Do you ever wonder what a person with Dementia would think about regarding the COVID-19 pandemic? What exactly are they thinking about when they see their family and friends wearing a mask? What about when they think about the fact that they cannot go outside to public spaces or outings? Why is my family not visiting me? These are all questions that a person living with Dementia could be thinking about during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, a person living with Dementia may experience an increase in anxiety and/or confusion about the world around them. A person living with Dementia who is living in a Retirement or Long-Term Care home and is in isolation from their family and friends cannot properly understand all the precautionary measures taken during this time. The lack of visiting, going outdoors, and people wearing masks can impact their mental health and ability to socialize. This is why it is important to fully understand how to communicate and approach a person living with Dementia when you put on your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
In a health care setting, a person’s living with Dementia are likely unaware of current events and may have difficulty understanding the need for additional PPE & precautions in place. These extra precautions may be stressful for them because it is out of their normal daily routine. Once a person living with Dementia’s routine changes from their ordinary lifestyle, it can cause confusion and frustration for them. Normally, a person’s living with Dementia often rely on body language and facial expressions during interactions with another person, however, if they cannot see your mouth or your body language, this can affect them as well. This is why it is important to communicate properly with a person with Dementia even if you are wearing a lot of Personal Protection Equipment.
It is important to allow time for the person living with Dementia to process and understand who is approaching them. It may take additional time for them to understand what is being asked, and since a mask can cover up your mouth and distort their ability to understand or recognize your face, this could cause extra stress as well. It is always important to have direct eye contact with the person living with Dementia while communicating with them. When approaching them, remember to always use their name often when providing instructions to maintain their attention. If a person’s living with Dementia have questions surrounding precautions or PPE, provide simplified explanations so they can understand easily. Always remember to be mindful of your own non-verbal cues that the person’s living with Dementia may be responding to (body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions). It is important that you remain calm at all times. These are some important tips from the Alzheimer’s Society that you can take while communicating with a person in your life who is living with Dementia.
Marco Sanfilippo Marketing Specialist/Recreation Assistant
Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Bay Haven Care Community took precautionary measures to ensure that all residents and staff stay healthy and safe during these unprecedented times. Bay Haven Care Community is excited to announce that starting on Friday, June 26th, we will begin scheduled and supervised outside patio visits between residents and families. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) has issued strict guidelines to ensure safe family visiting takes place during this time. Please note that ALL of the following rules are extremely necessary before attending an outdoor patio visit. An outdoor patio visit cannot be scheduled unless all of the following criteria are met. If a visitor does not comply with these requirements, there will be immediate discontinuation for resident visiting.
Please read and adhere to the following Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care safeguards so we can maintain your family members safety.
1.All visits must be scheduled ahead of time and pre-screened over the phone.
The Bay Haven Care Community Recreation staff will make every effort to accommodate scheduling of visitors during regular visiting hours. Regular visiting hours will take place between 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM. To schedule a time, please call the Recreation Department at 705–445–6501 ext. 222 for Alivya on the Nursing Home side, or ext. 229 for Marco on the Retirement Home side.
2.Residents participating in the outside patio visit must be able to follow instructions.
All rules and instructions are placed for a reason. Everyone must be able to comply with the requirements for the outdoor patio visit. For those resident’s who’s current functional abilities prohibit compliance, or who are bed bound, a virtual or window visit will be scheduled. When you call to schedule the visit; Recreation staff can discuss options for you and your loved one.
3.All visitors must have a negative COVID-19 test result.
All visitors must have a negative COVID-19 test that has been conducted within the last 14 days. You can call Telehealth at 1 866–797–0000 and they will direct you to the nearest assessment centre for testing.
4.All visitors must pass an active screening questionnaire prior to the actual visit.
These active screening tools include having their temperature taken, attest that they are symptom free, have not been exposed to COVID-19 and have tested negative for COVID-19 within the last 14 days. Visitors must follow proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
5.Limit of one visitor per week to allow all residents the opportunity to visit with their loved one.
You will need to determine with your family members who this will be and how to plan your visits. At a later date and upon the home’s discretion supervised outdoor visits may increase from one visitor at a time to two or more. If visitors are adhering to current visiting protocols, resident safety will be maintained.
6.Visitors are responsible for bringing their own face covering for outside visits.
If a visitor forgets their medical mask or fabric face covering, Bay Have Care Community will provide you one. Visitors must wear the mask during the entire duration of their visit. Residents are not required to a wear face covering during the outside visit, but if they able to tolerate a mask, one will be provided.
7.All visitors will remain on the designated outdoor patio area during the visit.
When you arrive at the home, ring the doorbell and wait for Recreation staff to answer. Bay Haven Care Community is required to ask you a screening questionnaire. Both the resident and visiting family member must perform hand hygiene and maintain social distance of two metres.
