Family Visitation

March 31st, 2021 Update:

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
  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.

February 26th, 2021 Update:

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 bases
  • Offsite outings for non-medical/dental reasons are discontinued for two weeks

Updates can be reviewed at:

Christmas Visitation – 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. ( 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.


December 2nd, 2020 Update:

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.


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

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 LTC guidelines.

Michelle Thompson CEO

November 20th Update:

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

Starting on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, visitation for the Designated Care provider will be increased.

If your family member lives downstairs, visitation will be on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. If your loved one lives upstairs, visits are Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Visiting time is from 11-5.

There will be no visitation on Monday, October 26th, 2020.

Effective Tuesday, October 27th, 2020 visitation for the Designated Care Providers will be increased.

  • There will be no visitation on Mondays.
  • If your loved one lives on the main floor (Tanglewood, Thistledown of Cobblestone), the Designated care providers can visit Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between 11:00am and 5:00 pm. Only one Designated Care Provider can visit at a time.
  • If your loved one lives on the second floor (Maple Ridge, Brambleberry or Martha’s), the Designated Care Providers can visit Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00pm. Only one Designated Care Provider can visit at a time.
  • Having scheduled days, allows the Home to add additional cleaning staff to the Home to ensure high touch areas are cleaned. In addition, the screening is essential and mandated by government so people are required to be screened at the beginning of every visit. Lastly, to ensure we support social distancing and keep the foot traffic flow through the building at a reasonable level, it is necessary to schedule visitation.

Indoor Visits:

  • Indoor visits are unchanged.
  • The Resident or Substitute Decision maker may choose three (3) indoor visitors in addition to the Designated Care Providers who can visit their loved one. The list of three should be emailed to
  • Indoor visits will take place outside of the care areas and must be monitored by a staff member.
  • The resident and the visitor are required to wear masks during the indoor visit as per the Public Health Directives.
  •  Indoor visits must be scheduled through recreation- calling 902-863-2578 ext 245 or by emailing

Gazebo Visits:

  • We have found that as the Fall progresses, many residents are minding the outdoor visits. Due to the changing weather, the gazebo visits will no longer be routinely scheduled


Loved ones are able to take the Residents off site for drives and visits in private homes. The following are the requirements for off-site outings:

  • Family members are required to be screened prior to the outing
  • Limit the number of people in the car with the resident during travel. The loved one(s) in the car must wear a non-medical mask. The resident is encouraged to wear a mask, but it is not mandatory.
  • Residents are not able to go into public spaces such as restaurants, stores, banks, etc.
  • While in the private home, family members are asked to wear masks when they cannot physically distance from the resident
  • There should be no more than 10 people in the private home during the resident visit
  • No overnight visits are currently allowed

Outings can be booked by calling 902-870-3458


Guidelines for Resident Visits with Family in their Homes for Long Term Care Facilities in Nova Scotia

September 28, 2020

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:

  • Your outing must be pre-booked with staff. We ask that you book the date and time of pick up and approximate time of return at least two (2) days in advance. This allows staff to ensure the resident is prepared for the outing-including taking any accompanying medications and/or supplies on the outing.
  • Staff cannot assist residents in and out of cars. This means that only those residents who can transfer independently or with minimal assistance from family can travel in private cars. Those folks with higher mobility needs (two person assist or who require a mechanical lift) are at a very high risk of falling and/or injury if transferred into a car and it places the people who are transferring the residents at high risk of injury. Options for residents with limited mobility include Antigonish Transit (902-867-0411).
  • The documentation from the Department of Health and Wellness indicates that anyone in the car with the resident must wear a non-medical mask. Residents will be provided with a medical mask, however wearing this is encouraged but not mandatory.
  • We ask that there are limited number of people in the vehicle during transportation.
  • The vehicle must have high touch surfaces disinfected prior to the resident travelling in the vehicle. Please see the tip sheet regarding how best to do this. Please be advised some cleaners can damage car interiors therefore it is important to pay special attention to the disinfectants you choose.
  • The driver and vehicle occupants must be screened prior the planned outing.
  • While out, family members must wear a non-medical mask any time they are within 6 feet of the resident, practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette, ensure high touch surfaces are wiped in advance of the visit, and that gathering sizes be strictly adhered to(less than 10 people including the resident).
  • Anyone who has travelled outside the Atlantic bubble in the 14 days prior to the resident’s visit, including those who have had work related travel, must not come in contact with the resident. Residents in contact with people from outside the Atlantic Bubble may be placed on isolation for 14 days; this will be done in collaboration with Public Health.
  • Please cancel your visit/outing if you are experiencing any cold or flu symptoms.

How do I book an appointment?

If you would like to take our loved one out, please call 902-870-3458 between 10:00 am and 6:00pm daily. This line is staffed daily; however, the person answering the calls is also supporting Designated Care Providers and running errands to the care areas. If no one answers, please leave a message and someone will return the call. Your name, number date and time of visit will be taken. Either the ward clerk or the RN/LPN will return your call within 24 hours to discuss and/or confirm your outing.

