COVID-19 (coronavirus) Updates and Resources for Retirement Home Operators

The RHRA is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and will post advisories and information related to COVID-19 here as they become available. RHRA’s primary concern is the health and safety of seniors living in Ontario retirement homes.

The situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. We know that elderly people are at highest risk when it comes to the effects of the disease. To this end, the RHRA is aligning its COVID-19 response with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to ensure clear and consistent communication and action. In this context, RHRA is clarifying its expectations related to implementing the following practices as part of the COVID-19 response efforts. We also encourage homes to review their infection prevention and control procedures and emergency plans to ensure preparedness. Both AdvantAge and ORCA have pandemic resources available as well that can be helpful in your preparations.

Please see RHRA’s COVID-19 FAQ for Retirement Home Operators

VISITORS

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has recommended that retirement homes and long-term care homes allow only essential visitors. In the context of retirement homes, the ministry is identifying essential visitors as those who have a resident who is very ill or requires end-of-life care. These essential visitors must continue to be actively screened into these settings. No other visitors will be permitted at this time.

Service providers such as hairdressers and entertainers, as well as businesses deemed essential, are not essential visitors. Only essential visitors who pass active screening can be admitted into the home to visit residents.

ACTIVE SCREENING PROTOCOLS

The RHRA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, is requiring all retirement homes to implement active screening protocols for anyone entering a retirement home including staff and essential visitors. You can find Ministry of Health posters below for both residents and visitors that can be used as-is or you can adapt them to your needs to help raise awareness of COVID-19 within your home.

Active Screening Required for Staff and Essential Visitors

In alignment with the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s instruction to all Ontario long-term care homes, retirement homes must conduct active screening of all staff and essential visitors. ANYONE who fails any part of the screening process will not be allowed in the home and is advised to contact Telehealth or their public health unit.

  • Homes are being asked to have a screener at the home’s entrance to conduct the active screening during business hours. Outside of these times, the home’s charge nurse/administrator should develop processes and procedures to ensure that all people entering the home are screened and visits are logged. These procedures are to apply seven days a week 24 hours a day.
  • Retirement homes should instruct all staff, students and volunteers to self-screen for COVID-19 at home. All staff, students and volunteers with symptoms of an acute respiratory infection must not come to work and must report their symptoms to the retirement home. All staff should be aware of early signs and symptoms of acute respiratory infection (such as fever, cough or shortness of breath).
  • See the “self-monitoring” information for further guidance.
  • See the latest case definition, as well as the up-to-date COVID-19 Affected Areas List.

Active Screening Required for Residents

Retirement homes must actively screen all resident admissions, re-admissions and returning residents. ANYONE who fails any part of the screening process will be placed in isolation.

  • Retirement homes must consult with the local public health unit and the resident’s primary care provider if residents exhibit symptoms or have had exposure to or if there has been confirmation of transmission of COVID-19, in order to determine any additional public health or clinical actions.
  • See the latest case definition, as well as the up-to-date COVID-19 Affected Areas List.

In addition to active screening, retirement homes should follow the guidance for respiratory outbreak and COVID-19 prevention from the Ministry of Health. This includes prevention activities such as:

  • Posting signage and advising visitors who have travelled to affected areas or been exposed to a case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days to postpone their visit.
  • Posting signage and advising all visitors who are ill to postpone their visit.
  • Ensuring availability and accessibility of hand hygiene throughout the facility.
  • Keeping staff and residents informed on COVID-19.
  • Reminding staff to be monitoring themselves for illness and to stay at home when they are sick. Developing policies for managing staff who may have been exposed to a case of COVID-19.
  • Assessing incoming residents for respiratory symptoms and potential exposures to COVID-19. Monitoring residents for new respiratory symptoms or fever.
  • Quickly identifying and isolating any resident with acute respiratory illness or fever.
  • Ensuring signage is clear and that personal protective equipment (gowns, gloves, masks and eye protection) for health care workers are available and accessible for care of patients with acute respiratory illness.
  • Helping visitors with personal protective equipment if they are visiting residents under precautions.
  • Reporting any suspected COVID-19 illness in residents or staff to the local public health unit.