8.All visitors should bring their own folding chair or lawn chair.
Please bring your own folding chairs or lawn chairs to the visit to stay comfortable outside. This will save the staff from having to disinfect surfaces after each visit and allow us to arrange for more visits.
9.The visits will be scheduled for a maximum of 30 minutes.
Please do not come early as we are trying to maintain social distancing between visiting families. Everyone is on a schedule, so we ask you to please coordinate your time properly.
10.The resident will remain 2 meters or 6 feet away.
All residents will be 2 meters or 6 feet away from the family member. Residents will be behind the table barrier. No items or gifts can be given directly to the residents. Staff will accept these gift items and follow our disinfecting protocols.
11. You must maintain a minimum distance of 2 metres / 6 feet from the resident and staff at all times.
We will bring the resident out to you and the staff member will return at the end of the visit to porter the resident back into the home. We know that it will be difficult to not hug or kiss your loved one, but it is necessary to ensure that no one unknowingly exposes our residents or staff to COVID-19. If these rules are not maintained and someone does come into contact with a resident, we are required by law to isolate the resident for 14 days post exposure. Please help us avoid this. Please maintain physical distancing by staying 2 metres / 6’ feet apart.
We understand that this is difficult for you and your family, but we feel it is necessary to allow these visits to happen safely. We are desperate for you and your resident to have these visits. Please help us by following these rule and guidelines. Any non-adherence to these rules will be the basis for discontinuation of future visits.
In the meantime, we will be evaluating the outdoor patio visits after the first few weeks. We welcome all feedback and encourage you to let us know how we can make these visit experiences better. Please feel free to share any comments or questions about all of the above rules and guidelines.
We are hopeful that this brings a bit of balance by ensuring our residents can see their family and loved ones in person while keeping safe as COVID-19 is still circulating in the community.
Please feel free to email or call us for any questions that you have and we will be happy to respond to you as soon as possible. Let’s work together to keep our residents healthy and COVID-free!
Thank you for your cooperation and stay healthy and safe!
In Ontario, the month of June is considered Seniors’ Month and is a time to reflect and celebrate all seniors from across the province. This year’s theme is “Stay Safe, Stay in Touch” and it focuses on keeping our seniors safe, connected, and engaged at their home during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Minister for Seniors and Accessibility Raymond Cho “As we take this opportunity to mark Seniors’ Month, we recognize that these are very challenging times for seniors as they continue to self-isolate due to the risk of COVID-19. Now more than ever, it is important that we come together to support our seniors and recognize and honour the knowledge, experience, and the contributions that seniors have made to build the province that we enjoy today.”
Let us make this month extra special for our seniors by showing them as much support and love as possible. If you have a senior in your life, or if you want to help out voluntarily, please take the time to reach out to them to ensure that they have what they need during this very difficult time. There are plenty of things you can do to stay in touch with seniors, you can give them a call over the phone or through FaceTime or Zoom, you could pick up some groceries for them so they can stock up their refrigerators’ so they have food, or you could safely see them through a window while visiting. Anything that you do to help or connect with a senior will increase their level of happiness, especially since most of them cannot leave their home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ontario Government has the highest regard for our seniors and they are committed to protecting and supporting them as much as possible. According to Raymond Cho “We are continuing to invest in almost 300 Seniors Active Living Centres which help seniors remain active and engaged in age-friendly communities.” Cho said that 175 of these programs are currently being offered remotely through teleconference, online videos, and one on one phone calls. These are all critical programs that help seniors stay connection while being at home. The Ontario Government also invested $11 million dollars to implement the Ontario Community Support Program, which is used to help coordinate meals, medicine, and other necessities to seniors across the province. Not only that, but the Ontario government is also developing a comprehensive Seniors’ Strategy which helps seniors remain healthy, active, and socially engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As you can see, the Ontario Government is doing a lot to support seniors during this most difficult time, and since June is Seniors’ Month, we should all be doing our part by reaching out to our seniors as well. At Bay Haven Care Community, the Recreation team conducts and designs programs that help stimulate seniors emotional, intellectual, physical, vocational, social, spiritual, and environmental well-beings to benefit the seniors lifestyle. This month, let’s stay safe and stay in touch together as we help our seniors cope through this pandemic lockdown.
Marketing Specialist/Recreation Assistant
Before you begin to read this article, you may be asking yourself, who is Teepa Snow? Teepa Snow is a leading trainer and consultant providing support and care that places the person living with dementia in a pivotal role when determining what is needed. Her goal is to help communities, agencies, organizations, professionals, and families to develop the awareness, knowledge, and skills needed to better support and care for someone living with dementia. Teepa Snow is the owner and CEO of Positive Approach to Care. Her organization provides training, services and products to help those who have dementia. Teepa Snow has successfully integrated her education, extremely varied work experiences, recent medical and international research, and her first-hand care experiences to be a major part of her companies’ program. All these tools are used to help people living with neurocognitive degeneration.
