Frequently Asked Questions for Family Members

Updated on June 23, 2020

We know that all of the precautions that have been in place since March have resulted in you having many questions. We are committed to communicating directly to you through calls, emails and information on our website.

If you have a question we haven’t answered, please feel free to send it to us at: COVID19-Questions@siennaliving.ca

Connecting with Loved Ones

Am I able to see my loved one in-person?

We work closely with provincial and public health authorities to ensure families can safely connect with their loved ones in a manner that helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here is an overview for Ontario and BC.

Ontario: Following the release of new guidelines on visitation by the Government of Ontario, we are pleased to be able to arrange in-person family visits in designated outdoor areas at long-term care and retirement residences that are not in outbreak.

  • For the protection of our residents and team members in long-term care and retirement, residents will be allowed to visit with one person at a time and all visitors will be subject to strict health and safety protocols. Click here for more information on how you can visit your loved one.
  • In order to protect residents and team members, guidelines do not allow for in-person visits at residences in outbreak until the outbreak is cleared.

BC: There are no changes to the visitation policies already in place for long-term care and retirement residences in BC. At this time, visiting remains restricted to only essential visitors. We will update you as soon as there are new guidelines and look forward to connecting you to your loved one in-person in the near future.

Can I visit my loved one inside the residence?

We continue to follow both Ontario and BC directives in order to protect residents and team members and, as such, only essential visitors may enter a long-term care or retirement residence for compassionate reasons or because of a serious health situation with a resident. All essential visitors must pass active screening, including having their temperature checked.

What other ways can I connect with my loved one?

We understand how meaningful it is to connect with your loved one and there are a number of ways you can do that: phone calls, video chats and window visits whenever possible. Please contact your loved one’s residence directly to arrange these important touchpoints.

Life in the Residence

When will recreation activities start again?

In residences without COVID-19 cases, we are often able to continue with small group activities with strict physical distancing practiced. Families are encouraged to reach out to residences for the calendar of activities. In situations where there are COVID-19 cases, engaging one-on-one activities may take place in consultation with Public Health.

When will dining rooms re-open so residents can dine together?

We are following provincial directives related to gatherings and physical distancing to ensure resident safety:

  • In residences with COVID-19 cases, isolation protocols are in place and, where directed by Public Health, residents dine in their rooms.
  • For retirement residences not in outbreak, dining rooms are open and physical distancing is being practiced by limiting one person per table. Only couples who live together can dine at the same table.
  • For long-term care residences not in outbreak, dining rooms are open where physical distancing can be achieved. Modifications including different seating times are also used to maximize safety and enjoyment of dining.

What are you doing to alleviate resident loneliness?

We understand that physical distancing and the absence of family visits can be difficult for residents. Our team members are doing their absolute best to bring comfort and compassion to residents to help them cope during this challenging time. We have many programs developed to engage and entertain residents. Please feel free to ask about specific programs at your loved one’s residence and visit our dedicated webpage that shares heartwarming stories from all of our residences.

Resident Updates and Testing

How can I get general updates on the status at the residence of my loved one?

We make every effort to keep families informed through phone calls, voice-recorded messages, e-mails and letters directly from the residence. Updates are also shared daily on our website.

Are residents being tested for COVID-19?

Any resident exhibiting symptoms is tested immediately, even if they had previously tested negative.

How will I know if my loved one tests positive?

Families are called by a member of our team as soon as Public Health shares COVID-19 test results for a resident or if there is a change in their loved one’s health.

Are team members being tested for COVID-19?

In Ontario long-term care residences, all team members are being tested twice during the month of June at the direction of the government. In Ontario retirement residences and all residence in BC, any team member who has any symptoms is tested.

What does it mean when you say “resolved”?

A resolved resident or team member who has tested positive for COVID-19 and does not show symptoms after 14 consecutive days is considered resolved.

Keeping Residents Safe

What is being done to protect residents?
We are working with Public Health and following all provincial directives in each of our residences. Extensive infection prevention and other precautionary measures are being used as we endeavour to stop the spread of COVID-19, including:

  • Isolation protocols: Residents who test positive for COVID-19 are isolated to their room, where all services are provided, and team members wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in every care interaction with them. If the room is shared, all residents in the room are isolated.
    •  In necessary situations, long-term care residents who test positive for COVID-19 may be isolated or cohorted in one area of the residence and team members will be dedicated to caring for those residents.
  • PPE usage: All provincial protocols related to PPE are in place and we have an adequate supply in all of our residences. Team members and essential visitors wear surgical masks at all times when in a residence, as directed by Public Health.
    • N95 masks are only utilized for aerosol generating medical procedures with COVID-19 positive residents and when a regulated health professional deems it necessary.
  • Team Member: Team members are required to work at only one residence to help prevent the spread of the virus. In addition to wearing a surgical mask at all times, they are actively screened when they arrive for work and have their temperatures checked twice daily.
  • Cleaning: Frequent, rigorous cleaning and disinfecting of all surfaces is being conducted to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Physical Distancing: Residents and team members are practicing physical distancing, to the extent possible, in the common areas.
  • Move-ins: Any new residents moving in to a long-term care or retirement residence must test negative for COVID-19 and will be isolated for 14 days.
  • Leaving the residence: In all BC residences and in Ontario long-term care residences, residents may not leave other than for approved emergency/essential appointments. Residents in Ontario retirement residences are permitted to leave for up to 12 hours and must follow a number of provincial requirements, including wearing a mask at all times and providing information for potential contact tracing.

What are you doing to manage staffing shortages?

One of our top priorities is to provide more support to our residences. We have an aggressive recruitment campaign in place and have offered full-time positions to part-time team members. Where needed, we have openly reached out to health care partners and staffing agencies for support.

Deliveries and Contractors

Can I drop something off at a residence?

We encourage families to check with the residences about specific drop offs.

Can private companions come in?

Private companions are considered an essential visitor, according to provincial directives, as they provide direct care to residents. As with team members, they must follow very stringent protocols including active screening and temperature checks prior to entering the residence.