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

Cycling scavenger hunt comes to Tweed City

Cyclists scour Oak Bay for clues in Bike to Work Week event

Colwood woman launches Adopt a Grad

Facebook page aims to support students during pandemic

Police warn of rental scams after Saanich resident nearly falls victim to one

Always see the home, meet the landlord in person before sending money, police say

Construction at Clover Point pump station causes wastewater spill

Residents advised to stay out of water near Clover Point

Grieving together, but apart: How funeral homes are handling the pandemic

‘Hugs are so important and right now hugs can’t happen’

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Yukon ready to lift COVID travel restrictions with B.C. in July: premier

Premier Sandy Silver says the territory’s health-care system can cope with the virus.

‘It is dire:’ Study finds B.C. logging continues on critical caribou habitat

The federal Species At Risk Act requires provinces to identify critical habitat for caribou herds

Most Read