Local retirement homes determined to keep COVID-19 out of facilities – The Kingston Whig-Standard

Posted: April 21, 2020 at 3:47 pm


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Carveth Care Centre personal support workers Cherry Reyes and Cheryl Reston wear personal protective equipment before supporting residents at the Gananoque facility. (Supplied Photo) Submitted / Submitted Photo

KINGSTON With high rates of COVID-19 and subsequent deaths at retirement homes in Almonte, Bobcaygeon and other areas in the province, Kingston-area retirement and long-term care homes have pretty well managed to keep the coronavirus at bay.

According to Public Health Ontario, as of Sunday afternoon there were 114 outbreaks in Ontarios long-term care homes and 249 deaths among residents or patients at those homes. After not having any cases in the Kingston area for the past couple of weeks, Providence Manor in Kingston reported one new case on Monday.

Brett Gibson, the co-owner of Gibson Family Healthcare with his sister Lisa Burgess, said in an interview that at their two homes Carveth Care Centre in Gananoque and Helen Henderson Care Centre in Amherstview its mostly good preparation, but also a little bit of luck, that is keeping COVID-19 out.

Gibson, also the mens hockey coach for the Queens Gaels, sees similarities between coaching hockey and managing the coronavirus.

I think with coaching, this role is quite similar. My sister and I have put plans in place and you plan for the worst and hope for the best, and I think the plans that weve done have allowed our front-line staff to perform on demand, because weve communicated to them right from the beginning, he said.

From an early start date, theyve been very diligent, and with an early start date, theyve been sticking with the plan. Its very similar to coaching: You put plans in place and you hope your players stick to those plans, and the preparation is whats going to lead to the performance.

Carveth has 104 residents in its long-term care home and 38 in its retirement home, while Helen Henderson has 104 in its long-term care section and 65 in its retirement home.

Some of the mitigation controls at both facilities include one entrance in and out of the building, with no outside visitors. Everyone wears surgical masks inside the buildings, social distancing is being practised, and people visiting loved ones inside can no longer go up close to the window of their room. Theres now a painted line on the grass two metres away from the building.

Staff member Angela Ballantyne, a personal support worker at the Carveth Care Centre in Gananoque, checks on a resident in an undated photo. (Supplied Photo) Submitted / Submitted Photo

Our dining rooms are now spread out at both nursing homes, so theyre six feet apart when our residents are eating, and our recreation programs have gone down to a bare minimum, Gibson said.

Gibson knows the facilities he and his sister manage have been lucky with their mitigation techniques while some other homes have not.

There is luck involved. This virus is a deadly virus and I dont think anyone intentionally wanted to infect any of these homes, he said. There also is a lot of preparation, and I think that has a lot to do with the successes. You obviously have to have luck, but you can put a lot of measures in place to make sure youve earned that luck.

I think these (other) homes were prepared and they got unlucky some of them.

Gibson said he and his sister keep good lines of communication with residents and family members. Those measures include regular email updates.

They have a line where its directly coming from the top, Gibson said.

Dr. Ashok Chadha, the general manager and director of care at the Windsor Retirement Residence in Amherstview, said COVID-19 did not enter the facility due to the early lockdown and other safety protocols he put in place well before the government orders to do so came in mid-March.

We were the first in doing basically everything, Dr. Chadha said. We were way ahead of the authorities and government.

Chadha said he started educating residents of the 81-unit facility about COVID-19 in January.

They were well prepared. Were the first ones to talk about lockdown and the first ones to bring in screening guidelines and stayed ahead of things before they went widespread in the province, he said.

Chadha said staff members also had to stop working at other long-term care homes early in the outbreak to prevent the spread of the virus. He also banned outside agencies and contractors from coming into the Windsor.

Mitigation protocols include wearing masks throughout the facility and social distancing. Residents are allowed to walk outside in the private, fenced grounds as long as family members dont come on the property.

Chadha was also concerned about the residents anxiety and mental health during the new quarantine measures.

We were also very proactive in taking steps to talk to them more and give them breathing exercises, he said. Our residents are just not limited to stretching their arms on the balcony. They can go out and walk.

If this thing continues for a month or another two months, its going to take its toll on their mental health.

Despite the lockdown, residents have been able to keep up their recreational activities as long as social distancing is respected.

Our ultimate goal is their safety and well-being, Chadha said.

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Local retirement homes determined to keep COVID-19 out of facilities - The Kingston Whig-Standard

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April 21st, 2020 at 3:47 pm

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