Update on Family Visitation Rules

Nov 10, 2020

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