Updates on our Evolving Response to COVID-19 / Novel Coronavirus
Please note: As of July 2022 we have shifted our main updates to the News section of our website for Outbreak or Pandemic related facility updates.
Staff - Please continue to check iTacit for updates or click HERE for updates specific to your work
Family, Friends and Community Members - Please ensure you visit our News page for Outbreak or Pandemic related facility information or click these links for the specific topic you’re interested in:
Deliveries of Items to Residents
Designated Caregiver Visits
Indoor & Outdoor Visits
In early March 2020, we received confirmation of the first presumptive case of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) in Nova Scotia. In response to this development and to ensure the safety of our clients, staff and community, our Pandemic Outbreak Management Team made the decision to:
• Close our facility to regular visitors until further notice, as per provincial directives.
We have put a process in place to allow you to visit your loved one in special compassionate circumstances (ex. should a resident be palliative during this time). You can contact us to discuss this in more detail by getting in touch with our Director of Care or Charge Nurse.
• Cancel all large gatherings/activities, including those involving those coming from outside the facility.
During this challenging time, we know you are concerned for your loved ones here at The Birches. We know it’s difficult to be unable to visit as often as usual and see all of the measures we have put in place to keep them safe.
We want you to know that our response to COVID-19 at The Birches is constantly evolving based on all emerging advice, and that we have implemented many practices, including:
• We have enhanced our cleaning and infection control practices, including more frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces.
• Staff are being screened daily when they arrive for symptoms related to COVID-19. If they are travelling through public spaces on the way to work, staff are changing out of “street clothes” and into their work attire and shoes when they arrive.
• Staff are wearing masks throughout their shift.
• We are taking resident temperatures daily, assessing for symptoms, and testing residents with new symptoms for COVID-19.
• We have implemented physical distancing wherever possible.
• We continue to order and receive supplies from traditional and creative sources, including PPE (masks, gloves, etc.), to make sure our staff and residents have what they need.
• We are drawing on our robust pandemic plan; information from Public Health; and advice from Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer as we react to the unfolding situation.
• We are continuing to support our staff with the information, education, and supplies needed to help prevent spread of COVID-19, including infection control practices.
Rest assured, we will continue to implement all practices advised by Public Health to ensure the safety of our residents.
We truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we all work to lessen the risks and impacts of this pandemic on our clients, staff and community. The situation is rapidly evolving and we will update you as the situation evolves.
How you can help:
• If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, etc.) visit https://811.novascotia.ca/health_topics/covid-19-when-to-call-811/ or call 811 directly for advice on how to keep yourself and others safe.
• Prevent spread of COVID-19 in the community at large by washing hands frequently; avoiding touching your face; coughing/sneezing into your elbow or a tissue; and following all other advice shared by Public Health.
• If your contact information has changed, please ensure we have the up to date information by calling our reception team at The Birches (902-889-3474).
We know our residents miss you! Here is the best way for you to reach them:
• We now have devices available for residents to connect with you through Skype, Zoom, and Facebook Messenger! Reach out to Erica at 902-889-3474 ext. 4124 or at 902-889-3474 ext. 0 so we can facilitate a time for you to chat with your loved one!
• Many family members have been sending photos, videos, and notes to firstname.lastname@example.org to be shared with their loved one – please keep it up! They put a smile on the faces of our residents as well as the staff who get to pass them along!
• You can also take advantage of the variety of current visitation options. See the links at the top of this page and click through to those pages for more details!
We know you have questions. Here are the best ways to reach us:
• Continue to visit our website here at www.thebirchesns.ca/response-to-covid-19 for all updates related to our pandemic response.
• Like and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thebirchesnursinghome/ for frequent updates and video messages directly from our President & CEO, Dion Mouland.
• Continue emailing specific questions to email@example.com
• If you have a specific question, you can also continue to call us at 902-889-3474.
Still have questions/concerns about COVID-19? There has been plenty of false information being shared. For further reliable information on COVID-19 visit www.novascotia.ca/coronavirus
Past Updates that May Be of Interest
On April 14, 2020 our Board Chairs of Ocean View and The Birches shared this heartfelt message of appreciation for our hard working staff :
On April 8, 2020, our Medical Director, Dr. Karl Tennessen, shared this letter regarding our response to COVID-19 and our plans for an Outbreak Unit:
On March 28, 2020, we shared these two documents with you on behalf of Susan Stevens, Senior Director, Continuing Care, NSHA; and Paula Langille, Director, Liaison & Service Support, DHW. These include information regarding the closure of long term care facilities across the province to visitors during this time.