Outdoor visits begin at Lambton County LTC homes

Marshall Gowland Manor in Sarnia. October 2018. (Photo by Google Maps)

Scheduled outdoor visits have started up at three Lambton County long-term care facilities.

County General Manager of Long-Term Care Jane Joris said Sarnia’s Marshall Gowland Manor, North Lambton Lodge in Forest, and Petrolia’s Lambton Meadowview Villa began hosting visitors Thursday.

Joris said after the province announced the gradual resumption of visits to long-term care homes last week, they put together a visiting plan for their three homes, and that at the moment, they’re offering families one visit per week.

“Just because it takes a lot of time and we want to make sure that everybody gets a chance to have a visit. Once we have our processes a little bit smoother, we might be able to offer a little bit more than that, however, we’re still doing window visits and virtual visits with families and residents,” said Joris. “That is a 30-minute visit for family or friend of a resident. It’s outdoors at this point, and so we’ve set up at our three homes, a visiting station outdoors.”

Joris said they’ve been contacting all of the families of their 340 residents so that they can prioritize visits and make sure they understand all of the visitor requirements.

She also said they’re taking a number of precautions to ensure the safety of residents, visitors and staff.

“Socially distancing has to happen, the visitor must wear a non-medical mask during the visit, and we’re scheduling those visits so that we have staff to support the visit and get the resident to the visiting station. We’ll have to screen the visitors according to our requirements, and make sure that there’s good cleaning and that sort of thing,” she said. “The home is also required to have a list of visitors, and one of the precautions is that any visitor has had a COVID test in the last two weeks with a negative result, so we’ll be asking people to let us know when they did that as well.”

Joris said they had to closed doors to the public back on March 13.

“I suspect probably for lots of people, especially spouses, this might be the longest separation they’ve had in their married life and we want to make sure that we can keep people connected — we’re worried about people’s emotional health. We’re hoping that we can get this in order and very soon we can have indoor visits as well.”