What’s New

Visitation Update DCPs & families December 29, 2021

Dear Families,

DCG / Visitor Restriction Notice:

Most importantly I wish to clarify the RK is not experiencing any form of a COVID-19 outbreak. However, due to the growing number of positive cases in our community, the Home will be closed to all DCG visitation [with the exception of compassionate visits] effective 9:00am, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. The primary reason for this restriction is that we have the ability to manage our staff with screening, masking, rapid testing and an effective communication process, unfortunately we are unable to manage our visitors in the same manner which increases the likelihood of COVID-19 getting a foothold in the Home.

At this point your loved ones are safe and being cared for by a staff that is second to none!

We will keep you informed of any changes to this DCG / visitor restriction.

Thank you in advance for your understanding and support through this challenging pandemic.  

Terry MacIntyre, CEO

Message from CEO to Families & Staff Dec 25, 2021

Merry Christmas everyone,

Update: We are following up with a COVID-19 positive staff member and are working with both Public Health and Occupational Health Safety and Wellness and have implemented all cautionary measures. Our residents and staff are all vaccinated and continue to be symptom free. Public Health has advised us to swab the residents of Maple Ridge / Brambleberry and this is happening as we speak.

As an ongoing cautionary measure, we will continue to restrict visitor access to Maple Ridge / Brambleberry and ask that if you have access to a rapid test kit, please do the test within 24 hours of your visit.  

We will provide regular updates to ensure everyone is kept in the loop!

Take care and enjoy your day!

Terry MacIntyre


RK MacDonald Nursing Home

1-902-863-2578  ext. 272

Message to Designated Care Givers

Dear Designated Care Givers,

I wish to acknowledge your ongoing support of the safety precautions we have implemented here at the RK – greatly appreciated!

Respecting the continued presence of COVID-19 in our local community, the RK is extending the following president safety measures:

  • Visitation: in order to reduce foot traffic in the Home, only a resident’s DCG’s are permitted to visit the Home – can you please notify other family members / friends of this restriction
  • Mask wearing: visitors must not remove their masks at any time during your visit and we ask that you only visit with your loved one
  • Offsite visits: continued restriction for offsite resident outings
  • Symptoms: All DCG visitors to are encouraged to get tested even if you experience mild symptoms
  • Rapid testing: it is strongly recommend that DCG visitors complete a rapid test within 24 hours of your visit.
  • Staff: screening is ongoing, we are providing rapid testing kits x 2 weekly for staff, continue to promote mask wearing, hand hygiene and are asking any staff that may have been in a high exposure site to get tested  

Although our residents are fully vaccinated and have received their booster, we feel the above measures are necessary to help keep them safe during this community outbreak.

Take care everyone,

Terry MacIntyre, CEO

Update to Visitation Rules

Dear Designated Care Providers,

In response to the presence of COVID-19 in our local community, the RK is taking the following precautions to protect our residents:

  • Offsite visits: Restricting off site resident visits for a 2 week period
  • Visitation: in order to reduce foot traffic in the Home, for the next 2 weeks we ask that only DCG’s to visit the Home – can you please notify other family members / friends to please not visit for the next 2 weeks
  • High Risk Areas: Advising all staff and visitors to visit https://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus-exposures?title=&field_covid_exposure_zone_value=Eastern and if you were in one of these high risk areas to please get tested.
  • Staff: screening is ongoing, we are providing rapid testing kits, continue to promote mask wearing, hand hygiene and are asking any staff that may have been in a high exposure site to get tested  
  • Baked goods: we certainly always appreciate the kindness of our residents’ family members – if you bring Christmas treats to the home to share with residents / staff, please ensure the treats are wrapped individually

Although our residents are fully vaccinated and have received their booster, we feel the above measures are necessary to help keep them safe during this community outbreak.

Board Announcement

The Board of Directors of the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home is pleased to announce the appointment of Terry MacIntyre as Permanent Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective November 15, 2021.

