What’s New

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

June 1st Update to Visitation Rules

Good Afternoon All:

There have been a few important changes to visitation.

Designated Care Providers:

Effective Wednesday, June 2 at 11:00 am-:

  • DCPs can visit daily between 11:00am and 5:00pm.
  • Both DCPs can now visit together regardless of where they live.
  • DCPs are deemed essential and can visit from anywhere in the province.
  • DCPs continue to be screened as they have been in the past when they come for their visit.

Outdoor visits will resume.

We will resume outdoor visits for residents who are fully vaccinated on Friday, June 4, 2021.

  • Outdoor visits will be hosted in the gazebo on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 am-5:00pm.
  • Residents can have 3-5 visitors- friends or family during their visit.
  • Visitors over the age of 2 years must wear a mask.
  • Visitors who are wearing a mask do not need to physically distance from the resident- this means you can give your loved one a hug and sit closer than 6 feet apart while you visit. Your nose and mouth must be covered by your mask during the entire visit.
  • If you remove your mask to communicate with your loved one, then you must remain 6 feet apart.
  • Visitors will be screened at the time of their visit in the gazebo by staff prior to the visit.
  • Do not visit if you have a fever or cough, cold or flu symptoms or if you or someone in your home is required to self-isolate or awaiting a COVID test result.
  • Your visit will be supported by a staff member and we ask that visitors be respectful and follow the rules.

Outdoor visits must be booked by emailing rkmacdonaldnursinghomevisits@gmail.com or by calling 902-870-3458.


  • Licensed hairdressers can resume services to residents who are fully vaccinated on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. Hairdressers must wear a medical mask.


Visitation Update – March 31st, 2021

Dear Family and Friends of RK MacDonald:

Please see the following update regarding our visitation restrictions. You will notice that there is an updated email address and phone number in order to book Indoor visits.

  1. DCPs may visit in the room with the resident on their regularly scheduled days- Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday downstairs and Wednesday, Friday Sunday on second floor. Visitation hours are from 11:00am-5:00pm. DCPs who live in the same home may visit together, otherwise, visitors are unable to visit at the same time. This is unchanged.
  2. There are no restrictions on DCP visits related to geography. If travel restrictions are implemented in the province, we will revisit this.
  3. Family and friends may visit with residents in the Chapel on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These visits must be pre-booked. There can be up to 3 people in each group visiting with a resident in the chapel. Both the resident and visitors must wear masks and remain 6 feet apart. Visits can now be made by phoning 902-870-3458 – and email is rkmacdonaldnursinghomevisits@gmail.com
  4. Residents are able to go for a drive with their DCP. There can be no stops including drive thrus or driveway/parking lot visitations with others. DCPs must wear masks at all times during the outing.

DCP visits:

Ideally DCP visits will occur in residents rooms, or in one of the gardens- weather permitting, however we know that for some residents, meaningful visits require that DCPs walk with Residents in common areas. The necessity of this is to ensure that we can accommodate social distancing between DCPs and residents. DCPs must wear their mask at all times, cannot eat or drink with their loved one, and the bedroom doors must remain open. PLEASE do not visit if you have a new cough or fever, or have any cold symptoms- rather book a COVID test, and reschedule your visit once your COVID test has come back negative and your symptoms have resolved.


Please pre-book your drives as before with the staff at the screening desk.

While we are encouraged and hopeful now that many of us are vaccinated, we still have residents, staff and DCPs who are new to the community and not yet vaccinated or have a medical reason that does not allow them to be vaccinated. I understand that the restrictions are wearisome for many, but the cost of letting our guard down is far too high. We must continue to work together as a community and adhere to Public Health measures.

Public Health measures keep us all safe. Please socially distance from other residents and DCPs, keep your nose and mouth under your mask, use your hand sanitizer often and please DO NOT VISIT if you have cold symptoms or have been around somebody waiting for a COVID test/ is symptomatic.

We will be in touch very soon to get the second consent for resident vaccination from the Substitute Decision makers in preparation for the second dose of vaccine. We plan to give the vaccine to residents on April 14, 2021.

DCPs will receive their second dose of vaccine on April 17, 2021. We will be calling soon to book your second appointment.

