This weekend, I put down the latest Brandon Sanderson book so that I could read ‘A Perfect Storm: The COVID-19 Experience for Revera and the Long Term Care Sector’ which is a report completed by an independent expert advisory panel.
I have blogged about the Crisis In Long Term Care over the years and all of these pre Covid issues- really did create the perfect storm.
The panel, which was chaired by Dr. Bob Bell, a health care professional with more than 40 years’ experience as a doctor, surgeon, hospital CEO and deputy minister of health in Ontario who volunteered his time on. Other reviewers included national and international experts in public health, infection prevention, infectious disease, geriatric care, labour/management principles and architectural design. The mandate of the panel was to identify opportunities for improvement and develop implementable best practices.
The recommendations from the Expert Advisor Panel fall into four broad themes:
- “Community prevalence is a key driver of infection rates in long term care
- The panel’s research confirmed that the main risk factor for COVID-19 entering seniors homes was the prevalence of the virus in the communities in which Revera staff lived.
- Surveillance testing introduced in Ontario should be adopted by other provinces:
- To reduce the risk of the virus getting into long term care homes, regular, proactive testing of asymptomatic staff and visitors is essential.
- Building design is key, and governments need to accelerate the redevelopment of aging long-term care infrastructure:
- The risk of virus spread depended, in part, on the residence’s age and whether it had ward-style rooms. Revera owns 32 older homes in Ontario; we applied to redevelop these homes years ago and 2 the government has approved the construction of three of them. As a result of the pandemic experience, Revera intends to work with local health authorities to ensure that only two residents are allowed per room until redevelopment is completed, and will install Plexiglas separators to enhance safety.
- Governments and operators need to address the long-standing staffing challenges that were exacerbated by the pandemic:
- Revera, and the sector as a whole, faced staffing shortages, which became even more challenging during outbreaks and as a result of required staff absences due to self-isolation. Even after the pandemic is over, the long term care sector and the ministries of health that set funding levels for staffing, must focus on solutions to increase staffing levels and attract and train new care providers.”
From this report, Revera has started a ‘pandemic response plan’ working to address the above issues. I applaud Revera for having undertaken this review. Let’s see what happens next.