Rk MacDonald Hiring Drive Featured in Saltwire

The Chronicle Herald, a part of the Saltwire network, recently featured the RK MacDonald’s on-going hiring drive.

The RK is currently looking to fill positions in nursing, especially CCAs, as well as housekeeping, dietary and custodial care, as the nation-wide staffing shortage for front-line healthcare workers is also impacting Nova Scotia.

As well as helping fill healthcare gaps, working at the RK in Antigonish is a good decision overall, says RK Human Resources Coordinator Jacqueline Delorey.

“Our team takes great pride in our home and the services we provide to our residents. We are looking to hire people who share our passion for respectful care, and whose values align with the Core Values C.A.R.E.S. (Compassion, Accountability, Respect, Excellence, and Safety),” says Delorey. “We are also looking for people who want to give back to their community.”

You can read the full article online here.

If you are interested in a career with the RK MacDonald, you can view the current job postings here: www.rkmacdonald.ca/category/current-opportunities

Visitation Update – October 7, 2021

Update for Oct. 7, 2021

Re: Phase 5 Visitation Update

Dear Residents, family and Friends of the RK,

*New proof of vaccination required*

On Wednesday, September 29th, 2021, the Premier of Nova Scotia and Dr. Robert Strang announced a new government policy that will take effect Monday Octo. 4th , 2021. The new policy now requires mandatory vaccination for all staff and visitors to protect our most vulnerable populations form the Delta Variant of COVID-19.

Effective immediately:

  • All general visitors [family friends, volunteers, vendors, contractors, etc.] to the RK MacDonald Nursing Home must be doubly vaccinated and present proof of vaccination at the Screening Desk effective Oct. 4th , 2021. All Designated Care Givers are required to be doubly vaccinated and present proof of vaccination effective Nov. 30th, 2021.
  • Residents may not leave the facility with visitors that are not fully vaccinated. This does not include designated care givers.
  • All LTC residents throughout the province may leave their facility to participate in activities in the community. All residents may attend overnight visits except when the overnight visit will occur in the central zone. This means residents of any zone (including central zone) may attend overnight visits that occur outside the central zone.
  • Medical masks continue to be mandatory for all visitors, designated care givers and staff. At all times during the visit, visitors must ensure the mask covers their mouth and nose. If staff notice your mask is not covering your face, they will say “mask up please” as a reminder.

This government policy applies to various sectors in Nova Scotia. More specifically, it includes all workers, professionals and volunteers in licensed and unlicensed long term care facilities and it also applies to all visitors entering long term care facilities.  However, if you have NOT received a COVID-19 vaccine OR have only received one dose of any two-dose COVID-19 regime then you are not fully vaccinated and, unfortunately, are not be permitted to enter the RK.

As a Home, we recognize the importance of family and friends as a key component in quality of life. However, respecting safety as a core value here at the RK, our number one priority remains the safety of our residents and our staff. We ask for your patience and cooperation with these new public health measures.

Stay safe, get vaccinated and follow basic public health measures – we’ll be okay!

Visitation Update – July 2, 2021

Dear Residents, Family and Friends of RK MacDonald

There were further easing of restrictions in LTC at the June 30, 2021 announcement. There are a number of different regulations we must continue to follow. Restrictions have eased but Public Health measures have not. The Delta variant is in the province. Our experience with the UK variant tells us the new strains can quickly take hold.

Please wear your mask properly at all times on the property– inside and outside. Residents live communally and exposure for one person has the potential to affect everyone. We have to remain committed and vigilant to keeping each other virus free.

Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Get fully vaccinated. Encourage loved ones to get fully vaccinated. Don’t visit with cold symptoms. Don’t visit if you have a close contact who has cold symptoms/awaiting testing results. Get regular asymptomatic testing.

It is also imperative that anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms and/or tests positive within two weeks of their visit to the facility, notifies the facility immediately to ensure we take the necessary precautions here.

