Message from Bruce Mahony, Executive Director:
I am writing to provide a brief overview of how our Central Toronto office of Home Instead Senior Care continues to operate our home care services through this challenging time.
As Toronto begins Stage 3 of reopening, we continue to recognize the risks that COVID-19 present for our senior population and are delivering our services appropriately. To date, we have had no clients who have had, or are suspected of having COVID-19.
Our Central Toronto office was a first responder in developing and following best practice disease management procedures to limit the spread of COVID-19 . We are maintaining our strict disease management procedures throughout Stage 3 of reopening, and continue to actively monitor the spread of COVID-19 to ensure we are prepared for prompt action to protect the health and well-being of our clients, their families, our caregivers, and our administrative staff.
- Access to Proactive Industry Updates: As a Board member of Home Care Ontario, the industry association for home care services, I have been involved in 30+ meetings and received 200+ communications related to the COVID-19 pandemic, to date. We maintain a sub-committee of service provider organization executives, which holds a virtual meeting each Thursday morning, to ensure that we are sharing best practices and communicating the needs and challenges of senior care to the Ontario government. Many of us have been through similar situations, such as SARS in 2003, and due to this, we have experience and sophistication in dealing with this type of healthcare crisis.
- Office Operations: Throughout the pandemic, home care has been designated as an essential service, and has been available for seniors which require these services. With regard to our physical office, we consider ourselves to be an essential service for many of our clients and community service-sector partners and, as such, our physical office currently remains open, with Lisa and myself present. Our other administrative employees are working remotely on a virtual private network with full access to our telephone system. This allows us to continue to plan collaboratively and best respond to changing community requirements, while protecting the health and safety of our staff. As the longest-standing Home Instead Senior Care operator in Ontario, our office is very well established, enabling us to remain stable and weather this healthcare and economic crisis.
- Nursing Expertise: We have two very experienced clinical Registered Nurses on staff, who provide coaching, guidance, and decision-making. Their expertise and leadership continues to be pivotal to the safe operation of our office and delivery of care within the community.
- Supply of PPE: When I first saw the COVID-19 situation emerging offshore, our office quickly procured buffer inventory of high quality personal protective equipment (PPE). We have not faced the shortages of supplies that other agencies have experienced. We continue to hold a sufficient supply of PPE to safely deliver senior in-home care services, and have developed a breadth of PPE supplier relationships to support ongoing access to PPE.
- Caregiver Quality Control Standards: We want you to know that we have been guiding our caregivers and providing them with regular updates. Our caregiving staff are certified and trained and we have been sending out constant reminders on best practices and protocols. We are requiring regular screening of our caregivers in the community and in facilities, in compliance with – and frequently in excess of – provincial and congregate living health care standards. We continue to hire new caregivers to ensure we can meet the senior in-home care needs of our clients, and actively screen these caregivers prior to staffing.
- New Clients: At this time, while we are receiving inquiries, we are not taking on new clients who are in self-isolation or who have travelled outside of Ontario, in order to best protect our existing clients, their families, and our caregivers.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.