Directive from the Ministry of Health

Effective March 24, 2020

Dear Weinberg Families,

I hope this email finds you all well.

As per the March 24, 2020 directive from the Ministry of Health, the following updated policy direction to Assisted Living and Long Term Care Facilities are as follows:

“In an continued effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and to protect some of our most vulnerable people living in congregate care settings, the Provincial Health Officer has communicated the importance of taking extra precautions as this time. In this regard, the Ministry of Health has made decisions and provided policy direction specific to Long Term Care given the emergent need. We recognize the need to ensure that those same policy directions are applied to Assisted Living Facilities. I am writing to you today to communicate and confirm the following policy direction that pertains to Assisted Living Residences and to inform you of the impact of these policy decisions on your operations:

· limit visitors to essential visitors only (includes compassionate/end of life visits; ideally limiting to one visitor at a time per resident; and one visitor per resident, per day, where possible);
· limit resident outings from Assisted Living to essential outings only (such as medical appointments);
· temporarily suspend interfacility transfers (both across Assisted Living Facilities and to Long Term Care), except in circumstances of intolerable risk, until further notice. This includes the requirement to ensure clients’ placement on the wait list for transfer is maintained during the suspension of transfers;
· temporarily suspend admissions to Assisted Living Facilities from community, except in circumstances of intolerable risk until further notice. This includes the requirement to ensure clients’ placement on the wait list for admission is maintained during the suspension of admissions.

There is an identified risk in transferring patients between care settings and bringing seniors from the community into Assisted Living Facilities. Temporary suspension of admissions to Assisted Living and inter-facility transfers between facilities will enable health care staff to focus on increased surveillance and infection prevention protocols and prevent the spread of COVID-19 from asymptomatic individuals in the community.

To reduce risk of transmission of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health is directing AL and LTC facilities to suspend admissions and transfers of individuals except in instances of intolerable risk. In the event of an outbreak in any care facility (including AL) all transfer/admissions will be halted as per MHO direction.

Given the anticipated increased pressure in acute care from COVID-19, the Ministry has communicated the expectation that health authorities prioritize admissions to Long Term Care from acute care over those from Assisted Living and community, except in cases of intolerable risk. This may affect clients currently residing in AL but awaiting placement in LTC.

While temporarily suspending admissions to Assisted Living from the community may increase the demand for home care, the risk of spreading the virus outweighs this benefit. Given the Ministry’s efforts to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 from the community to Assisted Living and Long Term Care (e.g., restricting visitors) and recognizing the need to free up capacity in Long Term Care, we are directing the suspension of transfers from Assisted Living to Long Term Care, except in circumstances of intolerable risk.”

For further information please check the resources publicly available on COVID-19:
· BCCDC should be the primary source to access publicly available information about COVID-19: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)
· Provincial Health Officer is conducting daily press conferences to communicate direction and advice and confirm Coronavirus presence in BC

We will keep you updated of any changes.

Warm Regards,

Vanessa Trester, BA, MA (Gerontology)
Manager, Weinberg Residence
Tel: +1 (604) 267-4722 | Fax: +1 (604) 261-9644
vtrester@weinbergresidence.com

Lunadel Daclan
Manager Quality & Risk and Companion Program, Infection Control Practitioner
Louis Brier Home & Hospital and Weinberg Residence