Extendicare Resident and Family Letter re: COVID-19 Update
March 18, 2020
Dear Residents, Families and all in the Extendicare Community, Re: COVID-19
For the last few months, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has dominated the news cycle and caused concern in our communities and across the globe. The care and safety of our residents, clients, patients, team members and families are our top priority.
I am writing to assure you that we take the COVID-19 situation very seriously and we are following Public Health Authority directives to ensure everyone’s safety.
In Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan, we are following Public Health directives and allowing only essential visitors to enter our long-term care homes and retirement communities until further notice. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the home or community you are inquiring about.
All essential visitors must pass a mandatory screening process before entry and will be denied entry if determined that they pose any health risk to our residents.
We recognize that this is a significant change for our residents and for caregivers and we encourage families and friends to find alternate ways to connect with their loved ones in long-term care homes. Our objective is to keep everyone safe.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is an illness caused by a new coronavirus first discovered in Wuhan, China. Common signs of COVID-19 infection include fever, respiratory symptoms, coughing and sneezing. In more severe cases, infection can cause shortness of breath, pneumonia and respiratory failure requiring a ventilator. More severe cases are seen in older people and those with pre-existing medical problems.
What is Extendicare doing about COVID-19?
Extendicare activated our incident management system (IMS) comprised of infection prevention and control experts and supported by leaders from across the company. The IMS team meets daily to develop and implement strategies to manage the virus threat, and ensures we are current with our practices in prevention and doing everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our homes. We work closely with Public Health Authorities across Canada and follow their directives. Rest assured, our team members are trained and prepared and have measures in place to protect everyone’s safety including:
- Securing sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all staff
Distributing educational materials on COVID-19 to our team members, including current information from the Public Health Agency of Canada
- Posters illustrating how to use personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Screening all essential visitors
- Reminders that hand hygiene is the most effective way to prevent the spread of infections
- Ensuring that hand sanitizer is available for all staff
- Continued daily monitoring of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and World Health Organization directives regarding required responses to COVID-19
What can you do?
- Protect Yourself and Others – Follow hand hygiene guidelines: wash hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not available), avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, coughing etiquette: cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and proceed to throw out the tissue and wash your hands, and get your flu shot. We all play a part in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
- Stay Informed – Information regarding COVID-19 changes daily. Watch for updated communications on COVID-19 subjects such as screening and isolation procedures, recommended prevention activities, travel advisories etc. by following the Public Health Agency of Canada.
- Don’t Panic! – There is a lot of misinformation about COVID-19 out there: calm and measured reactions to COVID-19 from all will carry us through this challenge.
Thank you for your continued cooperation in response to this global issue.
We remain committed to keeping you safe. As Extendicare operates under protocols established by Public Health Authorities, please reach out to your local office for further information on the procedures in place.
If you have any questions or concerns surrounding how Extendicare is handling the situation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Extendicare
Useful Resources on COVID-19
Public Health Agency of Canada: Travel Advice for Canadians
Public Health Agency of Canada: Current Risk to Canadians
World Health Organization (WHO): How to Protect Yourself
World Health Organization (WHO): Myth Busters on COVID-19