Information Shared on November 19, 2020:
We are immensely proud of Ocean View’s success with infection prevention during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this time, those outside of our nursing home have taken notice of our success, and our ability to rise to the challenges presented by the pandemic.
During this time, the province has also recognized that supporting long term care (LTC) homes differently to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is key. Regional Care Units are a part of this plan.
Regional Care Units will allow LTC residents who are ill with COVID-19 to be transferred to a space where they can be cared for by teams who are specially focused on COVID-19 infection prevention and care.
Infection Prevention and Control Canada (IPAC) supports the Regional Care Units as best practice. Regional Care Units:
For a variety of reasons, the Department of Health & Wellness and NSHA have chosen us to manage a Regional Care Unit on our property at 1909 Caldwell Rd in Eastern Passage. This Regional Care Unit (RCU) may care for residents from a number of our fellow local nursing homes, should they fall ill with COVID-19.
As an organization whose vision is to be the community of choice for Nova Scotian’s needing support, we feel it’s our duty to be a part of this solution. We also feel that playing this part in the solution fits well with our values of innovation and collaboration.
Through conversation with our team and residents over the past weeks, we have been pleased and proud to hear that they also believe it is our duty to help in this way.
The RCU will operate as a stand-alone unit, located in the part of our building known as Harbourside. The RCU space will be totally separated from Ocean View’s space. Our Ocean View community will remember how successful our separate Outbreak Unit was during the first wave of COVID – the RCU will build on that concept, but will be even further closed off and securely separated.
We have chosen the Harbourside space to dedicate to the RCU for exactly this reason – it can be accessed via exterior doors and the secure North tunnel. For those who are not aware, we think it’s important to let you know that the North tunnel is not frequented by residents or Ocean View staff.
The RCU will hire its own dedicated staff group, who will not travel into Ocean View’s resident areas, and will remain in the RCU at all times during their shifts.
Above all, please know that we care deeply for the safety of our residents, staff and community. We would not have agreed to operate the RCU on our property if we did not believe we could do it in a safe way. We have worked with Infection Prevention and Control consultants in the planning of the RCU, and are confident in their assessment that we can operate the RCU safely.
We hope the images below will help you envision how the RCU will operate, and be kept totally separate from Ocean View resident life.
Footprint of Regional Care Unit at 1909 Caldwell Rd.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
about the RCU at Ocean View
We expect you will have some questions.
Here are some answers to some of the things you may be asking:
What does this mean for existing residents?
As we have consulted residents about the RCU at Ocean View, it has been heartwarming to hear them echo our belief that we have a duty to help. They were in favour of us doing what we can to help all seniors through this challenging time.
We believe the fact that Ocean View has been asked to partner in this effort with DHW and NSHA should make you more confident than ever before that Ocean View is the best place to keep you or your loved one safe during the pandemic. The faith that they have in us to manage the RCU speaks volumes.
The opening of the RCU at Ocean View also means that our residents should not have to transfer to a Regional Care Unit at another facility or in another community should they become ill with COVID-19.
The opening of the RCU at Ocean View will not impact the types of visitation and other loosening of restrictions at Ocean View. We will continue to make decisions about restrictions based on the advice of Public Health to all LTC homes, what we are observing with current epidemiology, and our comfort level based on cases in our community. However, Indoor Visits which were happening in the Harbourside space will need to move to another part of the building.
The opening of the RCU at Ocean View does mean that residents who previously called the Harbourside neighbourhood home will be living in other areas of the building much longer than you may have expected. We are confident that they will be able to settle comfortably into their new surroundings and feel safe there during this time.
Otherwise, residents will continue to receive the same level of excellent care they have come to expect from us. We will continue to protect them from COVID-19 with the infection prevention practices that have now become second-nature to us.
Every step of the way as we have planned for the RCU, we have carefully considered the safety of all of our stakeholders, and especially our residents. This is why the physical footprint of the RCU will be totally separate from the footprint of Ocean View Continuing Care Centre. We are committed to the safety of those we serve.
You have worked so hard to keep COVID-19 out of Ocean View. Will this introduce COVID-19 to Ocean View?
We care deeply for the safety of our residents, staff and community. We would not have agreed to operate the RCU on our property if we did not believe we could do it in a safe way.
The Regional Care Unit (RCU) space will be totally separate from Ocean View’s space. We chose the Harbourside space to dedicate to the RCU because it’s accessible via exterior doors and the secure North tunnel. The RCU will have it’s own dedicated staff group, who will not travel into Ocean View’s resident areas, and will remain in the RCU at all times during their shifts. LTC residents within the RCU will also not travel into Ocean View resident areas for any reason.
