Offsite Trips & Visits
*Specific Outbreak or "Early Investigation" Related Restrictions may also be in place and would supersede any listed here. Before your visit, please check https://www.thebirchesns.ca/news-and-events for any related updates.
*You may not enter our facility when you are required to self-isolate. If you have been in an outbreak / high risk zone, we ask that you don’t visit the facility for 14 days.
Update: March 21, 2022
Thank you for your patience as we have worked to figure out what new changes can be implemented at The Birches! Today we are pleased to announce that:
• All residents, regardless of vaccination status, can now have community access to indoor and outdoor public places and family homes, INCLUDING overnight visits. Proof of vaccine is not required for individuals accompanying residents for off-site trips. Offsite visits should be booked well in advance by calling reception at 902-889-3474 ext. 0.
Update Feb. 11, 2022
We are thrilled to share the following news with the friends and families of our residents based on the recent government announcement re: long term care restrictions.
Effective MONDAY, February 14, 2022:
• Residents can have any two visitors at a time; they no longer need to be the same two visitors, and visitors are no longer restricted to Designated Caregivers only. All visitors must continue to follow the infection prevention and control practices communicated and posted, and must be particularly vigilant about wearing their mask and shield at all times, maintaining physical distance, and performing hand hygiene often! Visitors must still be fully vaccinated as per rules posted previously.
• Residents who are fully vaccinated, have their booster shot, and are considered "non-susceptible" can leave the facility for a drive in a DCG/visitor’s vehicle, with no stops and no contact with other people. Residents are not able to do so if they are required to isolate or on an outbreak unit. If a visitor is taking a resident for an offsite drive as per this rule:
- Outings must be booked 24 hours in advance
- The support person accompanying the resident must be screened and asymptomatic. The resident should be accompanied by a max of 2 individuals who must be fully vaccinated.
- The outing information must be logged including date and time, individual supporting the resident, and expected return.
- Residents are strongly recommended to wear a mask and maintain physical distance from others (except the person(s) accompanying them). They must not come into contact with those required to self-isolate.
- The support person and resident must review the outing with staff upon return to ensure adherence to Public Health measures.
We hope these are exciting changes for our residents and those who love them!
Update: Dec. 18, 2021
As you know, government has recently communicated new LTC restrictions publicly and has communicated detailed restrictions to our facilities directly.
Due to these restrictions, at this time we will not be able to allow residents to go offsite for any reason, other than required medical appointments.
We know this will be disappointing to both residents and families, especially at this time of year. We need you to know that we continue to take our responsibility seriously to make decisions that balance the quality of life and safety of those we serve. Although this is an incredibly difficult decision to make, at this time we feel this is the only option.
Update: Dec. 1, 2021
Although it is recommended, family members / support persons accompanying a resident during an outing do not need to be fully vaccinated, however they cannot enter the facility to pick up the resident. Please call ahead to book the offsite visit so we can assist the resident to meet you outside of our front doors. You must book the Offsite Visit at least 24 hours in advance (or on Friday for a Sat., Sun. or Mon. visit) by calling 902-889-3474 ext. 0. To book, you must call Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.
Update: October 1, 2021
We continue to pay close attention to evolving restrictions being communicated by government, to ensure we are following all of the recommended steps to keep our residents safe. We want to share a few details with you this morning as a result:
Based on epidemiology in the Central Zone, long term care residents are not permitted to leave the facility and stay overnight at a family home or home of a friend at this time.
Update: August 12, 2021
We are thrilled to share a few updates based on recent communications from Public Health!
As you know, in late July we shared that fully immunized Birches residents were able to attend offsite visits in a Designated Caregiver’s home, including overnight stays, while adhering to the current Health Protection Act Order (e.g., gathering limits, etc.)
At this time, offsite visits to the family/Designated Caregiver’s home can now include overnight stays up to 7 days! The visit must take place within Atlantic Canada.
Residents are also now permitted to visit a non-family/Designated Caregiver’s home, although no overnight visits are permitted for these visits at this time.
These types of offsite visits are also now permitted for those residents who are not fully immunized (or who are partially immunized)!