The RHRA is working closely with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Long-Term Care and we will continue to share information as the situation evolves.

For the latest information on COVID-19 and how to recognize possible symptoms, visit the Ministry of Health’s information portal.

RHRA requires following the protocols set out in the materials, particularly the active screening of visitors and self-monitoring of staff and volunteers. We strongly encourage homes to review their infection prevention and control procedures and emergency plans to ensure preparedness. Both AdvantAge and ORCA have pandemic resources available which can be helpful in your preparations.

COVID-19 RESOURCES

Government of Ontario COVID-19 Portal – updated daily at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

RHRA Guidance on Ontario Regulation 118/20April 3, 2020

Directive from the Chief Medical Officer – Precautions and Procedures for Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes  updated March 30, 2020

CMOH Directive #5 – PPE in Hospitals  updated March 30, 2020

CMOH Directive #1 Health Care Providers  updated March 30, 2020

Memo from the Chief Medical Officer – Health Worker Illness and Return to Work – March 19, 2020 

Ministry of Health COVID-19 Guidance: Long-Term Care Homes  updated April 1, 2020

Case Definition – Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – updated March 30, 2020

Ministry of Health COVID-19 Screening Checklist – updated March 13, 2020

Memo from the Chief Medical Officer – Visitors in care homes – March 13, 2020

MOH COVID-19 Guidance for Food Premises & Best Practices – March 24, 2020

COVID-19 Affected Areas List – updated daily

Updated IPAC Recommendations for Use of Personal Protective Equipment for Care of Individuals with Suspect or Confirmed COVID-19 – ENGLISH updated March 12, 2020

Updated IPAC Recommendations for Use of Personal Protective Equipment for Care of Individuals with Suspect or Confirmed COVID-19 – FRENCH updated March 12, 2020

MOH Update on COVID-19 Preparation updated March 12, 2020

Updated IPAC Measures for COVID-19 updated March 10, 2020

Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) COVID-19 Portal – updated daily

AdvantAge Ontario COVID-19 Portal

Information on use of N95 Masks Beyond Shelf Life  updated, March 27 2020

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Posters

FOR VISITORS

English Poster updated March 14, 2020

French Poster updated March 14, 2020

FOR PATIENTS

English Poster

French Poster

REPORTING

How to contact your local Public Health Unit

RHRA Special Advisories

The RHRA also provides up-to-date information on COVID-19 through Special Advisories to our newsletter subscribers. Please email e-newsletter@rhra.ca to be added to the list.

April 3, 2020 Special Advisory: Notification on Regulation Change: 118/20

  • On April 2, the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility filed an amendment to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 regulation
  • Homes may take any necessary steps related to staffing and work deployment required to prevent, respond to or alleviate the impact of COVID-19
  • Homes are now required to report COVID-19 outbreaks to RHRA on the same day as it is reported to public health
  • As well as additional measures on information posting, collective agreements and suspension of other requirements for the duration of the emergency

March 31, 2020 Special Advisory: Updated precautions and procedures to be implemented immediately by all retirement homes

  • The Chief Medical Officer of Health has provided more specific directives for Long-Term Care Homes that are to be implemented immediately by all retirement homes in Ontario
  • Health providers and health care entities have been provided with updated directives on the required precautions when caring for patients with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • Statement and survey regarding PPE
  • Government funding for enhanced screening and infection control for retirement homes

March 24, 2020 Special Advisory: COVID-19 Tests for Retirement Home Residents

  • Public Health Ontario has confirmed that COVID-19 tests for retirement home residents are to be prioritized by laboratories as is the case for long-term care home residents’ tests

March 23, 2020 Special Advisory: NEW: Chief Medical Officer’s Directives on Residents Leaving Retirement Homes 

  • Residents are no longer permitted to leave the home for short-stay absences to visit family and friends
  • Residents may go outside of the home but should remain on the home’s property and maintain a distance of a minimum of two metres from other people at all times

March 22, 2020 Special Advisory: Emergency amendments to Retirement Homes Act, 2010 related to Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations for retirement homes

