June 1, 2020

Dear family and friends of the hospice,

As you are aware, the COVID-19 virus is in our community and we are taking this situation very, very seriously. Your health and the wellbeing of your loved one is very important to us. Our staff is committed to providing 24/7 care. As a healthcare facility, we are taking steps to protect out residents and our health care team, but we need your cooperation to do so.

We have put in place some precautions by asking staff to wear masks, goggles and gloves as indicated, however, we do not have sufficient Personal Protecting Equipment (PPE) should we be in contact with someone who may potentially or who does have the COVID-19 virus. Without proper protection, we face and increased risk of spreading the virus to you, your loved one, as well as the rest of our staff.

Here’s how you can help us manage the risk:

  • As directed by Hospice Palliative Care Ontario, we must restrict visitors to only 2 per resident daily. All visitors will continue to be actively screened prior to entry to the facility.

  • We are requesting that visitors practice social isolation from the home setting to the hospice. This includes practicing social distancing when not at the hospice, NOT stopping for groceries/gas/errands prior to presenting to hospice and ensuring the use of Personal Protective Equipment and hand washing as directed by the hospice Care Team

  • Limit the number of times you leave hospice and return. One visit per day is preferable to minimize the risk. Visitors will not be permitted in and out of the hospice numerous times during your visit. This increases the risk of exposure and workload for the hospice Care Team whose main focus is the care of your loved one
  • If you are experiencing any respiratory symptoms, such as cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat or fever, you must notify us immediately and stay home. 
  • Visiting hours are between 10am-7pm. If you are spending the night at the hospice, you must arrive before 7pm. We cannot safely screen visitors outside these times.
  • Once in the building for the night, the doors are locked until 7am. Family members staying over will not be permitted to go in and out through the night.
  • Important: We ask that while your loved one is a resident at the hospice, that you practice social distancing when not visiting the hospice. This would mean that you change your everyday routines to avoid coming into close contact with others including: 
    • Avoiding crowded place and non-essential gatherings
    • Avoiding common greetings, such as handshakes
    • Limiting contact with people at higher risk (e.g. older adults and those in poor health)
    • Keeping a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 meters) from others, as much as possible
  • Please know that if your loved one has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 you would need to quarantine at home for 14 days
  • The Ministry of Health recommends that if you are over the age of 70, immunocompromised, or have a chronic condition, for your own protection, that you self-isolate and not come to hospice
  • Please encourage family members and friends who are not able to visit to stay in touch by phone or video chats
  • You can reduce your risk by not touching your face and washing your hands. Follow the steps on our handwashing posters, especially upon entering and leaving the building as well as the public washroom. We cannot allow visitors to use in room washrooms.

For more information, contact the North Bay-Parry Sound District Health Unit at 705-474-1400 or visit https://www.myhealthunit.ca/en/index.asp

We are happy to answer your questions and any concerns you may have. We know this can be a very stressful and difficult time for you, your family and friends and it is with great compassion that we convey to you how much we appreciate your cooperation to help ensure we stay as healthy as possible during these uncertain times.

Thank you very much for your cooperation,

Nipissing Serenity Hospice Care Team