May 29, 2020
Advocating for Visitors at The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre
With Ottawa Public Health declaring an end to Perley Rideau’s COVID-19 outbreak, families, friends and residents are eager to resume in-person visits. Perley Rideau believes that in-person visits make an essential contribution to the health and well-being of not only our residents, but also the community at large. Spending time with families and friends is what life is all about.
At the same time, though, Perley Rideau must abide by directives from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. Directive #3 stipulates that long-term care homes may admit only essential visitors and its definition of “essential visitors” does not include family members and loved ones. The directive includes one exception: a dying resident may receive a single visitor who agrees to wear personal protective equipment and to follow strict rules. During the ongoing pandemic, we have facilitated – and welcomed – a handful of these visits.
Perley Rideau continues to advocate for a phased-in approach to visitation based on the latest medical evidence and risk analysis. Several family members have provided excellent suggestions about how to re-instate face-to-face visits responsibly and we have incorporated their ideas into the draft approach we will be sharing with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Many of you have shared your views on the harm caused by the ban on face-to-face visits. Please know that we empathize with you, support your position and continue to seek approval from the Ministry to allow in-person visits.
Chief Operating Officer,
Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre
- Starting Monday, June 1, Father Paul will resume Mass services in Lupton Hall.
- To respect social distancing, there will be three services per week from Monday through Wednesday.
- Each service will support residents in a specific building.
- These services will be supported by activity staff and safety protocols will be guided by the Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall with more details to follow in the coming days.
- Now that the COVID-19 outbreak has ended, as of June 1, residents will again receive their second bath/shower each week.
- Physiotherapy non-essential services with residents will be gradually resuming. Assessments and treatments for one-to-one care for residents most in need are in progress.
- Group exercise classes in small ratios will resume in the next few weeks.
- The Occupational Therapy team can immediately resume non-essential services with residents such as hand therapy, power wheelchair assessments, ROHO cushion checks, and ADP wheelchair/seating assessments.
- On Monday, June 1, we will return to our regular menu and therapeutic diets. The emergency menu was in place for three weeks and four days and served its purpose to get us through a challenging time.
- We will continue with the meal times: Breakfast: 7:30am to 9:30am; Lunch: 11:30am to 1:00pm; Supper: 5:00pm to 6:30pm.
- These extended meal times allow for a more staggered approach for resident’s entering the dining room to encourage/promote social distancing and to continue assisting residents with hand hygiene.
- We continue to allow residents to enter the dining room at their leisure.
- We thank you for your understanding and support throughout this process.
May 26, 2020
After the Outbreak: Balancing Benefits and Risks during a Pandemic
The COVID-19 outbreak was declared over at the Perley Rideau at 11:59 pm on May 25th, the 40th day since a staff member tested positive for the virus.
During the outbreak, 55 individuals – residents and staff – tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 21 residents with the virus, 10 recovered and 11 passed away. On behalf of the entire Perley Rideau community, I express our deepest sympathies to the families, friends and caregivers of those residents. During this outbreak, 34 staff members tested positive for the virus, all recovered and were warmly welcomed back to the Perley Rideau community.
More than a month ago, the Government of Ontario ordered all long-term care homes to ban non-essential visitors as one of many measures designed to stop community spread of COVID-19. Now that our residents and staff are free of COVID-19 and some community restrictions are beginning to lift, the no-visitors policy is increasingly being questioned. In many ways, visitation policies touch on the fundamental challenge of long-term care: maximizing residents’ quality of life while protecting the health of both residents and staff.
There is no doubt that visits from family, friends and volunteers make an essential contribution to the health and well-being of residents. These visits also benefit our staff and form the fabric of our vibrant seniors’ village. However, the vulnerability of our residents requires us to manage visitation with extreme caution while adhering to provincial guidance. Today, visitation is restricted to only very ill residents at end of life and limited to one person at a time wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
During this outbreak, the first six residents to test positive for the virus did not exhibit any symptoms; an invisible enemy had to be confronted. The virus continues to spread outside our village. The fact is: although we long for the days of open visitor access and extended stays, this virus will be with us for some time and it is unlikely that we will be able to freely welcome visitors again in the near future.
What is certain, however, is that we will we will continue to work with government to develop our visitation policy as we learn more about COVID-19 and how to contain it effectively. To do so, we will follow our standard approach: respect the law and government guidelines, and consult closely with medical officials and our community. Three independent Councils – Family and Friends, Veteran Residents, and Community Residents – facilitate our community consultations. We are thankful for the wisdom, perspective and feedback each Council provides on a wide range of policies and initiatives. The Perley Rideau’s relationship with these Councils is part of what sets us apart.
A growing research capacity also sets us apart. Last year, we established the Centre of Excellence in Frailty-Informed Care ™ to lead and disseminate much-needed research in how to care for Canada’s burgeoning population of frail seniors. The Centre of Excellence is leading a research project into the impacts of social isolation on frail seniors during the pandemic and this work will help inform our decisions and guide our actions.
