Important Message From Dr. Gandhi

Dear Friends & Family of Bay Haven Care Community,

As the Medical Director of Bay Haven, I wanted to write to all of you to update you on some important new information about COVID-19.

As you are likely aware, Ontario is now firmly in the second wave of the seemingly never-ending COVID-19 pandemic.  As I write this, 99 out of 626 nursing homes in Ontario are in outbreak from COVID-19.  Thankfully, Bay Haven is not one of them.  I hope and pray that it will stay that it will stay that way, and that the other nursing homes get out of outbreak as soon as possible.

Our knowledge of the COVID-19 virus has increased significantly in the past few months.  We still don’t know everything about it, nor do we have a cure, but we can be better prepared than we were in the past.

We now know that the virus is largely spread by what’s called “aerosolized” means.  That’s to say that it is expelled by your mouth when you breath/talk/sing and floats in the air for a large period of time, thus spreading to others.  This is why wearing a mask is so important.  All of our staff and visitors have been required to wear masks for many months, in addition to all the other screening that we do.

With this knowledge, it is becoming more and more apparent of the need for high quality ventilation and air purifiers, particularly those with HEPA filters.  While the physical plant at Bay Haven is quite old, I am extremely grateful that the management of Bay Haven invested in HEPA air purifiers for all the large common areas, even before Health Canada updated their website to indicate the risk of airborne spread.  I applaud their commitment to keeping residents safe.

Additionally, there has been much speculation about the benefits of Magnesium, Zinc and Vitamin D in fighting viruses.  To be candid, the evidence for Magnesium is not that great.  Magnesium may kill viruses “in-vitro” – that’s to say, in a petri dish in a lab, but more study is needed to see how it works in a human body.  But at least it’s not harmful.

There is actually decent evidence that Zinc can help fight off viral infections.  Taking 25 mg of Zinc daily is not harmful and has benefits.

There’s been some evidence that Vitamin D can help fight viral infections for some years now. Recently however, a large clinical trial showed that people with low vitamin D levels were more likely to get COVID19.  It’s a very large trial, and the first one I am aware of where the benefits vitamin D were proven for one specific virus.

What can you do?

First, of course we ask that you abide by our visitor policies, that have been mandated by the Public Health Departments.  These policies are sometimes frustrating to follow, but they have been implemented to keep our residents safe.  We ask that you please help us keep your loved ones safe.

Second, if you wish to provide additional protection, you could purchase a small room HEPA air purifier for your loved one.  These would stay next to the head of the bed in the room, and provide additional protection.  Currently they range in price from about $60 to $90 from Amazon.  There are other models as well, of course, but they should be HEPA certified to be effective.  At that price, frankly these devices will only last 6-9 months before going bad, but hopefully by that time we will have a vaccine.  (While a vaccine is expected shortly, there are many distribution problems with them, and I don’t expect them to be available for a few months).

Finally, if you would like your loved ones to start Magnesium, Zinc, and Vitamin D, please let me know by sending me a message and I will ensure these are ordered.

None of these measures of course, is guaranteed to prevent a COVID infection, or an outbreak, but right now, represents the best possible protection we can provide.

I hope and pray you all continue to stay safe and well.

Your sincerely,

Dr. M. S. Gandhi, MD, CCFP
Medical Director,
Bay Haven Care Community

Safe Outings Now Possible For Long-Term Care and Retirement Home Residents

The Ontario government has announced that long term care and retirement home residents can once again leave their residences for short stay and temporary absences.

Short stay absences are for outpatient medical visits, to see family or run errands and do not include an overnight stay, with the exception of single-night emergency room visits. Bay Haven will provide resident with a medical mask to be worn at all times when outside the home, if tolerated.  Residents will be reminded of the importance of physical distancing and hand hygiene.  When the resident returns, they will be actively screened but will not be required to be tested or to self isolate.