It continues to be critically important that you fully understand your role in keeping your loved one – and all residents – safe. For this reason, those who are interested in taking a resident offsite must attend a short education session (if they are not already trained as a Designated Caregiver). This short education session will take place on the day of your first pre-scheduled offsite trip with the resident. Please allow 15 minutes to participate in this session before leaving the facility on your trip day. Please call 902-889-3474 ext. 0 to schedule your education session and offsite trip!
We have prepared the information below to support families and friends as they prepare to bring residents for an Offsite Visit, and to help you understand what is expected based on the provincial guidelines!
Offsite Visits Guidelines:
• You must book the Offsite Visit at least 24 hours in advance (or on Friday if the offsite outing will take place on Sat., Sun. or Mon.) by calling 902-889-3474 ext. 0. To book, you must call Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.
• You must pickup and drop off the resident between the hours of 10:30 am and 5:30 pm on the days of departure and return. This will allow us to do the screening and recording that is required of us.
• You will pick up and drop off your loved one in the designated area at the times you have booked, respecting physical distancing while doing so. You will park in the parking spots in front of our facility and come in the front door.
• You must clean and disinfect (wiping down all frequently touched surfaces) the vehicle you will be using to transport the resident before pick-up, with an appropriate hard surface disinfectant / hand sanitizer. You are encouraged to provide the resident with alcohol-based hand rub for hand hygiene within the vehicle. If the vehicle used is not driven by you, you must still ensure the vehicle is cleaned/disinfected. You must verify this at pick-up. If using Metro Transit or accessible transportation, you must ensure the resident follows all public health and municipal transit guidelines while onboard.
• You are encouraged to wear a mask while transporting your loved one to your family home.
• Others may visit the home while the resident is present, as long as gathering limits are maintained. It is recommended that all eligible persons in the home are immunized with at least one dose at the time of the visit.
• While in the home, family members and visitors are encouraged, but not required, to wear a mask when a resident is visiting, where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
• You are encouraged to maintain physical distancing (6 feet / 2 metres) in the home whenever possible.
• You must ensure you understand all Public Health practices, including proper physical distancing, gathering limits, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette, and follow these practices during the visit to the home.
• You must ensure everyone who will be interacting with the resident in the home is aware of these guidelines and will also follow them.
• Remember to keep general resident safety in mind throughout - think of things like safe transportation, sun safety / sunscreen, etc.!
• You must truthfully and fully answer all screening questions asked at booking; pick-up and drop-off.
• You must call and cancel your visit if you or any person who will be interacting with the resident has symptoms of COVID-19 or any requirement to self-isolate. If the resident or anyone they will interact with during the offsite visit has symptoms or any requirement to self-isolate, the offsite visit will need to be cancelled.
• Should you or anyone who interacted with the resident during the offsite visit become ill in the two (2) weeks following, the individual must contact 811 for screening and assessment for testing, and notify us immediately. Should the individual test positive for COVID-19, the individual must inform Public Health during their investigation that they had interaction with a resident of our facility.
We know this type of experience won’t work for all residents and families, but we hope it will be a lovely and welcome opportunity for those who are able to take advantage!
Other Types of Trips and Visits at this time:
– As per provincial guidelines, all residents are now able to travel to indoor and outdoor public places, along with offsite medical/dental appointments, and walks in the facility’s neighbourhood, subject to the restrictions in the Public Health Order and pending facility approval.
Residents must maintain physical distancing while offsite (except with a support person accompanying them), and avoid spaces where physical distancing may be difficult to maintain.
If a support person is accompanying the resident, they must be screened. The facility must be advised of the outing so it can be logged. The support person must clean and disinfect (wiping down all frequently touched surfaces) the vehicle they will be using to transport the resident before pick-up, with an appropriate hard surface disinfectant / hand sanitizer. You are encouraged to provide the resident with alcohol-based hand rub for hand hygiene within the vehicle. If the vehicle used is not driven by the support person, they should still ensure the vehicle is cleaned/disinfected.
Remember to keep general resident safety in mind throughout - think of things like safe transportation, sun safety / sunscreen, etc.!
* Just a friendly reminder that residents must follow all public health rules for physical distancing, gathering limits and other rules for the public while they are offsite, as well as specific rules of the establishments they visit!