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