Since the beginning of 2020, Long-Term Care homes around the world have been largely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two years later, homes continue to be affected as new waves and variants spontaneously spread. The Omicron variant is proven to spread more frequently, thus numerous residents, staff and health care workers have recently tested positive for COVID-19 all throughout Ontario.
Due to the rise of Omicron, general visitors and social absences for residents have been banned. These restrictions have brought feelings of social isolation, loneliness, and rejection to those residents confined to their rooms. Though mandated isolation keeps residents safer, companionship, emotional support, in-person contact and social engagement – the human elements – are currently near to non-existent. Combined with poor health, cognitive impairment, and psychological distress, the risk of social isolation and loneliness is painful and can lead to other detrimental health outcomes.
Here are 10 ways to help isolated residents not feel lonely.
Get in touch with the Recreation Department to let them know what kind of music, TV shows, or movies your loved one enjoys. Number 705-445-6501 ext 222 (Long-Term Care) or 229 (Retirement Home)
Drop off a smartphone, iPad, tablet, or portable DVD player so your loved one can stay connected and entertained.
Contact the Recreation Department to schedule a video call with your loved one using FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom.
Write your loved one a letter to offer some words of affirmation and encouragement. Remind them how resilient they are and that better days are coming.
Call your loved one over the phone to have a conversation with them.
If you are an Essential Designated Caregiver, you can book a visit to see your loved one through our online portal on our website. If you would like to become an Essential Designated Caregiver, please contact us directly to set you up for it. Number 705-445-6501 ext 222 (Long-Term Care) or 229 (Retirement Home)
Drop off your loved one’s favourite snacks, books, pop, candy, essentials, or even fast food like McDonalds or Tim Hortons.
Send your loved one photo’s of you and your entire family so they can see and have a physical copy of the photo in their room. Photos of grandkids, great grandkids, and pets always put a smile on their face.
Include your loved ones on special occasions. Call them on their birthday or include them while having Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas via video call so they feel like they are there with you.
Schedule an appointment with Rogers or Bell to set up cable TV in their rooms. Live TV is always a great source of entertainment.
Communication and your presences are very important for the residents during these challenging times. A simple gesture or phone call can go a long way in helping the resident not feel lonely and isolated in their rooms. More than ever, this is crucial, and we encourage everyone to do their part in making our residents feel included in your lives.
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
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.