The Covid scare and the lack of support from family and friends during such tough times has been difficult on the residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities but with the government relaxing restrictions, facilities in Burns Lake have started allowing visitations.
The government announced in the first week of July that long-term care facilities would be loosening the restrictions around visitation. This move came after months of strict lock-down for these facilities where families and friends were not allowed to visit the residents for their own safety and for others.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made the announcement to final relax these restrictions.
“I know that for many seniors in long-term care the pain has been immense,” she said. “You have suffered more than others.”
Based on Dr. Henry’s guidelines, the Tweedsmuir House, a local assisted living facility in Burns Lake, is restarting visits and have relaxed some of their internal restrictions.
“We are eating meals out in the dining area now,” said an elated Edna Roth, a Tweedsmuir House resident who also celebrated her eight-first birthday a couple of week back with her family and friends.
Roth had earlier expressed as to how lonely this time was with no visitations and reduced internal communication among the residents due to the suspension of common area activities. However, with the restrictions being lifted, things are looking up for her and others living at the facility.
Roni Larsen, the Tweedsmuir House manager told Lakes District News that she had received revised updates around visitation and a gradual implementation for visitation under those guidelines had already begun.
“We are allowing visitors. Basically what will have to happen is, as long as there is no Covid in the facility, we will allow visits. So things like one family member at a time, they have to still social distance, people will have to be screened would be in place.”
Larsen however said that since the facility is assisted-living and not long-term care and the residents can leave the facility to go grocery shopping, meet with family etc., she hopes that the residents and their family are careful and take the necessary precautions.
The Pines on the other hand, which is a 35-bed long-term care facility operated by Northern Health (NH) resumed some visits last week. Eryn Collins, the spokesperson for NH said that there would still be some restrictions in place and it wouldn’t be a “free-for-all” visitation.
At The Pines, visiting is limited to visiting hours but the visits don’t have to be arranged in advance as long as it is only one visitor at a time per resident. The visiting hours are between nine and 11 in the morning and one to four in the afternoon. Collins said that visitors should also expect that they would be met by a designated staff member to be screened and be given instructions around any personal protective equipment that they need. Visitors coming to The Pines are also being asked to bring and wear a non-medical face covering or mask for the duration of their visit.
“We are very pleased that this access is able to open back up some what and what we have in place at this time is aimed at making sure everyone remains safe and healthy,” she said.
“We will be keeping an eye on reviewing how this goes and there is the potential for the visiting processes and protocols to change again.”