News – COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are committed to ensuring that all clients and families feel supported and informed by us at Carewest.

Updated visitor restrictions - July 23, 2020

UPDATE: Residents and clients in continuing care represent some of the most vulnerable populations if exposed to COVID-19, and staff are doing everything possible to ensure their safety.  However, this high level of risk does need to be balanced with the need to ensure a level of quality of life. The Chief Medical Officer of Health of Alberta announced updated safe visitor access guidelines for continuing care (CMOH Order 29-2020) that will impact visitation for Carewest residents and clients and families in hopes of better achieving that balance.

Effective July 23, 2020, similar to other owner operators across Calgary and the province, Carewest will be taking a phased approach to implementing the Order starting with:

  • Scheduled outdoor visitation up to a maximum of four visitors per visit;
  • The designation of two Designated Family/Support Persons per client – persons over the age of 18 who can visit the care centre.
  • The conducting of Risk Tolerance Assessments at each site, which takes into consideration client, family and staff preferences and perception of risk, the site configuration, ability to maintain physical distancing and collective health status of clients.

Phase 2 will start shortly after and will focus on indoor visitation, but will be informed by input from clients and/or their agents as well as staff. Once we complete the Risk Tolerance Assessment, confirm the two Designated Family/Support Persons and create site-based visitation guidelines, we will communicate those guidelines and ongoing expectations with our clients, families and staff.

All other guidance related to health screening, temperature checks, continuous masking, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette still apply and have not changed. They are detailed in the Safe Visiting At Carewest document. Please familiarize yourself with this document before visiting the site.

We understand the past few months have been challenging ones and want to thank everyone for partnering with us to keep everyone safe during this time. Looking forward, we are encouraged by the strength of those partnerships and hope to create visitor access guidelines that are safe, informed and balanced for clients and families at Carewest.

Current active cases of COVID-19 at Carewest

Carewest Site Staff: Active Cases Clients: Active Cases
Dr. Vernon Fanning 4 1
Colonel Belcher 1 0
George Boyack 0 0
Glenmore Park 0 1
Sarcee 0 1
Garrison Green 0 0
Signal Pointe 0 0
Royal Park 0 0
Rouleau Manor 0 0
Nickle House 0 0
This table was last updated Aug. 5, 2020 at 3:15 p.m. Please note that all staff who are ill are self-isolating at home and clients who are ill are isolating in their rooms.

We continue to work vigilantly to ensure all Carewest sites are operating safely, and with the health of clients at the focus of all we do in these trying times. We have been doing and will continue to do all we can to prevent further transmission of COVID-19 at all Carewest facilities.We will continue to keep you and your loved ones informed as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to take the University of Alberta survey How has COVID-19 Affected Alberta Family Caregivers

Here is what we're doing to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our care centres
  • Plans are being confirmed so that care staff will be restricted to working at one site only, to prevent the transmission of the virus between facilities. This will be happening across the province.
  • All staff working in client care areas or who cannot maintain the two metres required for physical distancing are required to wear a procedure mask while at work.
  • IP&C measures have been implemented including (but not limited to) social distancing in the dining room, isolation of ill clients, outbreak signage posted, strict hand hygiene, restriction of visitors, and cancellation of group activities. Restrictions on admissions and transfers are in place. Rigorous cleaning of high-touch areas like light switches, doorknobs and handrails has been implemented.
  • All residents with any symptoms of illness are isolated to their rooms. Staff caring for them wear contact/droplet PPE and change that PPE between rooms.
  • All staff, physicians, essential visitors and contractors are screened for symptoms of illness by having their temperature checked upon arrival to the care centre and required to answer a questionnaire. Clients are also screened on a daily basis, including a temperature check.
  • We have restricted visitation to only those who are attending to loved ones in the end of life or those providing essential care that cannot be provided by staff or quality-of-life visitation.

Click here to see the most up-to-date numbers of cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.

