Visits to seniors homes to resume next week

Article Sidebar

Article content

The Ontario government announced Thursday that seniors residences will be allowed to welcome visits from family members next week, and residences in Kingston are following suit.

The type of facility — long-term care, retirement homes or another residential setting — will determine the type of visit allowed.

In long-term care homes, such as Arbour Heights in the city’s west end, a family member is allowed one 15-minute visit per week, and it must take place outdoors.

An email outlining the restrictions was sent out Tuesday by owner and operator Revera Living. “Essential” visitors will be asked a series of questions and have her or his temperature taken before the visit takes place, and they must wear a mask during it. Visits must be made by appointment in advance, and the resident and visitor must maintain a two-metre distance from each other during its duration. If not, the resident will be isolated for 14 days. Food and beverages are not permitted.


Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content continued

Revera Inc. also owns and operates St. Lawrence Place Retirement Residence downtown (which doesn’t fall under the long-term care designation).

“Our chief medical officer, Dr. Rhonda Collins, has directed us that the first phase of our essential visitors guideline does involve these outdoor visits,” Helen Lyons, Revera’s director of operations for eastern Ontario, explained over the phone on Wednesday.

“It’s been a while for our residents, and supportive family is so important for their mental health and well-being.”

At city-owned Rideaucrest, two family members are allowed to visit for 30 minutes at a time starting June 18. Those visits, too, will also take place outdoors, in the building’s back garden, at a table separated by plexiglass. Four visits are allowed per day. Again, visitors will be screened beforehand and required to wear a mask.

Retirement homes, meanwhile, “will resume indoor and outdoor visits in designated areas or resident suites when physical distancing can be maintained,” a government-issued news release stated.

Details regarding visits to other seniors facilities in Kingston weren’t available at press time Thursday. We will try and update this story online if and when those details become available.

“We know the visitor restrictions have been tough on residents, as families and loved ones play an important role in providing care and emotional support to residents. We are confident these visits can occur safely,” Dr. Merilee Fullerton, Ontario’s minister of long-term care, stated in a release issued Thursday after the government’s announcement.

“With the possible spread of COVID-19 in our long-term care homes still being a real threat, people will need to follow strict health and safety protocols in order to protect our most vulnerable.”