What’s New

New Visitation Changes-November 20, 2020

Dr. Strang made some changes to LTC restrictions today during the press conference at 1:30pm. A full directive will be received by facilities early next week, however effective Monday, November 23, 2020 the new restrictions will be implemented. Please see an excerpt from the provincial communication we received today:

Based on the latest available scientific evidence and expert opinion about COVID-19, the following changes will be implemented effective November 23, 2020.

  • Off site visits with family will be suspended province wide.
  • On site gatherings in Central Zone will be reduced to up to 5 people (including residents and staff) will be permitted.

All other previous changes will continue:

  • Indoor and outdoor visits will continue in LTC facilities.
  • LTC facilities permitted to use buses to take up to 10 people for “sightseeing” drives.
  • Designated caregivers will be able to continue to visit their loved ones and may also be Designated Drivers for the purpose of taking a resident out of the facility for a “sightseeing drive”, but no stops allowed. Masks must be worn by the DCP.
  • Any off-site medical appointments will continue, as will sightseeing trips on buses.
  • Zones outside of Central will continue to have on site gatherings for up to 10 people (including residents and staff)

Please note that additional guidelines and directives will be updated and released next week.

As the numbers rise in the province, our diligence is necessary to keep LTC residents safe and the facilities open to visitors. The Public Health measures are essential for all of us. The restrictions noted above are mandatory. Any residents taken off site and who leave the car, have people other than their DCP in the vehicle or if the DCP is not wearing a mask, will have their sightseeing drives suspended until such time that the DCP can develop a code of conduct with administration.

As we receive more information next week, we will share it with you.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Michelle Thompson CEO

Update on Family Visitation Rules

November 10th, 2020

Dear Residents, Friends and Family Members of R.K. MacDonald

As we continue to learn to live with COVID-19, I am reaching out today to remind everyone in the R.K. Community that we need to practice Public Health measures and follow visitation rules strictly.

For many of us, COVID-19 may just be a mild illness if we contract it, but we know from the experience in our province, the country and the world that COVID-19 has significant impacts in Long Term Care.

As a facility, we continue to follow all infection prevention and control practices, we have hired additional staff to screen visitors, assist with visits and we have also increased cleaning throughout the Home. These are all important steps, but these steps prevent the spread of illness. Our main goal is to keep COVID-19 out of the facility altogether. Given the recent spike in cases in Nova Scotia, we must work together to ensure the risk of exposure is minimal to residents and staff.

We are asking families to strictly abide by the visitation rules:

  • A non-medical mask must be worn to the door of RK MacDonald. Once inside, a medical mask will be provided for your visit.
  • Please wear a non-medical mask on RK grounds even if you are simply dropping something off at the door.
  • Good hand hygiene is essential.
  • Please answer all screening questions truthfully. If you are feeling poorly in any way, please reschedule your visit.
  •  If you have been in contact with anyone outside the Atlantic Bubble within the last 14 days, please call the Home for advice before you visit. This includes rotational and essential workers.
  • If you have someone in your home who has traveled from outside the Atlantic Bubble, you and your family must self-isolate for 14 days with that person.

Offsite visits

Offsite visits are of particular concern for us from an exposure perspective. We are watching the cluster of cases in Halifax very carefully and working closely with Public Health as well as discussing the situation with other Long Term Care administrators.

The following rules must be strictly adhered to:

  • All people who accompany the resident in the car should come to the facility for COVID-19 screening.
  • All people in the car must wear a non-medical mask while in the car. Residents can wear a mask but it is not mandatory
  • While in your home, you must not have more than 10 people (including the resident).
  • As above, if you have someone in your Home who is from outside the Atlantic Bubble, you must self-isolate and the resident cannot visit in your home.
  • If you have someone in your home who has travelled outside the Atlantic Bubble as an essential or rotational worker, please discus with the screening staff at RK MacDonald.
  • If you or anyone else involved in the visit has any cold symptoms, please reschedule the visit.
  • During your visit, we ask that you socially distance as much as possible, when this is not possible, we ask that you wear a mask.