Click here for letter to residents, clients and families regarding Stage 2 of the provincial relaunch

Dear Carewest residents, clients and families,                                                                  June 12, 2020

Today, the province of Alberta enters Stage 2 of the provincial re-launch plan. As we move into the next phases of this pandemic and Alberta’s re-launch, you may be wondering about how provincial re-launch initiatives apply to those living or staying in continuing care.

Firstly, we have a simple message for you all: Thank you for all you’ve done to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Carewest. We know the last three months have been very challenging for our residents, clients and families. You have partnered with us to comply with multiple public health orders that have restricted visiting, impeded external outings, preventing gathering, necessitated the screening of clients and visitors, ensured continuous masking while in our centres, and created physical distance between you and your loved ones. We appreciate the sacrifices you’ve made and how hard they have been on everyone.

Our second message is to ask that you hang in there. Even as the province gradually relaunches, the health risk posed by the pandemic has not gone away. COVID-19 is still circulating in Alberta. Residents and clients of all continuing care sites continue to be some of the most vulnerable populations if exposed to COVID-19, and we can’t lose our focus on keeping them safe.

Even though the province is opening up, public health guidelines and Chief Medical Officer of Health orders are still in effect for continuing care. We recognize that complying with these orders does need to be balanced with the need to ensure a certain level of quality of life for residents and clients. We are working very hard to ensure we strike that balance to the best of our ability, within those public health guidelines and orders. The province has committed to exploring ways to gradually lift some of these restrictions as the relaunch proceeds, while still maintaining safety in continuing care facilities. They also hope to balance the duty to protect residents and staff within continuing care with the natural need for human connection and social interaction.

We encourage you to continue reaching out to your loved ones using available technology and for those who can visit, to do so safely, while following the orders and cooperating with staff.

Our re-launch must be a slower one, done thoughtfully and with the health and safety of our residents and clients in mind. We are currently working on what a re-launch plan will look like for Carewest and how to roll that out across the organization.

The health and safety of our residents, clients, families and staff remains our number one concern in the coming days and weeks as restrictions are eased throughout the province.

Please continue to help us do everything we can to keep you and your loved ones safe during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Sincerely,

Carewest Executive Leadership

Continuous masking

April 11, 2020 update on continuous masking: Alberta Health Services released new recommendations for continuous masking in health care settings, which will apply to Carewest staff, physicians, contracted service providers and essential visitors.

The expectation for those providing direct care, working in client care areas or visiting client care areas is that:

  • People wear a procedure mask continuously, at all times and in all areas of the workplace when involved in direct client contact or if adequate social distancing from clients, visitors and co-workers cannot be maintained.
  • Procedure masks be used in a sensible manner to help conserve supplies and ensure availability throughout this COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Masks are immediately change and safely disposed of whenever they are soiled or wet, whenever they may have become contaminated.
  • Individuals must dispose of their mask when taking a break, or eating a meal, and perform hand hygiene. Social distancing must be maintained and a new mask should be applied before returning to client care areas.

And for those who do not work in client care areas and do not have direct client contact:

  • Those who can perform their duties from home should do so to preserve PPE.
  • Individuals whose function must be performed in person do not need to wear a mask unless social distancing cannot be maintained or if entry into client care areas is required.

Please note: It is not a requirement that clients wear a mask but procedure masks should be worn by clients exhibiting respiratory symptoms or influenza-like illness (ILI), if they are cooperative and able to safely put on and take off a mask. Staff, clients, contractors and essential visitors are required to wear the procedure masks supplied by Carewest. Non-medical or homemade face masks cannot be worn by visitors, staff or clients in Carewest facilities. Alsok please note this does not change requirements to self-isolate when sick and that no one with symptoms of illness should come to Carewest facilities.

Click here to see a poster we developed for staff about how to safely put on and take off a procedure mask. Not all points in this poster apply to visitors but we wanted to share the applicable knowledge.