On this first post-COVID-19 day, our community will take the time to remember and grieve for the residents we lost to this virus. We will reflect on a hard-fought battle in a long and drawn out war. I’m proud of how the Perley Rideau community – residents, staff, as well as their families and friends – continues to pull together during this extraordinary time.
Guided by the members of the Command Centre and supported by our Board of Directors, we will continue to plan, adapt and implement for this new, next phase. I commit to keep families and supporters frequently updated.
I thank you for your comments and encourage your questions and feedback in the days ahead. By continuing to work together, I’m confident that we will emerge from this stronger – and wiser.
- Please watch a video honouring the end of the outbreak including a message from Music Therapist Kelsea Harris and a congratulations to staff from Kris Birchard, Chair of the Board of Directors of The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre. (CLICK HERE)
Akos Hoffer, CEO
- Watch the recent video updates on the Perley Rideau life: CLICK HERE
- Read the May 29, 2020 Media Release: CLICK HERE
- Read about some of the highlights of pandemic planning at the Perley Rideau: CLICK HERE (updated 8am, May 5, 2020)
- View our new PPE handout for individuals visiting residents who are very ill and end of life: CLICK HERE
- To read previous communications about COVID-19, visit our "In The News" webpage: CLICK HERE
- View our archive of communications with apartment tenants: CLICK HERE
Enhanced protections to keep our community safe
NOTE: Community protections will remain in place to end of the Ontario government's Declaration of Emergency.
In keeping with the new directions from Public Health and the Government of Ontario, only staff are allowed into the facility at this time.
This decision has been taken to limit community exposure and the risk of virus spread. This decision was not taken lightly and we realize that this is an inconvenience to residents and families.
We have changed our face mask protocols for staff to prevent asymptomatic transmission of respiratory illness such as COVID-19. To support these efforts, all staff are now being provided with masks to wear at all times. We continue to follow standard personal protective equipment (PPE) practices for residents on contact/droplet precautions.
Effective April 14, 2020, we will follow the Ministry's guidance that Long-Term Care employees work at only one setting.
We encourage all members of the Perley Rideau community – residents, family members, staff and volunteers – to support one another during this challenging time. Families are asked to care from a distance. Please follow the provincial directive to stay home to stay safe.
Families and friends are asked to avoid making unplanned window visits. We want to respect social distancing -- even among visitors to our property -- and to protect resident privacy.
To arrange communication with your loved one, please contact the Family Helpline (613-520-2980) or email Skypeteam@prvhc.com and staff will help coordinate the various communications options.
*The Family Helpline is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. If our support person is not available to answer your call, please leave a message and expect a response within one business day.
Volunteers are not permitted entry. We look forward to the end of this pandemic when this impressive team of 400+ can return to support our residents and staff.
Packages and Gifts
Please do not attempt to deliver an item directly to the Commissionaire at the Main Entrance as this places them in the difficult position of having to refuse the delivery.
The Health Centre continues to receive deliveries from Canada Post and to distribute these items to residents.
At this time, all non-essential care packages will no longer be accepted, including food items.
Essential items include:
- Medical equipment and assistive devices that are typically provided by the resident / family (e.g. hearing aids, glasses)
- Items that the care team has requested the resident / family replace (e.g. clothing that requires repair, communication or technology devices for health and well-being)
- Items specified in a resident’s care plan that are typically provided by the resident / family (e.g. cigarettes)
Essential items are accepted at the loading dock Monday to Friday between 8am and 3pm. Where possible, items will remain at the loading dock for three days prior to delivery to reduce the risk of infection. If you are delivering an essential item, we ask that you provide sufficient quantity to last one month if possible. This promotes social distancing and reduces the risk associated with frequent deliveries.
For questions about essential packages, please contact the Family Helpline.
The onsite pharmacy, is now accepting phone orders from families to purchase personal care items for a loved one. These are the typical items purchased at a pharmacy including incontinence products. The hours of operation are from 8 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday and the phone number is 613.526-7205. Over the phone, staff will accept payment and provide details on delivery.
Continuing Programs/Services for Residents
- Therapeutic Recreation and Creative Arts (modified to align with outbreak measures)
- Occupational Therapy
- Perley Rideau Dental Clinic (emergencies only, determined on a case-by-case basis)
- Medical Pharmacies
- Cafeteria (access is restricted to respect social distancing)
- Finance Office
- Phone calls, Skype and Facetime with families (coordinated through the Therapeutic Recreation and Creative Arts Programming team)
- This can be arranged though the team at Skypeteam@prvhc.com.
We ask for your patience and support as we launch these new services and make every effort to support our large community of residents.
Thank you for your understanding as we continue to work to ensure that residents have that best possible care and quality of life during these extraodinary times.
Questions or comments, please contact:
Director of Communications
- The Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre
- 1750 Russell Road
- Ottawa, ON.
- K1G 5Z6
- Phone: ext.2207
- Fax: 613-526-7186
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org