The Public Health measures and the visitation rules and restrictions are enforced by staff, but they are not created by staff. We have seen an increased level of sarcasm and incivility towards staff by some visitors related to the visitation rules and restrictions. We have also had to speak to a number of visitors about following the visitation rules specifically related to the proper wearing of masks and visiting with other residents throughout the Home. In addition, we have been made aware that some offsite visitation rules have not been followed. Any visitors who are rude or unkind to staff or repeatedly not following the visitation rules will have their visits suspended until such time that these folks can work with Administration to agree on a code of conduct while on the premises or during offsite visits.

We are all trying to navigate these difficult times and we need to continue to work as a community to protect residents and staff from COVID-19. There is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and there is no treatment for the virus if it is contracted. We cannot underestimate this virus in our community and the impact it could have at R.K. MacDonald.

I understand that COVID-19 has been incredibly difficult for everyone- residents, families, staff, our community. I also understand many of us are tired of COVID-19 but as the physicians from the World Health Organization have said, the COVID-19 virus is not tired; “the only goal of a virus, is to infect people to make more virus.” COVID-19 is far from behind us.

What we do as individuals matters. We are counting on each other to follow the rules, take the Public Health measures seriously and follow the visitation rules strictly.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call me at 902-863-2578 ext 232 or email me at michelle.thompson@rkmacdonald.ca

Michelle Thompson

Guidelines – Off Site Visits with Family

Dear Friends and Family Members of RK MacDonald Nursing Home:

As you know, residents are now able to go offsite and spend time in family homes.
While cases are minimal in Nova Scotia and for some, it feels restrictions remain strict, it is imperative that we all continue to adhere to the Public Health measures. As a community, we are depending on each of you and your families to keep R.K. MacDonald residents and staff safe. We all have to trust one another to follow the same rules and be diligent in adhering to Public Health measures: washing hands frequently, wearing a non- medical mask when social distancing is not possible, staying 6 feet apart from others whenever possible (social distancing), good cough etiquette, cleaning high touch surfaces, not touching your face with unwashed hands. We all have the ability to keep our loved ones and ourselves safe.

The new outings/visits will take effect Thursday, October 1, 2020 at RK MacDonald. There are a few things family must do prior to taking their loved one out.

Click here to read the full post!

Full Guidelines can be found here.

Visitation Overview – September 17th, 2020

Please see the following information about the visitation that begins next week.

Prior to all visits, visitors must be screened using the provincial screening tool. This screening is a mandatory requirement from the Department of Health and Wellness & Public Health.

It is imperative that all visitors stay away from the RK MacDonald with the slightest cold or flu-like symptoms in order to support the safety of all.

Please click here to view the whole document.

Visitation Rules – Sept. 9th, 2020

Dear Family and Friends of RK MacDonald Nursing Home:

As you are aware, another announcement was made Tuesday regarding visitation in Long Term Care facilities in Nova Scotia.

We received the confirmation of these changes and accompanying regulations mid-afternoon on Friday, September 4, 2020.

We are in the process of organizing our resources to ensure that we follow the regulations as mandated to each facility. This will include reaching out to Residents and Substitute Decision Makers to identify designated care providers by the end of the week.

We are also in the process of developing a required education/training program for visitors as well as working through the directive details to ensure we have resources to pre-screen all visitors by phone prior to their visit. We are in the process of developing and ordering the necessary signage, developing the required education/training program and ensuring we have adequate hand washing/ hand sanitizing supplies and procedural masks for everyone.

Given the volume of people and the requirements to pre-screen and the cleaning that is mandated after the visit, we will begin with designated visitation times in care areas and for larger care areas, visitation for designated bed and room numbers as we need to take into account the double occupancy of many rooms as well as the requirement for physical distancing. This means that our capacity to support these visits will most likely translate to a weekly visit for one designated care provider in addition to the indoor/outdoor/virtual visits that are already occurring.

At this time, we are asking designated care providers to support their loved one’s well being by participating with preferred activities during visiting hours.