It is Teepa Snow’s mission to change the culture of dementia support and care throughout the world. Positive Approach to Care focuses on the best ways to approach and develop a relationship with a patient who has dementia. Relationships that are based on authenticity, empowerment, compassion, and curiosity. Teepa Snow believes that this mind-frame is important to everyone, because understanding a person who has dementia is the best way to get to truly know the person suffering with this disease. Teepa Snow had a conference held at Hawk Ridge Golf & Country Club near Orillia, Ontairo, and luckily, some staff at Bay Haven Care Community got to go and watch her lecture live. I happened to be one of those lucky employees, and believe me, it was such a fantastic experience. Teepa Snow went over so many different situations about people who have dementia. Her energetic personality and approach to people living with dementia was incredible to learn and see. Teepa Snow’s care strategies and techniques look at what is known about the brain function and all of the changes that happen with various conditions and then integrate all of that information with therapeutic approaches. She went over a bunch of topics related to the neurological functions of the brain and she told us how to put our caring and support to those with dementia into practice in a positive, loving, and rewarding way.
The conference went from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and breakfast and lunch were both provided! Not only that, every table represented the retirement/nursing home you worked at, so it was nice to have a Bay Haven Care Community table. Teepa Snow got everyone in attendance involved by making everyone participate in her techniques and approach to proper caring. It was very fun to be able to practice these techniques with your co-workers and be able to learn new things that we could all bring to our work. Teepa Snow is a phenomenal lecturer and I highly recommend everyone to go to one of her conferences whenever she is in Canada. Bellow are a couple links to her videos from YouTube.
Teepa Snow Discusses The Ten Early Signs of Dementia
Many Long-Term Care Homes across Ontario have established a dedicated family council within their homes. In these Family Councils, members have successfully set aside goals and aspirations to help improve the quality of life for their loved ones within the Long-Term Care Home. A Family Council is an organized, self-led, and self-determining group of people composed of family and friends of the residents living in the Long-Term Care Homes. The main purpose of a Family Council is to improve the quality of life for Long-Term Care residents and to give families and friends a forum for sharing their experiences, leanings, and other valuable information within the home. A Family Council works together with residents’ family members, friends, and the Long-Term Care Home to identify and resolve any issues that affect the resident’s quality of life.
Here are some examples of what Family Council have accomplished with other Ontario Long-Term Care Homes in the past:
Members of one Family Council advocated for new doors in the Alzheimer unit to improve resident safety.
Air-conditioning was installed in one Home at a Family Council’s recommendation.
Family Council worked with a local municipality to include curb ramps around the building of their Long-Term Care Home so residents using wheelchairs could leave the property.
Some of the benefits of having a Family Council in your Long-Term Care Home is that it allows families to give each other ongoing mutual support and encouragement by sharing thoughts and feelings with others who also have relatives in a Long-Term Care Home. Not only that, a Family Council provides an opportunity to become knowledgeable about the Long-Term Care Home’s operations, policies, and rules. This can be especially helpful for families of new residents in the home.
Starting in June 2019, Bay Haven Care Community began a Family Council. So far, our Family Council is small, but we would like to increase the number of participants as much as possible! Each Family Council at a Long-Term Care Home is unique to that individual Home; however, they all share the same goals and aspirations, and that is to provide additional care for your loved ones.
To promote and raise awareness for Bay Haven’s Family Council, we will be hosting a tea social on Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 at 6:00 PM at the Recreation Room in the Long-Term Care side of Bay Haven. At this social, there will be a PowerPoint presentation explaining more about Family Council and what it means to us. We will also be giving a tutorial on how to navigate the Bay Haven Facebook Page. This social will be a great way to introduce potential new members our Family Council at Bay Haven. At this social, you will be learning more about our goal to create a well-established Family Council at Bay Haven, our mission, and the date and time for the next upcoming meeting. We highly recommend and encourage all current resident family members to attend our event.
If you have any relatives in Bay Haven’s Long-Term Care Home and would like to volunteer your time to be part of our Family Council, please contact Bay Haven Care Community at (705)-445-6501 and ask for either April Lawson (Recreation Manager) or Marco Sanfilippo (Marketing Specialist) for more information. Do not forget to attend our tea social to meet us and learn more about Family Council at Bay Haven.
NOTE: Since Bay Haven is under an outbreak, we may have to postpone our social to another date. We will update everyone once the outbreak is gone.
Marco Sanfilippo – Marketing Specialist/Recreation Assistant.