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Mois de la Fierté
Sturgeon Falls resident Bill Gingras finally had an opportunity to visit with his mother Carmen at the Au Château this past week as carefully controlled visits we instituted.
Class of 2020 / Bravo aux Diplômés
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Semaine nationale de l'action bénévole
by Isabel Mosseler
July 08 2020
Families with members residing in long-term care homes have had it very tough during the COVID-19 pandemic, which kept them physically apart for months, but they are now able to get together again - albeit in a very different way and with major precautions.
Since early March, the Au Château Home for the Aged has been in a lockdown to prevent an outbreak. Family members could only visit residents through a closed window or virtually through Facetime or Messenger. This has been terribly hard for families who were accustomed to visiting on a daily or weekly basis. Even family milestones, like birthdays and anniversaries, had to be celebrated apart. However the sacrifices paid off, as Au Château has so far managed to avoid an outbreak, unlike other long-term care homes in the province and even in North Bay, Sudbury and Parry Sound.
In late June, it was announced that in-person visits could gradually resume. Before everyone got too excited, however, they were cautioned that there would be strict guidelines, imposed by the Ministry of Health, to ensure the safety of residents, staff and visitors. The role of managing visits at Au Chateau is assumed by Liane Leblanc, Coordinator of Resident Services, who manages the Activities Department. She notes that only one family member can visit at a time, and every person must undergo Covid-19 testing and receive a negative result before they visit. Leblanc says the turnaround for testing is usually 3 to 4 days.
Au Château has set up three family visiting areas outside, under shade, where one family member can visit. “They are outside and they have to keep their 6 feet distancing and the family has to have a mask at all times,” she explains. Visits are 35 to 45 minutes and then the resident is brought back inside.
“When we first started it was the window visit. At that time we had to keep the window closed. We had a phone inside and they would call on phone and we put it on speaker. Now with a bit of restriction lifted, we can open the window but the family has to wear masks. At this point we are not accepting any family members in the home,” says Leblanc. “A lot of family members ask when we’re going to open. We can’t. Our priority right now is our residents.”
While Au Château is following Health Unit and Ministry of Health guidelines, they also put in some extra measures. “We are screening everybody, every staff, coming in and going out every day.” Temperatures are taken and everyone has to fill out a questionnaire, and staff is re-tested for Covid-19 every 2 weeks.