We will not be able to start visitation on Friday, September 11 as announced but are working diligently to get the necessary requirements and resources in place to support visitation as soon as possible. We know you are anxious to be with your loved ones and we are looking forward to having you back as well. We cannot permit visitation however, until all criteria in the directive are met and we determine how best to use our existing resources to support these enhanced visits.

We will continue with the visits-indoor, outdoor and virtual- booking through the Recreation Department.

We will have more information soon about how we can support the designated care provider and the role within the Home.

In the coming days, either the Resident or the Substitute Decision Maker will be contacted to identify two potential designated care providers. Emails and phone numbers will be collected for these individuals.

While the announcement is exciting, there are many logistics and considerations that must be met by the facility. We have included the document on the website for you to read if you would like.

Thank you for your continued patience.
Michelle Thompson

CCA (Continuing Care Assistant) Career

INTERESTED IN A CAREER AS A CCA (Continuing Care Assistant)?

Check us out!

We have immediately vacancies for this valuable role.

The Home is a rich and vibrant community that recognizes and appreciates the uniqueness of every person who lives and works here.  This uniqueness of spirit and character drives the life plan for our residents.  We strive to provide the best possible care and services to our clients and as a result, we are looking for people who genuinely care.

We are looking for candidates to fill vacancies who:

  • Have an interest in being a caregiver in a Health Care Environment
  • Is kind, caring and compassionate
  • Value’s align with the Core Values of the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home (C.A.R.E.S.)
  • Always wanted to become a Continuing Care Assistant
  • Is interested in working as part of a friendly, supportive and skilled team specifically in a Long Term Care setting
  • Worked in other careers or in the Home and looking for a rewarding Career Change
  • Is a PCW (PSW,HSW) currently working to have your credentials and skills recognized and want to be employed while working towards certification as a Continuing Care Assistant (CCA)
  • Do not hold a CCA certificate, but have been working in the role of a Personal Care Worker; Home Support Worker’; Long Term Care Assistant and other classifications
  • Are a graduate from a related Health and Human Services program such as : Social and Community Support; Social Services; Community Residential Worker; Human Services Worker; and are interested in obtaining your certification as a Continuing Care Assistant.

We can offer you:

  • Provide and invest in in-house education, employment opportunity, clinical mentorship, and assistance to collaborated with the PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment Recognition) Program at Health Association Nova Scotia (HANS) with support of DHW to support candidates to becoming Continuing Care Assistants – (Train and Work)
  • Comprehensive Benefit package including Pension contributions (NSHEPP), Vacation, Holiday, Sick benefits (upon completion of 528-hrs. probation period. Health Benefits: Health, Dental, Travel, life and Corporate rate to Good life Fitness.

If this sounds like you:

You can express your interest by submitting your cover letter and resume outlining your desire to become a CCA online at jobs@rkmacdonald.ca to the attention of the Human Resource Coordinator, R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home, 64 Pleasant Street, Antigonish NS. B2G 1W7

Update to Familys about New Visitation Rules

Dear Family and Friends of R.K. MacDonald:

Yesterday Dr. Strang and Premier MacNeil announced some changes to visitation in LTC facilities. We will be implementing the changes over the course of the next week. Many people have their visits booked next week and we will carry on with those visits as planned. If after reading the new guidelines you wish to consider an indoor visit, please reach out to Recreation. We will be hosting these visits in a designated area within the Home which we are setting up over the next couple of business day.

You will now be able to greet your loved one and say goodbye to your loved one with a brief hug or handshake providing you perform hand hygiene before and ensure you are wearing a mask. If hand hygiene is not performed or the mask is removed during the contact, the facility must reach out to Public Health for advice and direction related to potential isolation requirements, COVID testing requirements etc.

The new rules are as follows:

On-site visits are intended to support the emotional well-being of residents and are limited to the following restrictions:

  • One (1) identified family/social visitor, per resident, per visit for indoor visitation.
  • Up to five (5) visitors, per resident, per visit for outdoor visitation.

The following is an excerpt from the document “Guidelines for Visits, Hair Salons and Social Activities” we received yesterday after the announcement from Public Health and the Department of Health and Wellness. A copy of the full document is available on the website.