  • On March 20, 2020, the province amended the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 to require retirement homes’ infection prevention and control programs to follow the recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer
  • Homes must also take all reasonable steps to follow any recommendations by the Chief Medical Officer directed at long-term care homes as they relate to COVID-19

March 19, 2020 Special Advisory: Chief Medical Officer provides recommendations on managing health worker illness and return to work

  • Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer has released recommendations related to managing health worker illness and return to work which retirement homes will now be required to follow

March 17, 2020 Special Advisory: COVID-19 FAQs Available on RHRA Website

March 16, 2020 Special Advisory: ORCA Offers Free COVID-19 Operations Resources and Industry Webinar to All Licensed Retirement Homes

  • ORCA is now making pandemic materials in its Learning Centre available to non-members free of charge, including webinars

March 15, 2020 Special Advisory: Message from RHRA CEO and Registrar regarding COVID-19 Response

  • The RHRA will be modifying our inspections process on a temporary basis to limit the need to enter retirement homes during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Important information on compliance during this time

March 14, 2020 Special Advisory: RHRA Provides Clarification on Expectations Regarding Visitors to Retirement Homes

  • Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has recommended that retirement homes and long-term care homes allow only essential visitors
  • Essential visitors will be screened upon entry
  • Those who fail screening will not be permitted to enter

March 13, 2020 Special Advisory: RHRA Clarifies Expectations for Retirement Homes Regarding Active Screening for COVID-19

  • Active screening required for staff and visitors
  • In addition to active screening, retirement homes should follow the guidance for respiratory outbreak and COVID-19 prevention from the Ministry of Health

March 10, 2020 Special Advisory: RHRA Advises Retirement Homes to Immediately Begin Active Screening for COVID-19

  • The Ministry of Health is advising all retirement homes to implement active screening protocols for all visitors, resident admissions, re-admissions and returning residents
  • Guidance and links to resources are available from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) and Advantage Ontario

March 8, 2020 Special Advisory: COVID-19 (coronavirus) preparedness reminder and resources

  • Helpful links and resources for protocols, signage, screening, self-isolation and pandemic resources

January 27, 2020 Special Edition RHRA Update: COVID-19 coronavirus

  • Every licensed retirement home in Ontario must have an infection control program
  • Links to helpful resources

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A retirement home

A retirement home 1

There are over 700 licensed retirement homes in Ontario. Let us help you find the one that’s right for you.


#ICON

Status of home

Search the Retirement Home Database for a complete history of a retirement home's compliance with the Act.

Read More
#ICON

Types of homes

If you've never lived in a retirement home or haven’t needed long-term care, you may not be aware of the difference between the two. Here is what you need to know.

Read More
#ICON

I’m not sure how to start

Here, we’ll provide tools to help support your research.

Read More

A retirement home 1

There are over 700 licensed retirement homes in Ontario. Let us help you find the one that’s right for you.


#ICON

Status of home

Search the Retirement Home Database for a complete history of a retirement home's compliance with the Act.

Read More
#ICON

Types of homes

If you've never lived in a retirement home or haven’t needed long-term care, you may not be aware of the difference between the two. Here is what you need to know.

Read More
#ICON

I’m not sure how to start

Here, we’ll provide tools to help support your research.

Read More

A retirement home 1

There are over 700 licensed retirement homes in Ontario. Let us help you find the one that’s right for you.


#ICON

Status of home

Search the Retirement Home Database for a complete history of a retirement home's compliance with the Act.

Read More
#ICON

Types of homes

If you've never lived in a retirement home or haven’t needed long-term care, you may not be aware of the difference between the two. Here is what you need to know.

Read More
#ICON

I’m not sure how to start

Here, we’ll provide tools to help support your research.

Read More

A retirement home 1

There are over 700 licensed retirement homes in Ontario. Let us help you find the one that’s right for you.


#ICON

Status of home

Search the Retirement Home Database for a complete history of a retirement home's compliance with the Act.

Read More
#ICON

Types of homes

If you've never lived in a retirement home or haven’t needed long-term care, you may not be aware of the difference between the two. Here is what you need to know.

Read More
#ICON

I’m not sure how to start

Here, we’ll provide tools to help support your research.

Read More
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