Our COVID-19 Policies and Responses | Learn More

Our Response to COVID-19

Updated December 7, 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.

With the new measures in place from BC’s Public Health Office as of November 7, 2020, we have put in new measures such as eliminating cloth masks and providing medical face masks for staff AND clients. We have also adjusted any group fitness activities to be offered outdoors and in a self-paced format.

If you are looking for information on admission into our women’s programs at Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic, see our Short Process page.

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 female clients to GSWC will complete isolation in their own private suite with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room.
  • New male clients to SCHC will complete quarantine in the secured medical unit in a private room. After quarantine and testing, they are given access to the main residence and must wear a mask until test results come back and properly social distance.
  • Restrictive measures and additional quarantine requirements have been put in place for clients arriving by air.

Visitors, Family Weekends, and Alumni Support Meetings

With phase 3, we have begun permitting alumni visitors back to the SCHC site. Family and friend visitors are still not permitted and our Family Weekends and alumni support meetings still remain on online platforms. Family and alumni phone support will continue.

  • Onsite SMART meetings have been moved to outside areas and are restricted to clients and alumni. All alumni must complete a Visitor Screening Form each time they come on site. 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 and outdoor meetings are being offered by our coaches and counsellors across Canada in place of the weekly alumni support meetings.

Hand Hygiene

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.

Client Health

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 clients wear medical face masks when outside of their bedroom, eating in the dining room, or in the pool.
  • All semi-private rooms have been changed to private rooms.
  • 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 or outside to allow for appropriate social distancing.
  • Group fitness classes now changed to be outdoors or in a self-paced/individual formats
  • 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 collect lists from clients and purchase 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 tablets 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 & Meals

We’ve taken the following precautionary measures related to dining and meals to protect our clients.

  • Creating additional dining spaces to reduce client proximity during meal times. Staff provided alternative spaces for mealtimes and breaks.
  • 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.

Facility Cleanliness

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.
  • UV lighting and purification in HVAC system to destroy micro-organisms and contaminants.

Staff Precautions

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 must be screened and have their temperature taken upon arrival for their shift.
  • All staff wear medical face masks while working in facility spaces with staff or clients.
  • All staff is required to immediately stop at a hand wash station as soon as they enter SCHC or GSWC.
  • Staff capable of working from home still continue to do so.
  • Coronavirus/COVID-19 information sessions and information packages provided to all staff.
  • Scheduled work travel and conferences postponed until fall 2020.
  • 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.


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