Effective October 5, the City of Toronto’s Long-Term Care Homes (LTC) will be restricting entrance to staff members, essential visitors and essential caregivers. This is the result of recent measures announced by the provincial government to ensure that all long-term care homes in areas of highest community spread continue to keep residents safe from the rising threat of COVID-19.
“The health, safety and well-being of residents, clients, families and staff members in the City’s long-term care homes remains at the highest level of our pandemic priority list,” said Mayor John Tory. “The City’s long-term care homes continue to be at the forefront of advanced COVID-19 mitigation and prevention measures, often implementing these protocols before they become the industry standard.”
An essential visitor includes a person visiting a very ill or palliative resident. An essential caregiver provides direct support to the resident, such as feeding, personal hygiene or assistance in decision-making. This person could be a family member, from the resident’s chosen family or a privately-hired caregiver. Essential visitors and essential caregivers may visit even if the home is experiencing an outbreak.
Essential caregivers must verbally attest to home staff that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous two weeks and have not subsequently tested positive; they must pass active screening, including taking their temperature before entering the home; and must receive training on COVID-19, infection prevention and control (IPAC) and personal protective equipment (PPE) practices. All essential caregivers, up to two per resident, must be registered with the LTC home.
Indoor and outdoor visits are cancelled. Virtual visits will continue and their frequency will be increased to meet the demand for residents without essential caregivers.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and impact people around the world, the health, safety and well-being of the residents at City of Toronto’s long-term care (LTC) homes, their families and the staff members who look after them continue to be a priority.
The City’s 10 long-term care homes are focused on following Ministry of Health, Ministry of Long-Term Care and Toronto Public Health (TPH) guidelines and sector best practices to keep residents and staff members safe.
The City’s long-term care preventative measures include:
- Enforcing enhanced active screening early, including taking temperatures twice daily for anyone entering the LTC homes
- Enforcing masking protocols at all times
- Enhancing infection, prevention and control (IPAC) practices and procedures including staff education, high-touch cleaning and disinfection
- Active surveillance and precautions, including isolation of residents if appropriate and necessary
- Maintenance of physical distancing at all times
- Use of personal protective equipment – mask, isolation gown, gloves and eye protection
- Staff members are tested every two weeks and do not come to work or return to work until they are symptom-free
- Staff have declared a single employer and are only working in one LTC home for the duration of the pandemic
- Working with TPH and hospital partners to perform independent IPAC audits in the City’s LTC homes.
Staffing is also a major focus. As such, in City of Toronto LTC homes, resources have been added by reassigning divisional and management staff, maximizing front-line staff availability, hiring and redeploying staff from other City divisions and using overtime, if required.
Regular communication with all stakeholders ensures any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 are communicated to residents, their families and staff members at the home.
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check toronto.ca/covid-19 for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.