Temperature checks and enhanced screening

Essential visitors, health-care staff, phyisicans and contracted service providers across Alberta will be screened for COVID-19 at the start of every shift – that new process starting at Carewest on March 26, 2020. All employees, physicians, contractors or visitors entering a Carewest facility will have their temperature taken and be asked to fill out a questionnaire and anyone found to have a fever or who has symptoms will be sent home and told to self-isolate.

Carewest will be allocating regulated nurses or designate to conduct the screening at the site entrances. The assigned regulated nurses or designates will also be able to answer questions regarding the screening process, discuss results of the screening or next steps. Screening staff will be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to conduct these activities. If the screening results in one or more screening criteria not met the regulated nurses will review in detail and make an assessment whether the person is fit for work or visit the site, based on the screening criteria. Any staff or visitors who refuse to be screened will not be permitted access to the site.

The screening criteria is as follows:

  • You must have a temperature below 38ᵒC;
  • You must not be experiencing any symptoms (even mild ones) of cough, fever, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and sore throat;
  • You must not have returned to Canada from another country within the past 14 days;
  • You must answer several questions coming in close contact with someone exhibiting influenza-like illness or who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Program closures
Effective immediately, the following programs will be closed: All Carewest Adult Day Programs (including YADS), Day Hospital, Living with Dementia and Comprehensive Community Care (C3). The C3 Clinic will remain open for urgent client assessment and treatment. Seating Clinic will restrict visits to essential appointments only.

Responsible VisitingPhysical distancingTips

Continuing Care settings pose challenges due to their unique environments and the individuals they serve. Particularly for older individuals and those with respiratory, cardiac or multiple chronic conditions, the risks of more severe symptoms and death from COVID-19 are greater. Special steps must be taken to prevent disease transmission when considering the movement of clients or residents, visitors and staff into and within the facilities.The safety of our clients and staff is of utmost importance. If you are deemed an essential visitor, please postpone your visit if:

  • If you were traveling in the last two weeks and haven’t self-isolated for the mandator 14-day period.
  • If you are feeling unwell.
  • If you have been in close contact (within two metres) with someone who has been traveling and/or feeling unwell.

Ask yourself these questions to determine if you should visit today.

Physical distancing will slow the progression of the spread of COVID-19, thus spreading the need of health resources over a longer period of time. Taiwan has been successful in this, while most other countries have been too slow to respond.

This virus is predicted to occur in 70% of the entire population, because no one has immunity. The key is slowing the spread down so that health resources are not taxed beyond their ability to help. Once health resources are overwhelmed, the death rate begins to climb. The elderly, immuno-compromised and those with significant chronic lung and heart disease are the most at risk of complications. We need to act quickly to slow the progression of spread.

Please see Alberta’s Mass Gathering Recommendations.

The COVID-19 virus can survive 1 to 9 days on surfaces, depending on the type of item (e.g. tin cans – 1 day, plastics – 1-3 days, cotton or cloth items – up to 9 days).

  • Washing all items brought in from public areas is important. As for fruits or vegetables, wash them when you bring them home.
  • High-touch areas need much more frequent cleaning. Light switches, door knobs, phones, computer accessories, toilets, sink faucets, handrails, buttons, chair arms, remote controls.
  • Measures that help include washing your hands, forgoing handshakes, coughing into your arm, staying home when you are sick and avoiding crowded areas.
  • International travel remains the greatest contact risk in Canada, but that is quickly now including attending any public events of 50 or more persons, domestic/Canada travel, attending work conferences. Stay home if you can.
  • All persons that can work from home are being asked to work from home.
  • Self-isolate at home, if you develop symptoms: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chest pain, sore throat, runny nose or nasal congestion, muscle aches or pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Contact Health Link at 811 (public) if you have symptoms, and particularly with international travel. You can also use the new self-assessment tool from Alberta Health Services.

We will endeavour to keep you informed as we receive more information. Check back regularly, as this page will be updated often.

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