We have heard questions about air exchange between this unit and the rest of our Ocean View resident spaces, and want to assure you that the Regional Care Unit has a separate air handling system.
We have worked with Infection Prevention and Control consultants in the planning of the RCU. They have reviewed our plans and visited our space, and expressed confidence that we can operate the RCU safely.
It might be helpful to envision Ocean View Continuing Care Centre and the Regional Care Unit as a duplex. Although two families living in adjoined homes in a duplex do share a wall and may share some external services, like food delivery or dry cleaning, they live totally separate lives. This is our vision for the RCU.
How will it impact staffing at Ocean View?
The Regional Care Unit (RCU) will hire an entire staff that is dedicated to the care of residents in the RCU, including nurses, CCAs, diet aide, maintenance and housekeeping. This staff group will be recruited with the support of the Department of Health and Wellness and the NSHA.
However, we sincerely hope that the RCU is not needed and that Nova Scotia is successful in keeping COVID-19 at bay. If that is the case, should there not yet be any residents in the RCU, the staff recruited for these positions will be able to help within our Ocean View facility. However, it’s important to know, once these staff have begun working in the RCU they will not be able to work within Ocean View until they are cleared to safely return based on Public Health guidance.
Will Ocean View staff be required to work in the RCU?
The Regional Care Unit (RCU) will hire an entire staff that is dedicated to the care of residents in the RCU, including nurses, CCAs, diet aide, maintenance and housekeeping.This staff group will be recruited with the support of the Department of Health and Wellness and the NSHA.
Ocean View staff will have the option to apply to become part of the RCU team and will receive further information on itacit. These staff would work as any other RCU staff person – working only within the RCU while it is open, and only returning to work within Ocean View when they have ceased working in the RCU and are cleared to safely return based on Public Health guidance.
What about meals and diet aides – will they go back and forth?
As we did with our Outbreak Unit during the first wave of COVID-19, we have developed specific infection prevention processes for the RCU, including those for food service. The RCU staff group hired will include those who will serve meals within the RCU.
Meals for the RCU will be prepared in the Ocean View kitchen and will be delivered via the North Tunnel. However, this is where the involvement of Ocean View’s team will end.
A staff person from the RCU will retrieve the meals from the tunnel without coming into contact with any Ocean View staff persons. This RCU staff person will serve the meals within the RCU, and will handle the cleaning / disposal of all dishes, utensils, etc. within the RCU.
When the meal is over, the food cart will be rigorously disinfected before leaving the RCU into the North Tunnel. An Ocean View staff person will then disinfect the cart again before returning it to the Ocean View kitchen.
Will laundry from the RCU be washed with Ocean View laundry?
As we did with our Outbreak Unit during the first wave of COVID-19, we have developed specific infection prevention processes for the RCU, including those for laundry service. A separate shift (evening/night) of laundry staff will be hired to clean the laundry from the RCU.
Laundry will be transported to and from the RCU via the North tunnel and service elevator on a cart, which will be rigorously disinfected when it is placed in the North tunnel, and by the staff person retrieving it to be washed. Dirty laundry will be double bagged and transported inside closed-lid rubbermaid containers. Laundry staff will be required to wear PPE while handling the laundry, and all laundry machines will be disinfected after use. Clean laundry will then be returned to the RCU using the service elevator and the North tunnel.
We have heard that recruiting staff is already difficult in long term care. How do you plan to recruit these folks?
We are confident that there are nurses, CCAs, and other folks in our community who will want to step up and make a difference during the pandemic in this very unique way by joining the Regional Care Unit.
We have a specific recruitment plan, with the support of the Department of Health & Wellness and NSHA, that is unique and separate from our regular recruitment plan, to help us find these special folks.
How will you keep the surrounding community safe?
Residents being transferred to the Regional Care Unit (RCU) at Ocean View will travel directly from their home facility to the RCU via EHS. They will not be travelling outside of the facility into the Eastern Passage community during their stay.
Staff working within the RCU will be trained and educated on infection prevention and control practices which will keep them safe from COVID-19, preventing spread into their community.
We have also worked with Infection Prevention and Control consultants in the planning of the RCU. They have reviewed our plans and assessed the RCU space, and expressed confidence that we can operate the RCU safely with infection prevention in mind.
If you have further questions and concerns, we invite you to call our dedicated RCU Updates line at 902-465-6020 ext. 2143 or email firstname.lastname@example.org