Assiniboia Union Hospital Integrated Facility (AUHIF) successfully struck the delicate balance between protecting long term care residents while allowing them to continue participating in meaningful daily activities without compromising their safety in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year.
Declaration of the outbreak was met with panic, disappointment and fear by residents who were quickly placed on droplet/contact plus precautions by the Medical Health Officer (MHO). This meant all residents were isolated to their rooms for what ended up being 40 days.
All staff were required to wear the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including a face shield, mask, gown, and gloves, whenever they entered a resident’s room and were required to change again when they left the room. Though an exercise in patience that resulted in mental exhaustion and long days and nights, the sacrifices and diligent use of PPE that resulted in changing up to 100 times per shift, coupled with the supportive team work of staff paid off by containing the spread of the virus.
“The enhanced PPE and decision to have every resident on Contact Droplet Plus precautions, I think, really stopped the spread of COVID-19 in our facility,” stated Steve Adkins, Health Services Manager, AUHIF. He credits the focused attention that resulted from daily outbreak management meetings that included everyone from operational leads to Nutrition and Food Services and Environmental Services as the other contributing factor.
“The purpose of the meetings was to review the current status of the outbreak, share information from the frontlines so leadership was aware and could support the teams to remove any barriers,” he explained. “The collaboration of this team was something that was not present prior to the outbreak.”
In addition to being confined to their rooms, residents were not permitted into common spaces, no visitors were allowed in the facility, and group activities ended. This prompted staff to become innovative in their efforts to keep resident physically and mentally stimulated. Staff embraced the opportunity and facilitated virtual visits for residents and family members and hosted regular hallway bingo games.
“Staff really worked together to support each other on a daily basis. They were improving every day to find ways to be more efficient and ensure that all care needs were being met,” said Adkins.
Recreation staff member Tara Peterson dons full PPE as she played the role of bingo caller for the innovative hallway bingo residents enjoyed while in outbreak at Assiniboia Union Hospital Integrated Facility earlier this year.
Despite being confined to their rooms due to contact precautions at Assiniboia Union Hospital Integrated Facility earlier this year, long term care residents Isabelle Keast and Harvey Mayell were able to participate in hallway bingo games where the real win was enjoying the opportunity to safely interact with one another in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak.