TORONTO – An Ontario long-term care home continues to weather an epidemic without a single COVID-19 case.
Long-term care homes continue with the second wave of COVID-19, Marion Home in Richmond Hill, Camel. A case of COVID-19 has so far hit the epidemic, with families and staff blamed for several security measures taken earlier this year.
“I attest to our staff communication and due diligence,” said Marion Home CEO and Administrator Bernard Borland. “I have seen the policies and policies that governments make and I am not satisfied with all the honesty and I have improved it.”
As Ontario allowed visitors back into long-term care homes, Borland began cracking down, requiring all visitors to prove negative COVID-19 testing within seven days of visiting.
“This is a government policy, families need to verify – we know people are not always telling the truth and our job is to protect our seniors, so I put it that way, they have to show us evidence of the COVID test.”
The house takes it a step further, giving families outside the nursing home the option of a drive-in test, administered by the Director of Care.
“I put some policies in place because I want to make things easier for families, so I gave them a drive-in testing center that would be accessible to all families who come to our COVID testing program,” he said. “Requesting those tests will lighten the minds of our families and residents.”
Visits must be booked sophisticatedly and are limited to one hour only. While inside, families are made aware of safety protocols, are not allowed to turn on the facility and must wear personal protective equipment at all times.
Boreland has spent tens of thousands of dollars on personal protective equipment (PPEs) and he started stock piling in mid-January before Ontario filed its first positive case. Additional funds were used to buy the PPE, and the house is now large enough to supply staff until February.
At the beginning of the epidemic employees were forced to work only in a 64-bed nursing home and they were tested for symptoms every two weeks. Screening now takes place once a week.
The staff is also collectively divided, so they look after the same occupants in the same unit at all times.
At the beginning of each shift residents are checked for symptoms three times a day. It includes a temperature check, which Borland claims is above ministry standards.
“If there are one or two symptoms from a resident they will be washed away immediately and we will keep them isolated until a negative result is obtained,” said Early Valera, director of home care.
Borland holds regular teleconferences with family members to keep up to date on policies and improved security measures.
“Thank you to all of our staff and families,” he said.
Michael Gregory’s mother – in – law has been living at home for four years and staff have praised how they have managed the epidemic so far.
“It hurts her a lot at her age,” Gregory said. “We are all confident she is in good hands and we are no longer worried.”
Concerned about exposure to employees outside the home, additional PPE will be provided to the transport crew and the grocery order program will continue to prevent staff from traveling to busy public places.