The approach for visitation (indoor and outdoor) are as followed :

  • Visits will be scheduled in advance between the visitor and facility. The number of visitors allowed within the facility will be guided by the level of risk for COVID-19 in the facility and Province, and will be limited to effectively support physical distancing practice while supporting meaningful social connection with the resident.
  • Staff must receive visitors in the designated waiting area upon arrival and accompany them to the designated visit area either on the grounds of or within the facility. Visitors should be received at the door or entrance to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into the facility, if possible.
  • Staff must screen all visitors for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 using the pre-screening tool (Appendix D). Visitors with signs or symptoms of COVID-19, as well as those in self-isolation or quarantine as required by Nova Scotia Health Protection Act Order, will not be permitted to visit.
  • Staff must instruct visitors to perform hand hygiene, practice respiratory etiquette, abide by physical distancing, and wear a mask during their visit. For outdoor visits only, once a visitor and resident are at the outdoor visiting area, if physical distancing can be maintained, the visitor’s and/or the resident’s mask may be safely removed, if the mask is negatively impacting communication. However, due to a number of factors dependent on individual facilities, staff, visitors and residents, the safety of this must be determined at the facility level. This can be done on a visit by visit basis, or through a facility-specific protocol on mask removal.
  • Staff must sign in and sign out all visitors using the facility’s established visitation log.
  •  Staff must direct visitors to the designated visitation space, check in periodically to ensure that restrictions are followed, and will accompany visitors in their exit from the facility immediately after their visit.
  • Staff must assist the resident with proper hand hygiene before and after each visitation.
  • Any furniture and surfaces used in visitation areas will be cleaned and disinfected as per NSHA Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Infection Prevention & Control for Long-Term Care Settings at the end of each visit. Time should be scheduled between visits to allow for cleaning and disinfecting and supporting in the movement of residents to and from the visiting areas.

It is important that facilities are able to provide safe oversight for visitation, which includes the provision of adequate staffing to provide visitor pre-screening at time of booking and screening upon arrival to facility, education on necessary Infection Prevention and Control procedures, monitoring of visitation, and sanitization of visiting spaces.

If families choose an Indoor visit- both the resident and the family member must wear medical grade masks and remain 6 feet apart for the duration of the visit. One will be provided for you.

If the visit is conducted outside, the resident and visitor may remove their masks providing physical distancing is maintained.

The full guidelines are posted on the website for people to read and review. I would encourage families to review these guidelines.

You will continue to book visits through the Recreation Department, as you are already doing and you can indicate if you would like to have an Indoor or outdoor visit based on the guidelines noted above. Indoor, outdoor, fence and virtual visits remain available.

Thank you for your continued cooperation as we work to uphold and implemented the guidelines outlined by Department of health and Wellness and Public Health.

Michelle Thompson
CEO R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home
64 Pleasant St, Antigonish, NS
B2G 2K9
Phone: 902-863-2578 ext 232
Email: mthompson@rkmacdonald.ca
Fax: 902-863-4437

Update to Visitation Policy

Family and Friends of The RK

As you are likely aware, the Nova Scotia Government announced on July 17, 2020 that long-term care facilities in the Province will be reopening to visitors. Premier McNeil highlighted that safety remains the priority during this reopening process.

The RK has allowed socially distanced outdoor visits on our grounds for several weeks. For the foreseeable future, we are keeping the outdoor visitation policy in place. As of right now, this visitation format is how we can best protect residents and staff while still allowing you to see and talk to your loved ones.

Effective Monday, July 27th, 2020 the following changes to the outdoor visitation policy will be implemented:

  • Continuation of scheduled outdoor visits that do not include touch.
  • Visitors are required to wear a non-medical mask when on the grounds of the RK. The masks may be removed during your scheduled visit as long as the mandatory 6 feet distance is maintained.
  • The maximum number of visitors per resident at one time is now five people.
  • Visitors must remain six feet from your loved one as well as the staff member supporting the visits- this will be strictly enforced.
  •  Visiting options include outside gazebo visits, fence visits, drive thru visits and virtual visits and all must be scheduled in advance.
  • As per the Public Health guidelines, all visitors must be screened, have their contact information collected, and visits must be supervised by a staff member.