Based on staffing availability, we are now booking indoor and outdoor visits seven days a week. Please call 902-870-3458 to book an appointment. Residents can have 3-5 visitors at one time.  Visitors must be screened prior to the visit.

For residents who are fully immunized against COVID-19:

Indoor visits:

  • Are available in designated visitation areas and in resident rooms.
  • We are only able to accommodate 2 visitors indoors at a time.
  • Scheduling is required. Book your appointment by calling 902-870-3458
  • Visitors must be screened prior to entry into the Home.
  • Residents are encouraged, but are not required, to wear a mask and physically distance from their visitor(s).
  • Indoor visits are scheduled for 30 minutes.
  • These Indoor visits are in addition to visitation from Designated Care providers.
  • Maximum number of visitors indoors is 4 per resident. If that number is exceeded- especially in semi-private bedrooms, staff will support finding alternative visiting spaces inside or on the grounds. We ask for your cooperation and flexibility to ensure we can accommodate visits indoors.
  • Indoor visits will begin on Monday, July 5, 2021 between 11:00 am-4:30pm. As noted they must be pre-booked.

Outdoor Visits:

  • Are available in designated areas outside
  • Outdoor visits can accommodate 3-5 people at one time.
  • Scheduling is required. Book your appointment by calling 902-870-3458
  • If the visitor(s) are wearing a mask, social distance is not required. If the visitor(s) are unmasked, social distancing is required.
  • Visits are scheduled for 30 minutes.
  • Visitors must be screened prior to the visit.

Full community access is now permitted for residents who are fully vaccinated.

  • Designated Caregivers are able to accompany residents to retail stores, restaurants, banks, etc.
  • Those residents who remain independent, may access the community unaccompanied.
  • The Team Lead RN/LPN in the care area must be notified of the outing- ideally in advance, to ensure residents are prepared to go out.
  • A sign-out/sign-in book will be available in the front lobby.

For residents who are partially immunized or not immunized against COVID-19,

Outdoor Visits

  • The resident can have 3-5 visitors outside.
  • Visits outdoors without physical distancing are now permitted.
  • Residents are encouraged, but are not required, to wear a mask. Visitors must wear a mask.
  • The visitor and the resident may hug, touch, or exchange a handshake during an outdoor visit.
  • Residents may now access outdoor public areas such as boardwalks, parks, etc. The resident must maintain physical distancing (except with their Designated Caregiver or support person accompanying them).
  • Partially or unimmunized residents are not permitted to come into contact with others during the outing and are not able to access restaurants, banks, stores etc at this time.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health determines what can or cannot happen in each phase of lifting restrictions, with advice from the Department of Health and Wellness, Public Health, Infection Prevention and Control, and Continuing Care. The foundation of decision-making is rooted in clinical and public health evidence, and considers factors including COVID-19 activity, vaccination rates, and an understanding of the unique needs of our long-term care residents. As always, it will take us several days to adapt to the increased visitation. There continue to be a number of safeguards and monitoring required on the part of the facility.

We are inching through this and making progress. Thank you for your ongoing patience and support as we continue to ease restrictions.



Pan Pal Project a Great Success With Residents

The RK MacDonald Nursing Home is delighted to see its residents connecting with local students. During a time when so many of us feel isolated already, the burden on our residents has been even higher as public health measures have often resulted in visits from loved ones being cancelled or postponed.

A recent article in Saltwire covers the wonderful relationship between the students and our residents.

A pen pal project at Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional High School has allowed students to connect with senior citizens in the community.

Students in Mrs. Synishin’s Grade 12 health and human services class were tasked with the assignment of writing letters to residents of the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home.

“I was pleasantly surprised with how much the Grade 12s loved it,” said Synishin. “One sort of incidental thing that they learned that a lot of them didn’t know was just the art of writing a personal letter … and practicing their cursive writing was a big deal because I wasn’t gonna let them email. I said it has to be a generational thing where you’re personally writing a letter to someone.”

Read the full article on the Saltwire website here.

