Acropolis Manor, a long-term seniors health care facility in Prince Rupert has no confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Public Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that Northern Health now has 39 cases of coronavirus as of April 20 and another outbreak of the virus at a long-term health care facility in B.C. — Chartwell Willows in Maple Ridge.
“You know there are over 600 care homes in Canada that have COVID … we don’t have any confirmed cases of COVID in the building,” Julia Pemberton, manager of the Prince Rupert seniors and long-term care home, Acropolis Manor, said, “I think that’s really good.”
She attributes the success of the manor to best practices and diligence of staff and families.
“The good news actually, is that all people here have remained healthy and at their baseline, so that’s been really excellent. The staff are all practicing their hand hygiene, their PPE (personal protective equipment), actively self-screening, so we’ve been able to keep a healthy population here,” Pemberton said.
The 61-bed care home has been adhering to the British Columbia Centre of Disease Control and Northern Health guidelines and protocols for the daily operations.
“We’ve restricted the facility to essential visitors only. So, that means anybody who is actively palliating, their family would be allowed to visit them …but what that means though is they come to the manor, they get screened. They get their temperature taken, they get asked a set of screening questions, so if they’re unwell in any way, if they’ve traveled, if they’ve been exposed to anybody who’s currently being tested for COVID-19, or if they’ve been themselves tested for COVID-19, then those would be the criteria that they could not come into the facility,” Pemberton said.
Even staff have strict procedures that must be followed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
When they arrive at the start of their shift, staff get changed into their scrubs, they wash their hands, they put on a mask, they have to put on gloves, and they have to put on eye protection as well, Pemberton said.
“So even if they have glasses, they have to wear eye protection on top, or they’re wearing a visor shield. They change their gloves after every interaction with patients,” Pemberton said, “Yes we do, we go through a lot, but thankfully we have a ton.”
At the beginning, the broader media raised the alarm to the lack of medical supplies and PPE which concerned staff, Pemberton said, so it was very helpful for the staff to see a facility focus on personal protection.
Northern Health provided educators who delivered nine sessions on PPE education and employee training.
“We created and ordered instruction cards that go on their ID badges which reinforce how to put on PPE, how to take off PPE. We have a PPE educator who goes around every day and touches base with people, just to reassure them and see if they have any questions … we’ve all just been very transparent with our staff about supply.”
Pemberton believes it is important that the staff know there is an adequate amount of protection supplies and equipment.
“We’ve got people throughout the building every day, inventorying our PPE, and restocking PPE for our staff,” she said.
Personal protection is not the only issue Acropolis Manor is addressing for its staff and residents. A social worker has attended to provide different sessions on stress, anxiety and coping mechanisms.
“We thought it was really important to bring in people outside of management to help work with the staff, and give them the space to just talk about what does overwhelmed feel like, what are some behaviours of self care, what are some things I can control, what are things outside of my control, and just working through those issues with the social worker, which were received really positively,” Pemberton said.
The staff at Acropolis are all very dedicated to keeping the residents, who are vulnerable, health and happy said Pemberton.
“Some staff are working 12 days in row, spending extra hours, spending extra one-on-one time with residents or calling families in the evening to keep them updated.”
“You can see the impact these individuals make daily on the quality of life for the residents,” Pemberton said. “The families have also expressed their gratitude for these staff members who are the backbone of Acropolis Manor.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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