At the beginning of this pandemic, COA noted that communication with residents and families was weak in many LTC homes. Sometimes families learned of COVID-19 outbreaks through the media. This pandemic has demonstrated the importance of open and regular communication.
COA recommends the following for immediate action:
- Notify, within 24 hours, residents and their designated family member or contact person, as well as family councils, should a resident or staff member test positive for COVID-19, experience a COVID-19-related death; or, should a resident or staff member who has not been tested suffer a serious illness.
- Identify a key staff member, and a back-up, as the primary points of contact for each resident and designated family member or contact person.
- Experiment with innovative communication methods to keep residents in touch with families and friends, for example, regular video or phone contacts and safe meeting places and procedures.
- Recognize the mental health consequences of prolonged physical distancing or lockdowns on residents, families, and staff. Secure necessary care is available to all who need it now and in the future.