Michelle Thompson
CEO R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home
64 Pleasant St, Antigonish, NS
B2G 2K9
Phone: 902-863-2578 ext 232

Designated Care Providers Notice – Feb 26 2021

To: RK MacDonald Nursing Home – Designated Care Providers

We all know COVID-19 is never far away and we need to continue to be extra vigilant as we await vaccination for our residents. In response to growing concerns pertaining to the additional COVID-19 related restrictions being  applied to Halifax, Hants and Lunenburg Counties, the RK requests:

  • Those DCP’s and Chapel visitors that have travelled to Halifax, Hants or Lunenburg County within the past 10 days are asked to please get tested and await test results before visiting the Home
  • Those DCP’s that live in Halifax, Hants or Lunenburg Counties are asked to not visit the Home until the present restrictions on those Counties have been lifted by Public Health.
  • Exceptions for compassionate reasons will continue to be addressed on a case by case basis
  • Offsite outings for non-medical/dental reasons are discontinued for two weeks

Updates can be reviewed at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/


Christmas Visitiation – Dec. 17th, 2020

Christmas Visitiation – December 17th, 2020

Dear Friends and Family of RK MacDonald,

Yesterday, Dr.Strang made an announcement regarding LTC visitation in Nova Scotia. As he mentioned, each nursing home will implement the new directives according to their resources. We will be implementing the following visitation effective Monday, December 21, 2020:

Designated Care Providers

  • Increase visits to two Designated Care Providers for residents on the assigned days of the week. (Tanglewood, Thistledown and Cobblestone-Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday from 11:00am-5:00pm and Martha’s Inn and MapleRidge/Brambleberry Wednesday, Friday, Sunday from 11:00am-5:00pm)
  •  If both DCPs live in the same home, they may now visit their loved one together.
  • Designated Care Providers must complete the Infection Prevention and Control education prior to visiting their loved ones, if they have not already done so.
  • If the DCP for your loved one has changed, please contact Kim MacDonald at 902-863-2578 ext. 245 or Michelle Cleary at ext. 256
  • Masks must be worn (always covering the nose and mouth) at all times during the visit- no exceptions; family members are not able to eat or drink with residents during the visit
  • Bedroom doors must remain open for entire visit
  • We ask that DCPs socially distance from other residents and visitors during their visit

Indoor Visits

Indoor visits may resume in the Chapel. These appointments must be booked through recreation as before. (kim.macdonald@rkmacdonald.ca or at 863-2578 ext.245)

  • Visitors must wear a medical mask for the duration of the visit- the mask must cover the nose and mouth and cannot be removed to eat or drink
  • A brief hug is allowed at the beginning and the end of each visit.
  • Appointments must be monitored by staff for compliance of Public Health measures
  • Indoor visits are available December 21-23 and December 28-30 over the holiday period. Visits in the new year will begin the first week of January

Offsite visits

There will be no offsite visitation permitted over the holiday season.

Christmas Visitation

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, DCPS from all care areas may visit between 11:00 am-5:00pm. Ideally, one DCP would visit one day and the other DCP would visit the opposite day, or one DCP can visit both days. While we want to provide opportunity for visits, we also need to be aware of the congestion in the home and number of visitors in addition to staff and resident. We also ask that visitors socially distance.

We will return to the regular DCP visitation schedule on December 26 as noted above.
While the visitation has resumed, we must continue to be vigilant protecting residents and staff from COVID-19. Please do not visit if you have any cold symptoms, been in contact with anyone waiting for a COVID-19 swab or results, or have travelled outside the Atlantic Bubble in the past 14 days.

We are asking that as a regular visitor here, you adhere strictly to the current provincial restrictions over the holiday season.

IN the New year, we will be sharing information with you regarding the Regional Care Unit and our COVID-19 response in the event we have a resident test positive for COVID-19. We will also share details regarding immunization plans as soon as they are available.

Despite the restrictions and reduced gathering sizes, may you enjoy the company of friends and family virtually if you can’t all be together. May the holiday season bring you hope and here’s to a healthy and COVID-19 immune 2021.


Updated Visitation Restrictions – Dec. 2nd, 2020

Yesterday Dr Strang announced that Designated Care Providers (DCPs) will be reduced to one (1) person in LTC facilities from two (2). Effective tomorrow, December 3, 2020 DCP visits will only be allowed for one (1) person. This person must be identified by either the resident or Substitute Decision Maker (SDM). The SDM should call 902- 870-3458 between 9:ooam and 5:oopm to provide the name of the DCP allowed to visit.

