April 30 Update

As you may have heard from Dr. Hinshaw yesterday afternoon (yes, just shortly after my email went out) there have been some official decisions and clarifications made in terms of outside visitation.  We’ve received the official Record of Decision from her office, and have some updates for you.

Please understand that we are concerned about the implications and risks that the outside visits present.  This will only work if we have compliance from everyone involved.  If we sense that the restrictions are not being adhered to, we will be forced to shut down outside visits indefinitely.

 According to the Record of Decision, residents are now allowed to visit outside with the following restrictions:

  1. The visit may only be with the designated essential visitor, and one other person
    1. The maximum number of people is 3, and this includes the resident(s).
    2. The third person must be a member of the same household as the designated essential visitor.  In other words, one daughter can’t visit one week, and then another daughter from another household the next week, etc.
    3. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit us, the residents all assigned who their designated visitor would be in case of emergency.  This designated person must stay constant, and can only be re-assigned in an extraordinary situation and if approved by Emmanuel Home.
  2. All visitors must be symptom free.
  3. All visitors must be masked for the entirety of their visit.  Emmanuel Home will not be providing masks for the visits, so the visitors must supply their own.
  4. If a resident cannot independently propel themselves to go outside, arrangements can be made with Emmanuel Home staff to assist with the outdoor visit.  However, please understand that our staffing resources are limited and we will do what we can to accommodate, but we may have be selective about the availability of that assistance.
  5. Everyone must stay 6 feet apart, at all times.  No quick hugs or secret handshakes (side note: if you actually have a secret handshake with one of our residents, I’d love to see it when this COVID-19 thing is over!)
  6. Visits may only happen between 9am-5pm.  This is to ensure that we have enough staff available to monitor everything.  Visits that happen outside of those hours will be immediately broken up and reported.
  7. We will have a few areas set up to facilitate the visits, where 6 feet is clearly demonstrated and space allowed from other traffic
  8. Be aware of groups drifting around and inadvertently merging into a group of 6 people.  This can’t happen.
  9. Obviously, we can’t have 30 people in our parking lot, even though there is a large space out there.  If we sense that we need to control that more, please understand and cooperate if you are asked by staff to wait for a few minutes until some other visits wrap up.  Also, if you have been visiting for a while, please understand and cooperate if you are asked to wrap up the visit shortly.  This will be essential in helping the entire process work for everyone.

NOTE:  Outside visits will begin on the morning of Monday, May 4th.  Until that time, including this coming weekend, please do not visit outside in the parking lot.  We need to make sure our ducks are in a row to be prepared for this.

Again, this move by Alberta Health is meant to address the growing emotional and psychological challenges for our residents.  While we certainly care deeply about our residents and their well-being, I think you’ve also likely picked up on my concern about outside visits over the last few emails.  We will be monitoring this closely.

We appreciate your cooperation in this all, and stay tuned for more updates as things progress.