Dear Residents and Families,
We are looking forward to seeing you again. Over the past several weeks, the Chief Public Health Officer and the Government of PEI have begun to loosen restrictions applied in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. They can do this because the risk to Islanders from Covid-19 has been low these past weeks and we are all thankful for that. These officials have been clear in their public statements that long term care homes will be among the very last to see any decrease in the restrictions currently in place. We believe this is wise and that our residents are the most susceptible to this virus and deserve the greatest protection. We also think that with lower risk, the time is coming soon to allow for restrictions to be reviewed, and a new plan put in place to allow residents and families more access.
Since my last letter, we have held three virtual meetings with government staff. These meetings have included the Minister of Health and the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO). We speak with officials from the department and the CPHO daily. Recently we have been working together on a plan to ease visiting restrictions for all public and private nursing homes and community care homes. Now a joint government and industry team is finalizing the details of this plan and may have an announcement this week. I expect that when announced, the plan will outline the multiple steps and timelines to allowing visitors back to long term care. Allowing visitors into long term care homes and reversing other restrictions will be done in a phased approach. They will be small steps that will build on each other for weeks.
I do not expect that we will go back to our past practices for a long time. In the past, we welcomed visitors at any time, in any number, without screening for sickness, without disinfecting packages, without the use of protective equipment and without limits on where in the home visitors might visit or for how long. Getting back to that complete openness will take a long time. I expect we may never get back to that complete openness because infection control practices may change for good and result in some of our recent restrictions becoming the new normal and best defence against future viruses.
With the warmer weather, our homes are working on plans to facilitate outdoor visits with residents and families. Under the current directives from the Chief Public Health Office, outdoor visits are not permitted. Our planning is us being proactive. Should we be allowed to have outdoor visits in the coming days or weeks, we will be ready.
We look forward to inviting visitors back to our homes. For now, window visits, phone calls, and Skype calls continue, and our Activities Departments can help schedule those for you. When visitations return, they will need to be scheduled to manage the process of safe visits. You will receive advance notice of when visiting may resume and the details when we have the guidelines from the Chief Public Health Officer and the Department of Health.
We have opened the dining room at Garden Home and will be doing the same at Whisperwood Villa on Wednesday. This allows residents who dined in the dining room to return to that routine and expand their interaction with other residents and staff. Dinning will allow for six feet of physical distancing.
Our residents and staff are safe and virus free. Our staffing levels are at 100%, and dozens of UPEI nursing students have joined our team and make the hallways a place of energy and ideas. Our supply of Personal Protective Equipment is improving every week, and never have we been in a critical shortage of safety equipment for our residents and staff needs. If faced with a Covid-19 outbreak, our planning is in constant review, and our partnership with government supports is ready to work together to provide the best care for all.
We are neither at the beginning of this pandemic, nor the end. We are past the intense adrenaline rush that powered us through the first two months. We are proud of the work done by our staff and encouraged by the support we have received from you. As always, our residents are our inspiration. We are all united in wanting the very best outcomes for them
Thank you for your support. Below are some contact numbers to help you stay connected with us.
Chief Executive Officer, PEI Seniors Homes
At Garden Home, your Activities Director is Angela Boudreau at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Director of Care at Garden Home is Trevor Cudmore RN at: email@example.com
Front Desk: 902 892 4131
At Whisperwood Villa your Activities Director is Tyler Hanley at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Director of Care at Whisperwood Villa is Kense Philip RN at: email@example.com
Front Desk: 902 566 5556
We post regular updates on our Facebook pages which are located at these links:
Garden Home: https://www.facebook.com/peiseniorshomes/
Whisperwood Villa: https://www.facebook.com/wwvseniorshome/