ARNPRIOR – Arnprior’s hospital and long-term care home is once again allowing visitor access, but under COVID-19 precautions.
“When the COVID-19 outbreak struck, Arnprior Regional Health (ARH), in line with the government’s directive, restricted visitor access to essential visitors only (loved ones of a resident or patient who is dying),” the ARH released in a statement today (June 30). “As part of the regional approach to increase clinical services, ARH is now gradually and safely reintroducing visits for all patients at the Hospital and residents at the Grove Nursing Home.”
“We recognize that these times have been very difficult for patients, residents and their families who have not been able to visit in person,” ARH vice president, Patient and Resident Services and Chief Nursing Executive Susan Leach said. “There is still a need to mitigate the COVID-19 risk to patients, residents and staff while balancing the mental, physical and spiritual needs of patients and residents for their quality of life.”
The Grove Nursing Home launched outdoor visits for residents and families in accordance with the new Ministry of Long-Term Care guidelines. The Grove team put in place the necessary safety measures and policies that include:
- Screening each family member prior to every visit.
- Confirming each visitor has attested that they have been swabbed for COVID-19 and had negative results within the past 14 days.
- Ensuring each family member brings and wears a face cover (i.e. cloth mask) during visits.
- Only approved essential visitors remain permitted to visit inside the Grove.
“Our families have been incredibly supportive and understanding of these necessary restrictions through the COVID-19 outbreak,” Director of Care, Grove Nursing Home Judith Gilchrist said. “Over the months, they have adjusted to visiting through video chats or window visits, but it’s been difficult to not have the in-person connection. I am so thrilled for our residents and families that we are in the situation to responsibly and safely introduce outdoor visits in our garden.”
The outdoor visits were first trialled and then launched officially on June 22. Faith Black, the daughter of a Grove resident, describes her experience.
“I have been able to have many window visits with my father since the pandemic began and I have all the confidence in the world with the care the Grove team has been providing my dad,” she said. “When I arrived for my first visit, I felt like a child again. Seeing my father right there, as plain as could be, I almost forgot to put the car in park. Although I had to wear a mask and couldn’t hug him, I was able to see and hear him clearly. I can’t wait for more visits with my dad – and I know this is one step closer to being able to hug my dad again.”
The inpatient unit has also restarted visiting for all patients with new safety protocols in place. Each patient is asked to determine their care partner and the person can schedule a weekly 30-minute visit through the inpatient unit team. The safety protocols include:
- The care partner goes through active screening, must wear a face mask for their visit, and observe physical distancing from the patient and others. Visits are facilitated in one of four visiting stations.
- The care partner is accompanied from entrance to visiting station by a designated staff person.
The hospital’s Patient and Family Advisory committee was involved in decision-making of how to gradually reintroduce visiting on the Inpatient Unit.
“As the chair of the Patient Family Advisory committee (PFAC), I am pleased that ARH is expanding visits for patients at the hospital,” Laura Young said. “ARH has worked hard to do all they can to prevent the spread of disease and protect the patients, the dedicated staff, and visitors. PFAC supports the Hospital at this time as they continue to not only keep patients safe, and support the well-being of patients, but also take careful efforts to slowly and safely expand upon visiting for the inpatient unit. The PFAC looks forward to continuing to support the Hospital during these unprecedented times.
All visits must be approved and scheduled by the Grove Nursing Home team or inpatient unit team.