Until we are able to develop further protocols and address additional issues, we are unable to further reduce the restrictions on these visits. We know you miss your family and we thank you for your ongoing support as we all work together to navigate these challenging circumstances. Safety has and will remain our top priority and we need to ensure proper procedures can be confidently put in place before we are able to open our doors to visitors.

We understand this may not be the news you were looking to receive. However, this is an incredibly difficult time for everyone involved, and we need to take steps to ensure the safety of our residents and the well-being of our staff and the organization.

If you have any questions regarding visits, please contact the Recreation Department at kim.macdonald@rkmacdonald.ca.

There is more information posted on our website. We have also posted the guidelines for “Resident Visitation, Hair Salons and Social Activities in LTC” as issued by Public Health and Department of Health and Wellness July 17, 2020. If you have any additional questions on policies and procedures currently in place, please contact: Cathy Brouwer at 902-863-2578 ext 233 and she will redirect your call to the appropriate person.

Yours truly,

Michelle Thompson

Link to original letter.

Visitation to LTC Update July 17,2020

We have been made aware of the announcement today from Premier McNeil regarding some of the restrictions being lifted for visitation at Long Term Care Homes across the province. We know that this is welcome news for many, however, we must stress that there are still several safeguards and procedures that need to be reviewed and implemented before we are able to open our doors to visitors.

Over the coming days, we will be doing our due diligence to review the requirements recently released by Public Health. Our main goal is to review the capacity of our staff to implement these changes that come with the lifting of visitor restrictions. We will have more information to share with families and the community in the coming days.

Our priority remains to keep the safety and protection of our residents, visitors and staff top of mind.

We know that you miss your family members and that they miss you as well. Our outdoor visiting policy remains in place and if you would like to speak with a staff member to set up a visit, please contact: the recreation Department at kim.macdonald@rkmacdonald.ca

We would like to thank everyone for their continued support has we all work together to navigate these challenging times.

Notice Regarding Family Visits

Please note that as of June 15th the new Family Visit Rules are available here.

We are preparing to welcome loved ones for outdoor visits beginning Thursday, June 18, 2020. There will be more information about the visits on the RK website on Monday, June 15, 2020; we anticipate the information will be added to the website between 3 & 4pm.  As the restrictions in NS and in Long Term Care loosen, RK MacDonald will be taking a very cautious approach. I know people are anxious to see one another again, but the reality of the effect of this virus on people in Long Term Care cannot be ignored; 82% of deaths in Canada related to COVID-19 have been linked to LTC facilities across the country. While as individuals we may feel our risk to others is minimal, we will be increasing the number of people on the property by up to 270 people per week if every resident has 2 visitors.

We are asking residents or their Substitute Decision Maker to designate two “in-person” visitors [must the same two people for all visits]  to visit their family member.  Window visits and virtual visits can continue for other families not identified as the “in person” visitors.

The Home will begin to facilitate outdoor visits in a couple of ways. Initially, some visits will be done as drive thru visits.  Residents will be sitting outside under a canopy and family members will enter our front roundabout driveway and remain in their vehicles. They will be 6 feet apart during the visit. Other residents will meet family members through the gates near their care areas. Again, spaces will marked off on either side of the gate to ensure social distancing is maintained. Staff will be available to assist with the outdoor visits. For some residents, it may still be best to continue to communicate with their  loved ones through window and virtual visits. We will decide this with the residents and/or family on a case by case basis. As per the Public Health Long Term Care guidelines, we feel that if physical distancing is strictly maintained, family members will not be required to wear masks (unless they choose to) in order to facilitate communication.

As the province and communities “open up”, we will regularly re-evaluate our processes and procedures and work safely and diligently to continue to connect residents and their loved ones. We are working on our procedures as well as securing human resources to support these visits to ensure they are both enjoyable and safe.

Final details will be released on Monday which will also include contact information to schedule your visit and/or speak to someone in Administration.

Thank you for your continued patience as we work through this extra-ordinary time.

Michelle Thompson