on Sunday for the essential caregivers to go for a walk outside with their loved one. Should you happen to run into anyone while on your outing, please ensure to maintain physical distancing, and that face coverings are in place.
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