COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: October 2022

How can family members get more information about the long-term care home’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

The most accurate, up-to-date information is available on our website. In addition, family members receive our quarterly long-term care Newsletter, information updates by email from their Yee Hong Centre and frequent calls about their loved ones from the clinical team. Family members can visit and book Video Chat sessions on our website to speak directly with their loved ones.

Yee Hong leaders also host regular teleconferences for families of our residents. Hundreds of family members/friends of residents dial in to hear the latest pandemic update and information from nursing management and Medical Directors. This includes new and existing safety measures, visiting policies, testing requirement, recent test outcomes including outbreak details (if any), changes to our building access policies and treatment plans in the event of a positive test. Our team takes questions on topics submitted by family members, and many of the most common questions are included in this list.

 

When can families visit Yee Hong again? Can they drop off food items, fruit, flowers, magazines, toiletries and mementos for their loved ones?

We welcome general visitors to our Centres when the Ontario government says it is safe to do so. Watch our website to confirm if any restrictions will apply to your visit.

At times when visiting is not permitted, family members may drop off care packages (please no food or valuables) and clothing for their loved ones. Yee Hong staff will be assigned to clean and disinfect special dropped off items before we deliver them to resident floors. Detailed instructions and drop-off times are on the website.

 

Can families have more video chat sessions each week/on weekends/for longer conversations?

Video Chat is an extremely popular service that requires a team in each Yee Hong Centre to support it. To accommodate high demand, we rotate from one scheduled call to the next on half-hour intervals from Monday to Friday.

A home might get 100 video chat requests from families in one week. For our team, this means contacting each family to schedule a suitable date and time for the chat, tracking confirmed sessions in a log to avoid double-booking, connecting the technology on the day and getting the resident ready with the help of PSWs and nurses. Video chats typically run 15 – 20 minutes in length. We accommodate requests for a special day or time as often as we can.

 

Do you have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, gowns and masks?

Yee Hong has the PPE we need. Our stockpile is sufficient for many weeks at the rate we currently use safety supplies across the whole organization. We’re prepared should outbreaks occur, and we’re monitoring our inventory carefully to keep up with changes in our demand as new circumstances arise.

Because we can’t guess how long the pandemic will threaten our seniors, we welcome your donations of PPE and safety supplies. Contact the Yee Hong Foundation at foundation@yeehong.com if you wish to help, and we will verify your gift complies with Health Canada standards for PPE in a seniors care environment.

 

What has Yee Hong done to protect residents?

The health and safety of residents and staff are our top priority. As the situation around COVID-19 evolves, management has put in place precautionary measures according to instructions from Public Health and Ministry of Long-Term Care as they come in. The following is what management has implemented to date:

  • A COVID-19 Pandemic Task Force has been formed with senior clinical and administrative leaders to streamline pandemic decision-making and to organize our communications internally and externally
  • Active screening for staff, physicians and visitors
  • Visitor policy has been modified as per provincial regulations
  • Regular rapid testing continues for early detection of the virus
  • Continue social distancing practice and limit large gatherings
  • Offer Video chat and other social connections are in place to support regular contact with residents and their families

 

Will family members be notified in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case at Yee Hong?

Yes. Yee Hong will inform families as soon as possible regarding any positive cases and provide information about what steps the home is taking to manage the outbreak in collaboration with public health department.

 

What do you do when a staff member is suspected for COVID-19?

Everyone who works in an Ontario long-term care home is tested to identify the virus as early as possible. In between tests, each of us is monitoring our own health for symptoms of COVID-19, and when we don’t feel well we stay home. Each Centre is constantly monitoring staff sick calls and our entrances and exits to be sure people with symptoms of illness do not enter our homes.

Positive tests are occurring within our workforce because community spread of COVID-19 occurs throughout the Greater Toronto Area. When there is suspected contact for Yee Hong employees, swabs are sent to Public Health for pandemic surveillance. While we wait for the result, and where COVID-19 exposure is suspected, we instruct the employee and his/her close contacts to self-isolate in their own homes. We implement our outbreak protocol on any units that might be affected and notify residents and family members to explain the change. If the resident tests show no COVID-19, the measures are lifted.

We have implemented a comprehensive pandemic plan which we routinely adjust as we and the entire health care sector learns more about this virus. The safety of our seniors and our employees will continue to be our highest priority. We also have a pandemic staffing plan, which ensures appropriate staffing and cohorting of staff and residents.

 

What are the risks to other residents living on the same floor as a resident with COVID-19?

In the event of a positive test, we put enhanced isolation measures in place immediately on the affected floor. That can include isolation units to minimize the risk of spreading the virus. We cohort our staff into separate work teams to stop contaminants from spreading from one work area to another, we deep clean the entire building and sanitize high-touch surfaces more often as part of our outbreak protocol. These measures would be in addition to the precautions already in place to protect our residents from the global pandemic.

 

Do resident programs and activities continue without volunteers?

Yes. In view of Ministry’s directive to restrict non-essential visits to the homes, management has made temporary arrangements to re-assign staff members from Community and professional Services to the LTC homes. Their presence helps fill the service gap and hopefully mitigate the impact on residents’ emotional health during the increased isolation resulted from the Ministry’s banning all visitors/families from entering long-term care homes.

 

What if I have symptoms of illness when I come to Yee Hong?

Do not come to Yee Hong if you have new or worsening symptoms of illness.

Everyone arriving at the screening desk must apply hand sanitizer before they begin the screening process. We encourage you to come with a face covering. You will be provided with a facility approved mask. Anyone who presents at the screening desk with respiratory symptoms, such as cough, runny nose or a fever will not be allowed to enter the Yee Hong Centre.

 

I am a volunteer in the long-term care home. Do I continue with my work or should I stay home?

In-person volunteering has resumed in all our long-term care homes. Welcome back on-site, our volunteers! Volunteers’ support is one of the most important pillars of our services, and we have various volunteer opportunities in our long-term care homes and community services. Please contact the Volunteer Development staff at your location for more detailed information. Contact information can be found on this page.

 

Has the pandemic affected resident programs and activities at Yee Hong?

Programs and activities for long-term care residents continue throughout the pandemic. According to ministry guidelines, large group activities indoors have been stopped, and we rely on masks and physical distance for greater safety wherever it’s practical to do so. Since the pandemic began, we run activities in small groups or one-to-one, and we’re finding creative ways to engage and entertain. Family members and volunteers are immensely helpful during programs and activities, and electronic tools (video calls, touchscreens and sensory aids) are widely used.

Activities continue when an outbreak is declared on a floor. We enhance safety measures and hygiene, and then we continue our programs one-to-one in the residents’ rooms. For the duration of the outbreak our volunteers don’t visit the floor in person (although sometimes they continue to help out remotely). We’ve been pleasantly surprised to see some residents better engaged since one-to-one and small group activities became part of our normal practice.