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. Currently, Carewest Glenmore Park and Carewest Sarcee are on COVID Outbreak. We understand and appreciate that this news may cause concern. Please be assured: we have been doing and will continue to do all we can to prevent further transmission of COVID-19 at all Carewest facilities.

Here is what we're doing to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our care centres

  • Restricted visitation permits only those deemed as “essential visitors” and designated by a client access to the site. Essential visitors may only visit the client one at a time, to attend to someone who is dying or to provide direct care required to maintain the health and safety of that client. To protect everyone’s safety, essential visitors may not be granted access during a COVID-19 outbreak.
  • We have implemented enhanced screening measures so that anyone entering the building (staff, physicians, visitors, contractors) has their temperature checked and answers a questionnaire. Anyone who presents with a fever 38ᵒC or above or who doesn’t meet the criteria on the questionnaire is not permitted to access our sites.
  • Anyone feeling unwell is not permitted to enter our sites. This includes staff, physicians, visitors and contractors. Visits from pets and children are also not permitted at the site.
  • Clients are screened multiple times a day. Temperatures are checked and they are monitored for symptoms.
  • Any client with new respiratory symptoms will be isolated in their room. This means they will receive tray service in their room for meals and staff caring for them will be wearing all recommended Personal Protective Equipment. Every client on isolation will automatically be tested for COVID-19. Clients who are not on an outbreak unit and who are feeling well will not be tested. We do our best to let families know if their loved one has been put on isolation but due to the amount of different respiratory illness circulating in the community, we ask for your patience as we first and foremost work diligently to keep everyone safe.
  • Staff working at sites with on COVID Outbreak in the resident population are not permitted to work at any other Carewest facilities.
  • All sites are currently respecting physical distancing guidelines as much as possible in the dining rooms and during site activities. All large-group activities have been cancelled as well as those that involved members of the community.
  • Rigorous cleaning of high-touch areas is occurring at all the sites.
  • In the case of any confirmed case of COVID-19, in either staff or clients, we immediately work with AHS to implement required isolation protocols. AHS also completes contact tracing and follow-up. This means that anyone considered exposed will be identified and will be put in isolation (either from home if they are a staff member, or here if they are a resident), to prevent further spread.
  • Carewest has implemented all guidelines and restrictions directed by Alberta Health Services and the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Alberta. We also continue to follow the direction of Alberta Health Services and Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health related to testing of clients and staff, as well as enhanced health monitoring, surveillance and cleaning and disinfection.

To protect the privacy of individuals experiencing illness, we do not release any case-specific information. However, 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 will continue to keep you and your loved ones informed as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

March 25, 2020 update on temperature checks and enhanced screening:  Health-care staff 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.
Enhanced visitor restrictions

Watch the Alberta Health Services video, explaining the enhanced visitor restrictions.

March 23, 2020 update on further visitor restrictions: In addition to the visitor restrictions imposed on March 18, further restrictions are in effect immediately that limit visits to only one, single essential visitor at a time per client in Long-term Care, Supportive Living and other continuing care settings. An essential visitor is either a family member, friend or paid caregiver and must be designated by the client or guardian (or other alternate decision maker) who:

  • Provides direct care to the client (i.e. feeding with significant care implications, constant observation for safety or participating in care when sites have requested additional family/visitor support) or;
  • Attends to a client in the active stages of dying.

Visits from pets and children are not permitted, as children do not necessarily show symptoms of COVID-19 and pets may carry the virus.

Family members are still required to apply in writing to the Manager requesting approved visitor status as essential and must receive approval by the Site Director. Each essential visitor must be verified and undergo a health screening prior to entering the facility, which may include a temperature check and questionnaire.

CLICK HERE TO SEE DETAILS OF ENHANCED VISITOR RESTRICTIONS

Those permitted to enter the care centre will be screened and required to answer a questionnaire and abide by the following guidelines:

  • Essential visitors must be immediate family or designated person;
  • Visitors must be feeling well on the day/time of their visit;
  • Must check in with unit staff before entering a resident’s or client’s room;
  • Sanitize their hands upon arrival to the care centre and before leaving;
  • Sanitize their hands before entering and after exiting a resident’s or client’s room;
  • Follow respiratory etiquette  and hand hygiene procedures.
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 VisitingSocial 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 on or after March 13, 2020 and haven’t self-isolated for the 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 feeling unwell.

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

Social 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.

From the onset of this situation, we have been listening to the appropriate sources for accurate and up-to-date information, and our preparedness plan reflects those inputs. As things evolve, we are actively monitoring and assessing risks, with a readiness to implement changes to ensure the highest level of safety. We will strive to continue to communicate with our staff, clients, families and the community in a timely and transparent way. Carewest is doing everything it can to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria within the organization. You may have noticed some changes at our care centres, whether you are working here, living here, attending a day program or visiting loved ones. Here is what we are currently doing in that regard.

Protecting our clients
  • Restricted visiting at all our care centres to only those providing end-of-life care and other exceptional cases on March 18, 2020.
  • Closure of certain side and back entrances to ensure visitors report to front reception for screening.
  • “Visitor Alert” posters are located throughout the building advising all visitors to not visit the facility if they are unwell or have symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a runny nose, sneezing, cough, shortness of breath and other general flu-like symptoms.
  • Visitors are all asked to sign-in at the front entrance and indicate if they are unwell, have recently traveled, and from what location. Please note that if you have traveled out-of-country, there is a requirement to self-isolate for 14-days.
  • Visitors are being visually screened at the front entrance for symptoms of respiratory illness. If it is evident that a visitor is ill, they are asked not to enter the facility as a precautionary measure.
  • All contracted service providers are being required to report to front reception for screening.
Enhanced infection prevention and control
  • Carewest will be following standard precautions at each site, which include:
    • Introduction of rigorous cleaning procedures of high-touch areas including doorknobs, handrails and light switches.
    • Visiting restricted to essential visiting only.
    • Posted signage at the site, asking visitors to sanitize their hands before and after their visit.
    • Limitation of certain recreational and therapeutic group activities.
    • Increased use of Personal Protective Equipment for staff and visitors.
    • Closure to admissions and transfers.
    • Consistent reminders to staff to follow proper practices around infection prevention and control.
Education to prevent the spread
  • Posting signage at all unlocked entrances reminding staff and visitors of the provincial self-isolation mandate after traveling.
  • Education for staff and visitors about the importance of staying home if feeling unwell.
  • Creation of internal and external website pages dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Creation of education resources about proper hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and responsible visiting.
  • We’re taking sensible steps to help protect our employees. This means fewer meetings and limiting travel.
Senior leadership commitment
  • Daily meeting of senior leadership to coordinate COVID-19 response and planning.
  • Cancellation or postponement of all discretionary meetings and events at the site.
  • Operating under our four core values of caring, relationships, learning and responsibility and our Philosophy of Care and reminding all clients and families that we are partners in their care.
  • We are monitoring new developments so that we can act quickly to ensure everyone’s safety.
  • Working closely with Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health to ensure a coordinated response.
Client external appointments
  • We are asking all external appointments for clients be cancelled unless absolutely necessary.

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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