April 27 Update from our Chief Operating Officer: Testing for Asymptomatic Staff and Residents

I want to share our good news: Last week, the outbreak at Seasons Strathroy was rescinded by London Middlesex Health Unit. There were only two residents who tested positive, and we’re pleased to share that both have since recovered. Thank you to the Seasons Strathroy team members for their dedication and vigilance in eradicating the virus from your home and to the residents for cooperating with all of our heightened protocols. Well done!

We remain in outbreak status at our Welland ON and High River AB locations. These teams continue to work closely with their local Public Health and we thank them for their ongoing, unwavering commitment to our residents’ safety and well-being.

Last week, the Ontario provincial government and Chief Medical Officer of Health announced wide-spread testing for all asymptomatic staff and residents in retirement homes and Long Term Care residences. Presently in Alberta, testing is reserved only for care homes in outbreak status.

Starting this week in Ontario, General Managers may be contacted by their local Public Health Units to coordinate the testing of all staff and residents. This testing must be initiated by Public Health, not Seasons Retirement Communities, however; we strongly support this as the best course of action and will collaborate with Public Health to get this done as soon as possible. We feel that being able to identify asymptomatic individuals is especially important in preventing the possible spread of COVID-19 in our homes. We will send Voicefriend messages to our staff and residents with specific information on how and when testing will commence.

It is likely that this protocol will follow in Alberta in the coming weeks. We will keep you posted should we receive any directives on this from Alberta Health Services.

Thank you all for your ongoing support and cooperation with our suite-isolation practice. Please rest assured that staff are paying special attention to our residents’ emotional well-being. At a minimum, we visit our residents each time we bring meals and deliver medications. Our teams are finding creative ways to ensure residents stay engaged, connected and having fun, in safe ways. For example, the Fun department drops off daily or weekly activity calendars projects to complete independently as well as puzzles and word games. Depending on residents’ interests and abilities, we deliver various activities via themed carts – art, DVDs, mobile tuck shop, cocktails etc. We have provided conference call lines for group Bingo, exercise and entertainment. We have arranged “hallway chats” where residents can safely visit from their open doorways, one-to-one visits with staff, pen-pal programs, Skype and FaceTime visits with loved ones to ensure connectedness.

The weather is getting warmer and residents are encouraged to go outside; we just ask that you call the front desk to schedule this at a time when we can ensure the hallways and elevators are clear. Our team members will coordinate time outdoors for our residents who need assistance. We know it may be tempting to go outside and congregate with your loved ones. Please refrain from doing so. I’m sure you can imagine that if multiple families descended upon our premises at once we could find ourselves in danger of violating social distancing guidelines.

Together, we are doing very well in keeping COVID-19 out of the majority of our retirement communities. Please help us by staying vigilant; the more we adhere to these protocols now, the sooner we can return to life as usual at Seasons.

Thank you to all our team members who continue to create “wow moments” for our residents. I have received numerous letters and calls from residents and families who deeply appreciate these efforts. I so enjoy reading about the many acts of kindness the friends and families of Seasons have been sending to our staff and residents. Thank you all, it means a lot. You can see examples of this ‘Little Extra Love’ on our Seasons Facebook page and social media channels.

We take our responsibility to our staff and residents very seriously. Thank you all for the trust you have placed in Seasons.

Sincerely,

LeighAnne Voll,
Chief Operating Officer

For more information on the Ontario Government Pandemic Pay Program, click here.

For additional online resources for COVID-19 you can visit the following sites:

Canada Health
Alberta Health
Alberta Health Services
Public Health Ontario
Retirement Home Regulatory Authority