Berwick Retirement Communities locations across B.C. are taking extra precautions to protect residents and staff amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Supplied by Berwick Retirement Communities)

Greater Victoria retirement homes limit non-essential visits, take safety precautions

‘Safety of residents and staff is paramount,’ says Berwick Retirement Communities spokesperson

Retirement homes across B.C. are taking extra precautions to protect seniors in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After news of the coronavirus cases at the Lynn Valley Care Centre, care homes across the province, such as the Berwick Retirement Communities and Atria Retirement Canada, began taking proactive precautions at “hyper-speed,” explained Victoria-based Berwick spokesperson Lesley Sikorski.

COVID-19 was on staff’s radar for weeks, she noted, because in order to protect the vulnerable senior population, extra supplies needed to be ordered, hand sanitizer stations needed to be set up and extra cleaning crews needed to be hired.

READ ALSO: Baby boy among the latest COVID-19 cases, as Canadian cases rise to almost 150

“Safety of residents and staff is paramount,” she said. “We’re going over and above what needs to be done.”

To protect residents and staff from infection, the care home chain has asked that only essential visits be made and a “pre-screening process” has been implemented for everyone who enters the facilities – including staff, delivery workers and cleaning personnel, Sikorski explained. The screening includes a series of questions to “to reduce the risk of potential exposure to infection from the community.”

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Trudeau goes into self-isolation over COVID-19

Answering yes to any of the questions results in the visitor being asked to stay away for two weeks, Sikorski explained.

A warning on the care home chain’s website asks that essential visits take place in resident suites rather than in public areas and that guests ensure they’re healthy before coming. Hand sanitizer is also provided throughout the facilities.

All Berwick locations held meetings with residents on March 11 to explain protocols and keep residents up to date on what precautions are being taken so they can take an active role, Sikorski explained. They were shown a video on proper hand-washing techniques, given a refresher on “cough etiquette” and walked through an outbreak scenario.

READ ALSO: Tom Hanks and his wife test positive for coronavirus

According to a letter sent to residents and their families and friends, all community events, large-group outings, private dining events, guest meals and guest suite stays have also been cancelled.

Sikorski said Berwick residents are concerned but they are pleased with the open communication. She added they’ve taken the situation very seriously and gotten on board with safety protocols.

“They’ve been supporting each other,” Sikorski said.

She pointed out that the situation is changing on a daily basis but that Berwick is taking steps to limit risk, connecting with other care homes to see what they’re doing and keeping residents and their families up to date.

Currently, Sikorski feels “confident in the steps taken” to manage risks for residents.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fairfield gas station fire deemed arson

Police looking for witnesses, video of 2:30 a.m. April 5 fire

Outreach initiative connects Sooke seniors to support amid COVID-19

Volunteers encouraged to sign up as need increases

Victoria company compares drone footage of city streets between August and now

Fewer cars, people seen on streets and at landmarks

Sidney senior grateful for stranger’s help during medical incident

Hendrina Welter never caught a glimpse of the woman who helped her after she blacked out

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Bars, cannabis sector eligible for $40B credit program from government bank

Applicants must go through their own banks to access the program

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read