COVID-19 Updates

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Thank You Volunteers

We received a lovely donation of 700+ hand-made masks for our front-line-heroes for use when they leave after a hard day’s work. Many thanks to Ptbo Mask Makers and a group of curlers from the Peterborough Curling Club for the heart-felt contribution.


COVID-19 Update

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the challenge of our lifetimes. The circumstances have been unprecedented – and constantly changing: first the focus was on travel; then businesses and schools were closed; there were massive lay-offs, with many others working from home; and then the focus moved to concerns about hospital resources and capacity. When rush on hospitals mostly did not occur, the focus appropriately turned to seniors’ residences. Starting in March, new provincial directives were issued almost daily, it seemed, as we fought this virus that represents such risk to our seniors and loved ones. When summer arrived, and as infection rates began to decline, attention turned to cautiously reopening the province in a phased approach.

Our top priority, as always, is the health and safety of our residents and staff. All AON Homes follow the directives of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer, the Ministry of Health, and Public Health authorities. We also access industry resources such as the OLTCA, the RHRA, and ORCA. As directives are given or updated, we follow them. In addition, AON Homes have been ahead of the curve in many of the responses to COVID-19, right from the start.

We must congratulate and celebrate our staff. With few exceptions our courageous staff continued to come to work to provide care and services to the residents we serve. We can’t say enough about their commitment and work ethic. We are so proud of our team and how they havepulled together, working tirelessly during challenging times.

We thank our residents and their loved ones for the trust they placed in us. We appreciate your patience and support, and your frequent kind words. Your ongoing support has meant the world to our dedicated and hardworking teams. We understand this has been a stressful time. The inability to visit loved ones is a heart-wrenching measure. As an alternate many chose to stay in touch with their loved ones via the Home’s FaceBook page, or they arranged “virtual visits” via FaceTime or Skype.

We do our best to communicate with families and loved ones, with updates in each Home at least weekly initially, and then more periodically as the situation has stabilized. Any news or important information to be shared more broadly, has been, and will continue to be, communicated through “@AON_responds” on Twitter, or through this page.

Precaution Measures at AON

The following list is not exhaustive, but it summarizes some of the measures we have taken to keep residents safe and to prepare for active cases of COVID-19:

  • We have implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfection in all Homes.
  • Staff are screened for symptoms, including the taking of temperatures, twice each day.
  • Residents are screened for symptoms, including the taking of temperatures, twice each day.
  • With the expanded capability for testing in the province, all staff are now tested biweekly for COVID-19.
  • Visitor restrictions are in place and have been modified. An exception is made for “essential visitors” … most notably those who have a resident who is dying or very ill. Essential suppliers (deliveries, essential maintenance, health care professionals) are exceptions.
  • All “essential” visitors are screened for symptoms, including the taking of temperatures, prior to entry. They will be denied entry if they do not pass the screening. Essential visitors seeing a resident who is dying or very ill must wear a mask and can interact only with that one resident.
  • We have best-in-class infection prevention and control policies and practices that are aligned with the COVID-19 directives from the Chief Medical Officer.
  • All staff have been trained, and retrained, on infection control practices, including the steps to take in the prevention of, and response to, cases of COVID-19.
  • We have adopted “social distancing” in all of our decision making. Events and resident activities were initially cancelled or transitioned to one-on-one or small group activities, with social distancing and disinfection practices in place. Further modifications have occurred as restrictions have eased, with disinfection and physical distancing as guiding principles. Kitchen/dining room activities have been adjusted the same way, consistent with the direction of Public Health authorities and the Ministry of Health.
  • We implemented FaceTime and Skype in each Home to enable residents and family members to have a bit of “live” interaction during the difficult time of visitor restrictions.
  • Universal Masking” was implemented for all staff, just in advance of a directive requiring this in all Homes in the province.
  • Supplies of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) have been secured from day one, with significant additional reserve stocks acquired and ready if needed.
  • Staff are designated to a single-site, helping to limit the risk of spreading germs.

There are numerous, more detailed steps we have taken, but the list above addresses the key themes. We are pleased with our level of preparedness and we continue to and adjust our plans based on new information or circumstances.

COVID-19 Response

If a Home experiences a case of COVID-19, special “outbreak” protocols will immediately go into effect, including isolation, deployment of “protective personal equipment” (PPE), staff cohorting, and many restrictive practices intended to limit the spread of the infection and keep all residents and staff members safe. All of this would be under the supervision of Public Health authorities. Should such an event occur, there would be special communication to the residents and families of the affected Home. We will also use the Twitter account “@AON_responds” to share news or important information, or visit this page.

Please note that if a resident is ill, our standard protocol is to contact the resident’s designated loved one to make sure they are informed. This applies to ANY illness or unusual situation, including COVID-19. So please do not worry, we will keep you informed.

Thank You

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged how we all work and live, forcing separation, keeping loved ones apart for extended periods, and preventing us from doing many of the things we love to do. Every one of us has to think hard about the choices we make, being sure to make decisions that limit the potential spread of the virus and protect the ones we love.

We thank our staff for their courage, dedication, and their hard work. We thank our residents and their families and friends for their patience, their understanding, and their trust. These have been unprecedented times, but we will continue to work through them, together.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Executive Director or Administrator of your Home. The contact information is available on their individual web-pages. Or feel free to send an email here