Amica’s measures to protect and vaccinate against COVID-19
Mandatory vaccines for all team members
We are proud that our staff vaccination rate is well above the industry average: close to 90% of our team members are fully vaccinated. On August 27, we announced that we would bring in mandatory vaccinations for all Amica team members. This means our team members must be double-vaccinated by October 12, 2021. Vaccines are critical to protecting our residents and team members from the spread of COVID-19. It is also essential to safeguard the lifestyle and freedoms that our residents have come to enjoy.
The provinces are beginning to change their permissions related to certain restrictions by taking into account high vaccination rates within the retirement home sector. They are extending their parameters in areas such as visitations, social gatherings, outings and communal dining. These changes support our Amica pandemic unwinding plan.
Amica began transitioning towards pandemic unwinding in March 2021 because of our internal environment's low risk level as a result of our high vaccination rates combined with the safety measures and protocols we have in place.
Following public health requirements
Amica leaders are in constant communication with public health authorities to implement the latest safety measures and recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), provincial and local health authorities.
We do not just meet provincial public health and safety requirements for senior living operators, we exceed them with our own extra precautions. For example, in wave 1, we proactively implemented essential visitor screening and closed communal spaces in residences before it was required. This was a step we took as an extra precaution to ensure the safety of our residents and team members.
Residents are observed daily for typical and atypical signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or any other changes.
While team members are at home and at the residence, they are practicing frequent hand washing, avoiding touching their face, participating in surveillance testing (where supported by provincial guidelines), universal masking, PPE and hand hygiene education, limiting contact with others and maintaining physical distancing by staying at least 2 m (6 ft.) from another person.
As per the Alberta government, until further notice, the following restrictions remain in place:
- Health Assessment Screening and continuous masking for staff, volunteers and service providers.
- Visiting persons are required to wear a mask continuously in common areas and be screened upon entry.
- Twice daily high-touch cleaning requirements in common areas
- Select quarantine/isolation requirements, when needed
- Outbreak expectations
For the most updated information related to Alberta please, visit: Alberta
Roadmap to Reopen
On May 20, 2021, the Ontario government announced its Roadmap to Reopen, which is a three-step plan to reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures based on provincewide vaccination rates and improvements in key public health and health care indicators. The government entered Step Three of the Roadmap during the week of July 16, 2021.
Effective July 15 :
Any number of Essential Visitors are permitted.
- General Visitors are permitted unless a resident is self-isolating and on Droplet and Contact precautions.
- Precautions, or the home is advised by the local PHU to stop general visits (e.g., during an outbreak).
- General Visitors must pass screening requirements and be reminded to follow applicable public health measures while visiting the home.
- Outdoor visits will be encouraged as much as possible, however depending on residents’ needs, indoor visits, in-suite visits, and/or social absences may be supported.
- General Visitors may be permitted regardless of immunization status, and the residence will not unreasonably deny visits as long as the following policies are followed:
- General Visitors may visit a resident in an indoor or outdoor designated area, including in-suite.
- General Visitors and residents must maintain physical distancing (2 metres separation) for the duration of the visit. This is with the exception of brief physical contact when hugging.
- General Visitors must wear masks for the duration of the visit, unless exempt under the Directive #3 masking requirements (masking for residents is recommended).
- When indoors, General Visitors must wear a medical mask.
- When outdoors, General Visitors must wear a medical or non-medical mask.
- The number of individuals in a group must not exceed provincial limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings, as applicable. Group limits for indoor and outdoor visits do not include children 2 years or under.
- Indoors: 25
- Outdoors: 100
- The residence will consider the size of the designated space to allow physical distancing between residents and visitors, and visitors from different households.
- For all visits with General Visitors, the following measures should be in place:
- The residence should ensure equitable access for each resident.
- Visits should be booked in advance.
- Opening windows should be considered for indoor and in-suite visits to allow for air circulation.
For the most updated information related to Ontario please, visit: Ontario
As of July 19, 2021, Social Visitors:
- Visits no longer need to be pre-scheduled.
- Indoor social visits will no longer be limited to two adults and one child.
- Visitors will be asked for proof of vaccination status. The residence will retain a list of visitors’ vaccination status and share this list with public health, if required.
- Visitors will continue to be screened for signs of illness, including a temperature check on arrival.
- Visitors will still provide contact tracing information.
- No Social Visits will be allowed during an outbreak or enhanced surveillance.
- Visitors will wear a medical grade mask while moving through the facility and common areas
- Fully vaccinated visitors may remove their masks once in direct contact with the resident they are visiting or when outdoors
- A visitor will be considered fully vaccinated when at least 14 days has passed since receiving their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
- Non-fully vaccinated visitors, or those unable to provide vaccination status, are required to wear a mask throughout their visit, both indoors and outdoors
- Outdoor residence-wide events may now include visitors at the discretion of our leadership team, based on building capacity
As always, we are committed to providing meaningful and safe visiting opportunities for residents; however, each resident will have different needs for length of visits or number of visitors at one time. Please be mindful of our loved one’s preferences, tolerance or cues when planning your visit and length of stay.
If visiting in a communal visiting area, ensure that physical distance between groups is maintained. Please discuss with a care team member to ensure the size of your group aligns with the capacity of the space and for cleaning purposes following your visit.
For the most updated information related to British Columbia please, visit: British Columbia
Anyone who enters the residence is screened for health, travel and temperature before entering.
Physical distancing for meals and activities
At the onset of the pandemic, all common areas were closed, including dining rooms, bistros, fitness centres, lounges, libraries, theatres, etc.
Most Amica residences have reopened many common areas and resumed adapted group activities in a safe way that respects physical distancing.
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to see uplifting stories about how our teams continue to find creative and innovative ways to keep residents engaged.
Infection prevention and control measures
Symptomatic residents, or those at risk for exposure, are isolated with droplet/contact precautions. Personal protective equipment (PPE) including a mask, gown, gloves and eye protection is implemented for those team members supporting affected residents.
Before entering the suite of an isolated resident, team members put on full PPE and discard the PPE after use, immediately upon exiting the room. This protocol allows team members and isolated residents to safely interact with each other, provides a safe living and working environment, and the reassurance that accompanies this level of care and duty, for everyone involved.
In addition to routine cleaning and disinfection, we have introduced enhanced cleaning measures throughout the day, to thoroughly sanitize high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails, elevator buttons, etc.