Employees at United’s two communities are taking extra steps to keep residents, employees and visitors safe during the coronavirus outbreak. As expected there is heightened concern about COVID-19, and this can be amplified in light of what we are all seeing in the media, which can raise resident’s and employee’s level of anxiety. United’s employees are working to address concerns by providing timely, accurate information to residents and employees.
“Our experience with the annual flu seasons has given us a solid foundation to refine and build on our formal processes, which include an extensive prevention program, with an escalating series of procedures should one or more residents become ill,” said Nikki Bonsall, director of health and wellness.
On the prevention side, employees are doing more intensive cleaning in high-traffic areas, pulling all high-touch items, and information sessions are being conducted with residents and employees so they understand what they can do to help prevent infections. United has also aligned their employee processes to reflect or exceed current Alberta Health Services recommendations. Letters circulated to residents and employees requested that visitors be kept to a minimum and that anyone who has been out of the country in the past 14 days refrain from visiting the community for an additional 14 days.
“Preparation, information and education are two of the most important aspects of prevention,” said Nikki. “We have been in regular communication with residents and their families, and will continue to do so. We are in daily contact with Alberta Health Services to advise them on our status, but to also receive the latest information from reliable sources about what is happening in other communities. Information on the Internet and in the media may not be accurate, so we want to be sure our residents are getting the best information possible.”
There is excellent advice about the virus and prevention at the Alberta Health Services website.
And here is a link to an excellent YouTube video with Dr. Peter Lin, a family physician in Toronto, explaining in plain language, what the virus is and how we can all help prevent its spread.
United is evaluating its protocols daily, and should it become necessary, Nikki said that United will begin to take further measures such as limiting big gatherings and external visitors.
Kathy Cleary, United’s director of quality enhancement and innovation, is working alongside Nikki and the executive team to solidify the processes United needs, such as managing food and health supplies.
“Once we knew the virus had hit Alberta, we reacted quickly to get in front of it so that we are ready,” said Kathy. “Communication is important, so included in our handouts and our information sessions is information about how the virus is transmitted, and tips on prevention such as regular hand washing and hygiene.”
Both Nikki and Kathy are also asking for help from families, friends and other visitors. “An older population is at particular risk, so we’re asking all visitors to reflect on where they have been recently and why they are visiting,” said Kathy. “If the visit is not essential, we ask that you delay your visit until later. And if you’ve been travelling, we suggest waiting for at least two weeks before planning to visit, just to be on the safe side. The recent confirmed cases in Alberta were travelling out of the country, so we’re asking anyone who has recently travelled not to take the risk.
“The health and well-being of our residents and employees are paramount, so we’re asking everyone for their help to safeguard our community,” said Kathy.
Photos by Pixabay, Sherana Productions. Videos by Sherana Productions.
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To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.
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