Updated May 27, 2020
At Sunshine Coast Health Centre (SCHC) and Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic (GSWC), our primary focus has always been, and continues to be, the health and well-being of our clients, staff, and their families. With the recent impact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on a global scale, we recognize that it remains a primary focus for all of us.
As it pertains to COVID-19, we are taking appropriate health measures and following recommendations from experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), World Health Agency of Canada (WHO), and our local health authorities.
We have gone beyond standard protocols to ensure the necessary screening and prevention measures are in place so that our facilities are as safe as possible from coronavirus COVID-19 exposure. We continue to support our clients in-house and alumni at home wholeheartedly in their recovery. With the changes we made, there has been minimal interruption in daily operations, and admission of new clients to our residential programs will continue as planned with additional requirements and restrictions.
As an accreditated and licensed facility, we continue to work with our local health authority to ensure the superior Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) measures are in place. We follow best practices and continuously monitor them for updates. Our IPAC officers have appropriately prepared all staff on updated preventative measures for COVID-19 specific to their department as well as provided education and training on a company-wide level.
Starting in June, there will be a re-introduction of certain services in BC. While we are all excited to see some semblance of normalcy return to our lives, SCHC will be intentionally delaying any changes to its facility and programming based on Health Ministry recommendations by two weeks. This will allow us to see the effects of the re-introduction of services at other organizations, allowing us to make informed changes with as minimal risk as possible.
Pre-Admission Screening of New Clients
Prior to admission into SCHC or GSWC, we complete a specific COVID-19 pre-screening tool for new clients. We want to ensure that all clients being admitted to our facilities are screened for symptoms of coronavirus infection that could put not only our treatment community at risk, but also our small rural community in Powell River, BC.
- All new admissions are pre-screened over the phone prior to admission on site.
- Clients are encouraged to travel by car to our facilities. We have arranged for Sober Coaches to transport clients to our facilities if needed for both BC and Alberta.
- New clients are isolated in a separate facility in another location offsite. Each client will have his own suite with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room.
- Restrictive measures and additional quarantine requirements have been put in place for clients arriving by air.
Visitors, Family Weekends, and Alumni Support Meetings
Until further notice, we have stopped visitation to our facilities and are moving our Family Weekends and alumni support meetings to online platforms. Family and alumni phone support will continue.
- Onsite SMART meetings have been restricted to clients within our residential programs. Attendance to offsite meetings has been cancelled. Additional group activities have been added to the schedule to address this sudden discrepancy.
- 1-on-1 phone and virtual sessions are being offered to family members by our Family Counsellor in place of Family Weekend.
- Online course for family members being offered by Family Counsellor.
- Virtual meetings are being offered by our coaches and counsellors across Canada in place of the weekly alumni support meetings.
Hand hygiene has always been important to us as a residential facility for individuals with varying health issues, of whom many are immunocompromised. Now with COVID-19, our dedication to proper hand hygiene practices is even more noticeable. We’ve taken the following measures to ensure that hand-hygiene best practices are adopted by everyone in our facilities.
- All patients and staff are asked to use hand sanitizer immediately when they enter SCHC or GSWC.
- Extra posted and virtual signage has been added throughout our facilities to remind and encourage both clients and staff to practice frequent and effective hand hygiene.
- Increased the number of hand-hygiene stations in all of our facilities and buildings. Introduction of exterior hand-hygiene stations at all building entrances.
- Increased frequency of hand-hygiene audits for staff and clients.
- Provided education (or re-education) regarding hand hygiene to all clients and staff.
We have a full medical team available to care for our clients’ health and are taking the following additional precautions.
- Social distancing measures implemented in all common and shared areas with physical and virtual signage reminding clients of social distancing.
- All semi-private rooms have been changed to private rooms. Each client has own private toilet and sink.
- Daily health surveillance by our medical team allows for immediate care if a client is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or any other illness.
- Group sessions are being held in the largest available rooms to allow for appropriate social distancing.
- Offsite outings have been restricted to outdoor areas only (hikes, beaches, etc.) and on-site activities.
- Client trips for essential goods have been postponed. Staff are collecting lists and purchasing all requested items in one trip.
- Administrative appointments have been moved to virtual appointments (tablet provided if requested).
- Workshops and meetings being offered virtually through company-provided tablet to new clients in isolation.
- All vehicles used for client travel are fully cleaned and sanitized after each trip.
- Limits to number of clients in the pool, gym, and sauna at one time.
Dining and Meals
We’ve taken the following precautionary measures related to dining and meals to protect our clients.
- Creating additional dining spaces to reduce client and staff proximity during meal times.
- Having a staff member to remind clients to practice effective hand hygiene before meals.
- Our kitchens have always provided full-service meals, but will now also provide condiments and pre-prepared cutlery and napkins to avoid cross-contamination.
- Clients residing in our medical unit receive delivered meals and are provided snacks and drinks in a private kitchen separate from the rest of the facility.
We have a team of highly skilled environmental services staff who keep our facilities clean and surfaces free of germs.
- Extra cleaning shifts have been added to the schedule to ensure that all high-touch surfaces are cleaned frequently throughout the day.
- We have increased how often we deep clean our facilities and have been distributing additional personal protective equipment (PPE) and antiviral products in all of our treatment facilities.
- We’ve incorporated Ozone Sanitization into our deep clean process
- All office space decor and layout has been changed to allow for effective deep cleaning.
We’ve recently taken the following precautionary measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection while staff is not at SCHC or GSWC to minimize the risk of coronavirus exposure in our treatment facilities.
- All staff is required to immediately stop at a hand wash station as soon as they enter SCHC or GSWC.
- Coronavirus COVID-19 information sessions and information packages provided to all staff.
- Scheduled work travel and conferences have been cancelled.
- Staff returning from travel to both high-risk and non-high-risk countries must self-isolate for 14 days.
- All staff is instructed to stay home if they or a family member have any symptoms of coronavirus COVID-19.
- Staff is requested to social isolate and distance themselves and their families as best possible. We have assigned non-medical staff dedicated to picking up items and groceries for any “essential” staff who have direct contacts with clients as part of their job description (e.g. medical, nursing, clinical, client services, kitchen, and housekeeping).
- Company-provided personal shopping for staff and their families to reduce frequency of trips to high-traffic areas such as grocery stores.