Temporary absences are for personal reasons of one or more nights. Temporary absences will be at the discretion of the home and decided upon a case-by-case basis based upon safety factors like the risk associated with the absence (e.g. for a family weekend vs. a large gathering) and ability of the home to help residents self-isolate upon return. Residents can return if the home is not in outbreak, the resident has tested negative for COVID-19 and is returning to a room shared with no more than one other resident. For the protection of their neighbours, resident who leave on a temporary absence will be required to self-isolate for 14 days when they return to the home.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate ask Lillian Kelly, Director of Nursing or Roseanne Beaupre, Retirement Home Manager.

Thank you for your continued support as we work together to address the COVID-19 situation.

Celebrating Seniors in Ontario — Stay Safe, Stay in Touch

June is Seniors’ Month! Make sure you Stay Safe, Stay in Touch

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.

Marco Sanfilippo
Marketing Specialist/Recreation Assistant

Precautionary Measures Bay Haven Care Community is Taking to Keep Residents Safe

The Nursing Home entrance at Bay Haven Care Community

COVID-19 is the largest public health crisis that Canada has ever faced. During the early stages of the pandemic, Bay Haven’s care team followed the precautionary measures set forth by our homes’ Medical Advisor Dr. Gandhi, Public Health, and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. “The health of our residents and staff is at the forefront of our priorities. We want everyone to know that we are taking all necessary precautionary measures to prevent COVID-19 from entering our home.” said Scott Strandholt during one of our staff huddles. Below is a list of these precautionary measures Bay Haven Care Community is taking to prevent COVID-19.

No Visitors Allowed

COVID-19 is a virus that does not always show symptoms early on. It has been determined that people might be contiguous without realizing it. One of the earliest precautionary measures Bay Haven Care Community took was to restrict visitors into the building. Thankfully, family, friends, entertainment performers, and church ministers were eager to comply. Realizing how important it is for our residents to maintain communication with their families, the Recreation Team installed Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom to our iPad’s to ensure that those family conversations continue throughout this pandemic.

Active Screening

Active screening is one of the most important precautionary measures being done to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All staff MUST be screened at the beginning and at the end of their shift. During the screening process, all staff are asked a series of questions about where they have been in the last 24 hours, and if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, headache, tiredness, or body aches. Next, the nurse takes their temperature. If any staff member fails the screening process, or has a high temperature, they are not allowed to enter the building and are asked to go home and contact their physician or Public Health.

Social Distancing

Bay Haven Care Community is taking additional measures to ensure social distancing is being practiced amongst all our residents and staff. Dietary Manager Donna Shiner has added extra dining tables in both the nursing and retirement home dining rooms limiting two residents per table. In Recreation, resident programs have been reduced to five residents per program and social distancing is being followed. Lounge chairs that were side-by-side have been separated in all common areas and staff rooms.

Extra Cleaning

Bay Haven Care Community has hired extra staff to disinfect all high touch areas (hand rails, door knobs, door frames etc.) several times a day. Adequate levels of disinfectant, bleach wipes, Virox wipes, and other sanitizers are available and easily accessible throughout the home. Everyone is being diligent to keep our home clean and virus-free!

Staying Protected

Bay Haven Care Community currently has adequate levels of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available for all staff members. Available PPE includes disposable and non-disposable gowns, face shields, protective eye wear, face masks, and hand sanitizers. Every staff member is working together to ensure our residents and staff are fully protected as we work together to prevent this pandemic from entering our home.

Communication

Bay Haven Care Community managers have been working tirelessly keeping residents, staff, and families up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 news. Everyday, Bay Haven Care Community policies and procedures are continuously being reviewed to reflect the COVID-19 regulations and directives. In addition, countless signs and education material is being made available to keep all staff and residents safe and informed.

Testing/Swabs

Bay Haven Care Community nurses are hyper vigilant in making sure that any resident or staff member who exhibits any COVID-19 symptom gets swabbed and tested immediately. While waiting for test results, suspect residents are isolated to their rooms. These precautionary measures, although unpleasant and disruptive, are being done to prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19 in our home.

These are some of the precautionary measures that Bay Haven Care Community has taken to prevent COVID-19 from entering our home. Everyday the Government of Canada is implementing new rules and regulations to help stop COVID-19. For the safety of our residents and front line staff, please follow the rules, stay home, practice social distancing, and wash your hands!

Marco Sanfilippo
Marketing Specialist/Recreation Assistant