Phase II Visitation Rules

June 16, 2021

As always the easing of restrictions is exciting and while the highlights are announced, often the details are not. New easing of restrictions means increased access to visitors and the community, but the Public Health measures have not eased. Wash your hands, wear a mask, physically distance, and don’t visit if you’re sick. Getting asymptomatic testing done, getting vaccinated, and disinfecting high touch surfaces are also essential components for keeping each other well. The changes in the document are effective tomorrow, Thursday, June 17, 2021.

As we enter these new phases-please be gentle with the staff, particularly the screening staff. Rules for the broader community are not the same for Long Term Care. The rules we follow and have to enforce are mandated by the COVID-19 Management in LTC Facilities Directive under the Authority of the Chief Medical Officer of Health –June 7,2021which are posted on our website.

Here are the document highlights related to visits and outings:

When visitation occurs (as permitted within the Health Protection Act Order) in long term care facilities the following measures must be in place:

  • Visitor information must be logged, including name, contact information, date and time of attendance at the facility.
  • Visitors must be screened upon arrival and be asymptomatic
  • Environmental cleaning of surfaces in the designated visiting areas occurs before and after each visit.
  • Visitors, DCP’s and volunteers are not permitted to enter the facility or grounds if they are under a requirement to self-isolate (due to travel, awaiting for results of COVID-19 testing , due to contact with a COVID-19 case, are currently ill with COVID-19 or for other reasons).
  • In addition to the requirements listed above, for outdoor social visits, visitors must wear a medical or non –medical mask during the visit.
  • In addition to the requirements listed above, for indoor social visits, visitors must wear a medical mask during the visit.
  • Outdoor visits are permitted for all residents. Outdoor visits without physical distancing is permitted for fully immunized residents only, and all visitors must be masked.
  • 2 DCP’s can visit a resident at the same time


NOTE: Volunteers and DCP’s are not required to maintain a physical distance of 2 meters /6 feet while performing care related tasks.



Residents can go offsite with the DCPs or facility support person and access local parks, trails etc as able. They should not have contact with community members without wearing a mask.

Residents who are able, are permitted to go offsite to access trails, parks etc. alone if it is mutually agreeable between resident and the facility.



As residents are not able to leave the vehicle while on an outing, we suggest a 60-90 minute maximum time frame. Those requesting longer outings will be redirected to a senior leader to discuss.  Residents are still not able to have access to community members or loved ones while out- we expect more freedoms in phase three and four.

The following measures are required for care outings:

  • The vehicle is cleaned and disinfected prior to and after each trip/outing.
  • The driver (DCP) is screened as per facility protocols and must be asymptomatic.
  • Residents are not permitted to get out of the vehicle during the trip/outing.
  • Hand hygiene must occur prior to and after the trip/outing.
  • Trip/outing information must be logged, including the DCP information, date and time of trip/outing.
  • Overnight visits are not permitted at this time



In order to manage screening, supervising outdoor visits and daily deliveries we are also making the following changes:

  • Non-perishable items will be delivered once daily (around 2pm).
  • DCPs are welcome to drop off items in the care areas during visiting hours.
  • Meal drop off– We are finding that there are times meal drop offs come after mealtime has started in the care areas. In order to get meals to the residents before the scheduled meal times, we suggest the following drop off times:
    • Breakfast: Between 8:00am and 8:15 am
    • Lunch between: Between 11:30am-11:45am
    • Supper/Dinner: Between 4:00pm-4:15pm

We have streamlined the DCP and outdoor visits screening, but we must still collect the necessary information.

Here is a list of expected phases and the associated loosening of restrictions. Please remember, lifting and loosening restrictions does not mean Public Health measures are changing. Subject to change*****

(Click to enlarge)

I know it’s a lot of information to absorb. As you can see, there are many details we are required to follow as we move through the new phases.

We are almost there! We have accomplished and endured a lot over the past 15 months. We can finish strong!! Vaccinations have been key to our growing freedoms, and Public Health measures continue to keep us open and safe.

Michelle Thompson