The restriction is in place to reduce the number of potential exposures in the facility and therefore will not be changed on a regular basis.

The DCP is also the only person who can take the resident out for drives. The rules for drives are unchanged.

In addition, Dr Strang made it very clear, that travel into and out of the restricted areas of HRM should be reduced to essential travel only. This was defined as necessary travel for work, school/education or medical appointments. Given that definition, visits will be restricted to compassionate visits only for family members living in the affected areas of the Halifax Regional Municipality. Residents loved ones should be pre-screened prior to travelling to ensure they are able to visit the Home.

Thank you,

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

Visitation Rules – Nov. 25th, 2020

November 25th, 2020 Update:

Dear Friends and Family of RK MacDonald:

Public Health has confirmed we are into the second wave of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. As predicted by other parts of the country and the world, the virus numbers increased quickly. Public Health has introduced new restrictions and guidelines for the province as well as LTC facilities. We are asking for your cooperation to protect residents and staff from COVD-19. The more diligent we are now, the greater the likelihood that we can prevent further restrictions before the holidays.

  1. All indoor visits will stop effective midnight tonight.
  2. Designated Care Providers are still able to visit, however we are asking that DCP’s who are from within the restricted areas in Halifax refrain from visiting until December 9, 2020- we will re-evaluate at that time.
  3. If you are a DCP from Halifax, we expect that you will adhere to the restrictions as per your region should you continue to visit.
  4. We are asking DCPs to limit offsite drives with residents until December 9, 2020. We will re-evaluate at that time.
  5. We ask all DCP to consider their degree of risk before coming to the Home. As always, we are able to answer questions and have a conversation with you regarding your risk if you would like to speak to someone directly. Please call us at 902-863-2578 ext 233 and Cathy or
  6. Jennifer will direct your call to the appropriate person.
  7. Please notify us prior to your visit if you have been at one of the exposure sites listed in the daily advisories from Public Health.

When you visit the facility:

  • Non-medical masks are required on the property as we are a public place; this is part of the Public Health order. DO NOT come to the door of the Home unmasked.
  • Your nose and mouth must remain under your mask at all times. Do not pull your mask down to speak to others.
  • Brief hugs are allowed if visitors are wearing a medical mask. Any resident exposures to visitors not wearing masks must be reported to Public Health and may result in a resident being isolated and the visitor be swabbed for COVID-19.
  • Bedroom doors are to remain open during visits.
  • Visitors are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke with the residents during the visits.
  • While most residents are able to enjoy visits with family in their rooms, other residents may require that their family member visit with them as they walk outside of their room. We ask for visitors’ patience and understanding if alternative visits are required for some residents.
  • Wash your hands, socially distance form staff and residents wherever possible, wear your mask, practice good cough and sneeze etiquette, keep gathering limits to 10 people.
  • PLEASE DO NOT VISIT if you are feeling unwell. Do not visit if you have a fever or a new or worsening cough or two of the following symptoms- sore throat, runny nose, headache, shortness of breath

Car Rides – as noted above, we are asking that DCPs consider suspending drives with residents until December 9, 2020. In the event that a resident goes off site in a car for an appointment or drive the following must be followed:

  • Absolutely no home visits and no stops (including drive thru visits) during the outings.
  • Only the designated care provider can take the resident for a drive.
  • No one else can be in the car with the DCP and the resident- including meeting other family members and friends for a quick visit.
  • The DCP must wear a mask during the drive. A medical mask will be provided for your outing.
  • The DCP must come in for screening prior to the drive.

As Dr. Strang has said on many occasions in other contexts, please “stop looking for loopholes” when you visit or take your loved one out. The “rules” are in place to ensure residents and staff are safe and that residents and families can continue to visit. We have added front door screeners and housekeeping staff, but each person has a responsibility to follow the rules. We know the devastating effects of COVID 19 in Long Term Care facilities and these rules are in place to prevent the virus from entering the Home.

We are very hopeful that this recent increase in cases will resolve quickly and we will be able to reopen as a province and enjoy the Atlantic Bubble once again.

I also want to reassure you that we are reviewing plans and protocols, meeting daily as a staff and following guidelines to prepare our facility in the event that we do have COVID exposures or positive COVID cases. We are committed to doing our utmost to prevent and control an outbreak in our facility.

Click here to read the full guidelines.

Michelle Thompson CEO

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