North Okanagan Hospice Society’s Response to COVID-19
Update: July 10, 2020
Hospice House in Vernon continues to operate at full capacity. We are working every day to continue to deliver high quality end of life care for the residents of the North Okanagan.
On June 30, 2020, the BC Ministry of Health and Provincial Health Officer announced that they are allowing visitations at long-term care and assisted-living sites, which includes the North Okanagan Hospice Society. We are pleased for families that we can enact this change to allow essential visits at Hospice House at this time.
What is an Essential Visit?
Examples of essential visits include but are not limited to:
- Visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end of life, and Medical Assistance in Dying.
- Visits paramount to the patient or client’s physical care and mental well-being, including:
- Assistance with feeding, mobility and personal care;
- Communication assistance for persons with hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual or memory impairments;
- Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities, including provision of emotional support;
- Visits for supported decision making; and
- Existing registered volunteers providing the services described above
- Visits required to move belongings in or out of a resident’s room
In keeping with the province’s recommendations for physical distancing, NOHS is limiting the number of visitors entering our building. We will work to accommodate resident and family needs as much as possible.
We are restricting essential visitors to 3 designated people per-resident per-day during the hours from 11 am to 2 pm or 4 pm to 7 pm. Visitors can still see our residents outside of these hours however, would need to be pre-arranged with our care staff.
Essential visitors can only access the building one at a time. A visitor who is a child may be accompanied by one parent, guardian or family member.
Our Psych Social Care Worker will work with each resident and their families as to who the essential visitors will be.
- Entry points to our facility will be more limited than usual and our Facility Greeter volunteer or a care staff member will screen all visitors for signs and symptoms of illness, including COVID-19 symptoms, prior to every visit.
- If you have signs or symptoms of illness, or are in self-isolation or quarantine in accordance with public health directives, you are not permitted to visit. Signs of illness may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, loss of sense of smell, loss of appetite, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, and muscle soreness.
- If you feel even mildly unwell, please stay home and do not visit Hospice House until you are better.
- All essential visitors entering Hospice House must wear a mask. Non-medical Masks will be provided at our front entrance however, visitors are encouraged to bring their own.
- When visiting, please practice safe physical-distancing with our care team. If the clinical team needs to provide care during your visit, please step aside and maintain safe physical distance. An option for visitors is to wait in the garden until care is completed, and then return to their loved one’s room.
NOHS does not encourage deliveries during COVID-19 pandemic. However, with the change in directives from the Minister of Health and the Provincial Health Officer June 30, 2020, deliveries are now allowed as long as they fulfill the below criteria.
- Designated Visitors and Approved Visitors may bring in packages essential or necessary for the residents well being.
- These type of packages include food, clothing, and treasured personal or cultural items.
- Non-food items should be disinfected with Accel Wipes (if possible) before being brought into a resident's room (ie. wipe down a vase of flowers or the outside of a plastic container).
- Deliveries must not interfere with the continued care and comfort of our residents.
- If care staff are concerned about the number or type of packages that are being delivered, the care staff can review with the Care Team Leader whether the items are of an essential nature.
Grief and Bereavement Services:
- One-to-one grief and bereavement (G & B) counselling sessions are available Tuesday and Wednesdays to new and existing clients. G & B counselling sessions can be conducted remotely via online platform or telephone or a client may attend an in- person counselling G & B session. Physical distancing and additional safety protocols, such as screening upon entry, will be in place during in-person G & B counselling sessions.
- Our fall bereavement group Finding My Way: Coping with Grief is cancelled.
- Phone messages are retrieved twice per week and you can expect a response within one to three business days. For more information or to request support, call 250-503-1800 ext. 200 and leave a message.
- There will be no tours of our residential care facility until further notice.
- We have postponed the current volunteer training sessions. If you are interested in training as a volunteer, please contact Tanya Stilborn at email@example.com or visit our website HERE for more information.
Our team at NOHS is grateful with how gracious our community has been in this complex situation. We understand the importance of visits from family and friends and appreciate your support in helping to keep everyone safe.
For other sources of information on COVID-19, visit:
- Interior Health Authority
- BC Centre for Disease Control
- BC Ministry of Health
- Public Health Agency of Canada