You likely have heard a lot of information in the news about the Novel Coronavirus, called COVID-19, in recent days as the growth of this virus rises in Canada and around the world. As a company dedicated to compassionate and healthy care, we have been actively monitoring the progression of the virus and guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
We believe that home remains the safest place for you or your loved one, as indications show that the virus is spread more quickly in larger group or public settings. Possible exposure will remain the lowest for those who are able to stay in their homes with limited outside contact. For this reason, we feel fortunate to be able to provide care that can keep people at home and limit their exposure through personalized care and support.
And while most cases of COVID-19 are mild, causing only fever and cough, a small percentage of cases become severe and may progress quickly, particularly in the elderly and among people with underlying medical conditions. Because this is the primary population that we serve, we understand you may have concerns. For that reason, we want to share with you how our organization is responding to the threat of COVID-19.
We are following updates and procedures from the PHAC, CDC, provincial Ministries of Health, local authorities and other agencies and resources.
We are vigilant about our need to help protect our staff and clients from illness be it the flu, COVID-19, or any other communicable disease.
The following are some of the protocols and procedures we have in place.
- Our staff is trained in infectious disease control.
- Our caregivers should not care for those who exhibit signs of or have been tested positive for the virus as a safekeeping measure for themselves and for their other clients and families.
- Our caregivers have an established protocol to stay home if they are ill with any sickness so as to not infect any of our clients or their family members.
- Our staff follows hygiene procedures directed by the PHAC, including vigorous and frequent handwashing with soap and water, use of sanitizing gels (with 70% alcohol level or higher), use of disinfectant wipes to frequently wipe down surfaces, proper coughing and sneezing techniques, disposal of any items that may have virus or bacteria, and much more.
- If any of our staff or their clients should show signs of COVID-19, we will report, isolate and quarantine, as necessary, abiding by national and local guidelines.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including under the nails. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 70% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as these are entry points for the virus.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Regularly clean and disinfect objects and surfaces, such as cell phones, telephones, TV remotes, doorknobs, faucet handles, steering wheels, counters and tabletops.
- Eat well, drink lots of water and get rest to keep your immune system healthy.
- Have a family emergency preparedness plan that includes care coverage and back-up support.
- Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.
- Avoid crowds and, wherever possible, practice “social distancing” of remaining at a distance of 2 metres away from strangers, as recommended by the PHAC.
- If you have underlying medical issues that put you in the high-risk category, avoid large public gatherings or other places outside the home. Limit your contact with others. Maintain a distance of 2 metres from others where possible.
Contingency Planning for You or Your Loved One
- Depending on the severity of the spread of illness in communities or the response taken by national and provincial authorities (ex. mandatory isolation, closure of schools, etc.), our staffing levels may be affected.
- We will make every effort possible to provide our clients with safe and appropriate care and seek to avoid canceling shifts. However, we cannot guarantee this will not occur given the uncertainties about this situation.
- At all times, we strongly recommend that our clients have alternative arrangements for the provision of care in the event we are unable to provide services. We encourage you to begin considering and putting into place back-up plans now, as the severity of the spread of this illness and planned interventions is still uncertain.
- As new information becomes available, we will share that with our staff and clients. You can learn more here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html