It is encouraged to book your visit well in advance to allow the logistics to be taken care of. If you require alternative transportation using community transit options, please reach out to them first to learn more about their availability and cost of transfer prior to calling the facility.

Are residents able to go to public places?

Not at this time. If you and your loved one go for a drive, we ask that residents do not visit public places such as restaurants, stores, etc. At this time visits are only in private homes where gathering limits are strictly observed.

Full list of guidelines are available here.


Visitation Overview for Residents, Family Members and Staff – 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 see the attached overview of visitation options:

Outdoor Visits

Gazebo and Fence Visits:

  • All visits Scheduled through Recreation.
  • Up to five (5) visitors can attend the visits.
  • A brief hug or handshake at the beginning and end of the visits is allowed, however the visitor must be wearing a mask
  • Residents and visitors must maintain physical distance of six (6) feet during the visits
  • During the visits, neither the visitor or resident require a mask as long as physical distancing is maintained.
  • The visit must be monitored by a staff member.

Indoor Visits:

  • All visits scheduled through Recreation.
  • The Resident or Substitute Decision Maker can identify three (3) people who can visit the resident indoors.
  • These visits will not happen in the care area.
  • Only one visitor is permitted per visit.
  • A brief hug or handshake at the beginning and end of the visits is allowed, however the visitor must be wearing a mask
  • Both the Resident and Visitor must wear a medical mask for the duration of the indoor visit.
  • If the Indoor visitor is also the designated care provider, the resident will not be required to wear a mask during the Indoor visit.
  • Physical distancing of six (6) feet must be maintained for the duration of the visit.
  • The visit must be monitored by a staff member.

Designated Care Providers:

  • Residents or the Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) can identify two (2) Designated Care Providers (DCP) to visit in the resident’s room.
  • At this time, the role of the DCP is to provide social and emotional support, assist with mealtimes if you’d like to, spend time outside, etc. We do not expect DCP’s to provide personal care at this time unless this is something the DCP wishes to do or has done in the past.
  • Only one (1) DCP may visit at a time. There are currently no exceptions to this rule.
  • The Designated Care Provider (DCP) must have infection prevention and control education prior to the initial visit (provided by RK MacDonald)
  • The DCP must wear a medical mask properly for the entire visit-both inside and outside the facility.
  • Due to the volume of visitors, care areas will have designated visitation days.
  • Visiting hours will be from 11:00 am to 5:00pm.
  • The DCP can spend time in the resident’s room or can enjoy the Garden area on College Street (entrance directly across from Thistledown Cottage). As per the directive, we ask that DCP and residents limit their movement around the facility.
  • There may be circumstances in which staying in a room is not possible for some residents. Staff will work with the DCP to support a meaningful visit in the best way possible.
  • DCP and residents are not able to visit other care areas or other residents, however are able to travel through a different care area when going to and from the Garden.
  • DCP are welcome to visit at any time during visiting hours-no appointment is required, however we do ask that the DCP plan for one visit per session rather than coming in and out several times per day.
  • DCP’s must maintain physical distance from all other residents.

Visitation Schedule

Because Tanglewood and Maple Ridge have semi-private rooms, we will be offering two separate visitation days to support physical distancing. Please look carefully at the visitation days to ensure you are attending on the scheduled day. If you are unsure about which day you should visit, please call 902-870-3458.

  • Monday: Martha’s Inn. All rooms
  • Tuesday: Tanglewood. Visits for all residents in semi-private rooms whose bed is by the window and for private rooms from 127-132.
  • Wednesday: Tanglewood. Visits for all residents in semi-private rooms whose bed is by the door and for private rooms from 133-137. 
  • Thursday: Maple Ridge/Brambleberry: Visits for those residents in semi-private rooms whose bed is by the window and for private rooms from 201-215.
  • Friday: MapleRidge/Brambleberry for those residents who are in a semi-private room and whose bed is by the door and for private rooms 216-236.
  • Saturday: Thistledown and Cobblestone Cottages. All rooms.

Residents and the DCP are welcome to enjoy the garden on College Street-access is across from Thistledown Cottage entrance. Signage will assist Residents and DCPs finding their way to and from the Garden.

We ask for your patience as we begin this new visitation process. There are a number of regulations that must be met. As with anything new, we will all get better at it as the days go by and if we are able, we will do what we can to increase visitation based on our available resources.

Infection Prevention and Control Education

For those of you that have provided an email address, Infection Prevention and Control educational material will be sent to you via email on Friday, September 18, 2020. This must be reviewed prior to your first visit. On the day of your first visit, we will discuss this education with you and answer any questions you may have.

For those of you who do not have email or would prefer “in person” education sessions, we will be offering in person education every day next week. We can only host 9 people at any given time.

Education sessions will take place at 1000, 1200 and 3:00pm Monday- Saturday next week. We will also host two evening sessions- Monday and Tuesday evening at 6:30pm if necessary. You must pre-register for the sessions to ensure we do not exceed groups of nine (9). Please pre-register by calling 902-870-3458 between the hours of 9:00am and 6:00pm daily.

Click on the image above to view the Visitation Brochure

Thank you for your continued patience as we implement these new changes.

Thank you.
Michelle Thompson CEO