Family & Friends Update — June 25, 2020

Dear Family and Friends,

The COVID-19 crisis has been with us for more than three months now, and we are very thankful for the ways our Care Communities have worked so hard to keep everyone safe.

Today we’re letting you know about a few updates regarding long term care and BC’s Restart Plan; a communication to your loved ones who live with us; and about some other initiatives we’re proceeding with.

The following five items will be delivered as a letter to your loved ones, and shared with or read to them by our Activity Workers.

1.        Healthcare Personnel in Care Homes
Within the past two weeks, the Island Health Medical Health Officer told us that some healthcare personnel may come into our Care Homes again. People who are able to enter our Homes are:

  • Physicians
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Dieticians
  • Broadmead Care Management

Please be assured that anyone who enters any of our Care Homes is carefully screened before being allowed to come in.
As always, we will continue to follow direction from the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Island Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Richard Stanwick, as we do our very best to keep the coronavirus out, and keep all who live and work at Broadmead Care safe. Thank you for the ways you are helping us with this.

2.        PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
Guidelines around use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment such as face masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves) during the COVID-19 crisis have required a little more attention to these items. While we always have PPE on hand, we needed to ensure we had enough to meet the new guidelines. We want to assure you that we do have enough PPE to meet these guidelines in all our Care Homes.

3.        Safety for Residents and Staff
Safety is a top priority for us at Broadmead Care, and our new ‘Musculoskeletal Project’ (‘musculoskeletal’ – muscles and bones) will help us identify opportunities for improvement. For example, when staff move a resident using an overhead lift or sling, we want to be sure that both the resident’s and staff’s bodies (muscles and bones) are appropriately positioned and supported to prevent injury. This is just one of the ways we’re working hard to keep everyone safe.

4.        Visitors
The Provincial Health Officer has not yet lifted visitor restrictions. We know how important in-person visits are, and we are working hard to prepare for the time when we are able to welcome your family members and friends back into our Care Homes. We thank you for your kindness and understanding as we work to keep everyone who lives or works in our Homes safe.

5.        Keep Connected
We are delighted to see many of you receiving messages, photos, and videos from your family and friends through our Keep Connected program, or scheduling video calls on iPads, or enjoying window visits with your loved ones. Our staff are delighted to participate with you in these activities, and have found so much joy spending time with you. Since we began the program, we’ve shared more than 1,650 messages, photos, and videos with you!

We look forward to spending time sharing these items with your loved ones.

The following is information for you regarding BC’s move into Phase 3 of the Restart Plan, and how that affects long term care homes.

Essential Visitor FAQs
You may have heard yesterday’s briefing by Premiere John Horgan and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and the announcement about entering Phase 3 of BC’s Restart Plan. We’d like to share some information with you vis-à-vis long term care homes and visitation.

What is the definition of an essential visitor?As per the Ministry of Health (MOH), Health Authorities shall continue to restrict visitors to essential visits only. Essential visits as defined by the MOH policy include but are not limited to:

  • Visits for compassionate care-including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end of life, and Medical Assistance in Dying;
  • Visits paramount to the patient/client’s physical care and mental well-being, including:
  • Assistance with feeding;
  • Assistance with mobility;
  • Assistance with personal care;
  • Communication assistance for persons with hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual or memory impairments;
  • Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities, including provision of emotional support; and
  • Visits for supported decision making; and,
  • Visitors required to move belongings in or out of a client’s room.

Why do there continue to be restrictions to visiting in long term care homes when the Province is entering into Phase 3 of BC’s Restart Plan?
On June 12, we wrote to you about the Province’s recently released guidelines that expanded the definition of essential visitor, as advised by the BC Centre for Disease Control. As then, the definition of essential visitor has not changed, and under Phase 3 of BC’s Restart Plan, the Chief Medical Health Officer has not lifted restrictions, in order to keep the most vulnerable of our population as safe as possible. We are, and will continue to, operate under those guidelines, as well as those of the Provincial Health Officer.

However, we are strongly advocating and planning for the day when families and friends will be welcomed back into long term care homes, and we very much look forward to the time when our doors will be opened to you.

What are the guidelines around an essential visit, once it has been approved?
We have had a stringent screening process in place since the pandemic began, and we will continue to diligently screen not only essential visitors, but all staff and any other person entering one of our Homes.As an approved essential visitor, you will be required to be screened upon entry by completing a questionnaire, performing hand hygiene, having your temperature taken, and donning a face mask, which we will provide. If your loved one is not in isolation, no additional PPE (personal protective equipment) is required. If your loved one is in isolation, PPE appropriate for the type of additional precautions will be provided for you. Visits should take place in your loved one’s room rather than common areas.

Are volunteers allowed into your Care Homes?
We miss our volunteers! Regretfully, at this time, we are unable to welcome you into our Homes. Volunteers will be invited back after non-essential visitors are permitted.

When will non-essential visits be permitted?
We know how important in-person visits are for you and for your loved one. Non-essential visits are being reviewed by the Ministry of Health and Medical Health Officers, and we anticipate that as a first step, non-essential visits will be allowed only in outdoor settings with appropriate physical distancing. The Ministry of Health is working on a guideline that will clarify expectations, and indicate when this might be allowed. In the meantime, each of our Care Homes is working on a plan to manage in-person visits, in anticipation of the day we are able to once more open our doors to you.

Family and Friends Newsletter

As we enter the summer months we will continue to provide updates to you on an as-needed basis, rather than on a regular schedule. Thank you for your kind attention, comments, questions, and kindness for our staff, and for the ways you and your loved ones have pulled with us as a community to meet the challenges of the past several weeks. We will continue work diligently to keep COVID-19 out of our Care Homes.