The Participation House – COVID-19 Planning/Prevention Update May 13, 2020

As we move into the beginning of Spring with the nicer weather upon us, please be assured that The Participation House Project (Durham Region) continues to remain current with advice and practices shared through our government and the Ontario Health Organization, while continuing to battle the worldwide pandemic COVID-19.   We are regularly reviewing and adapting our processes and modifying our practices to ensure all necessary precautions are in place to maintain a Healthy, Safe Workplace and Service environment for all. 

As the information and practices to address and manage the virus change at a rapid rate, we continue to mitigate the spread of the virus throughout our agency. Our three-pronged approach ensures that we are proactive, responsible, responsive while incrementally increasing in breadth and restrictions while responding to the movement to “Open up Ontario” as the information becomes available and as our community realities change.

The measures that we are taking during this pandemic are always guided by the following priorities:

  • To maintain a healthy and safe work environment.
  • To empower employees through information and open dialogue.
  • To help staff maintain a work-life balance through understanding their routines and commitments and so to help reduce personal pressures.
  • To continuously collaborate and engage the workforce in developing the solutions and managing concerns as they evolve.
  • To obtain as much Personal Protective Equipment as possible.
  • To prioritize our day to day work with the intention of reducing the prevalence and occurrences of COVID-19 by planning three weeks ahead.
  • To be fluid in our approaches and adjust to change so to mitigate risk and manage staff anxieties and concerns.
  • To incrementally increase interventions through creating more safety measures as risks grow.
  • To manage, provide and implement PPE usage in a responsible manner to not exhaust our resources before they are needed and as directed by Public Health.
  • To introduce tools and safety filters in a graduated manner that matches and helps manage staff angst.
  • To continually recognize and appreciate the Direct Support Professionals for their ongoing commitment and dedication to PH and the people it supports.

Phase 5 – RESPOND – 7-part approach We have transitioned to this Phase

KEY TRIGGER(s)- Presumptive and/or Confirmed COVID-19 Case at PH

1. Educate staff and prepare them on how to identify and respond to presumed COVID-19

2. Increase restrictions and staff movement within the work environment and/or entrance to service locations based on activities outside of PH and through employer/public health directives for self-isolation.

3. Implement Self-Isolation for all residents within the home and stop all group activities

4. Keep people out of hospital and in their homes if possible and to manage their vulnerabilities given restrictions to support them once they are at the hospital.

5. Track staff movements within our schedule so to quickly engage containment upon positive assessment of a COVID-19 case in our workplace.

6. Adjust environments, interactions and plans as informed and directed by Public Health Officials.

7. Full PPE for all confirmed COVID-19 cases

Some examples of Actions/Activities:

Circulation of 3-Phases of Interaction shared as per flow-chart decision making matrix, practice mock scenarios on how to respond to symptoms and concerns of infection/illness observed, continue to monitor and develop responses as informed by Public Health, government and in response to the changes within our community and environment, ongoing procurement of PPE

Phase 6 – RE-OPEN – 7-part approach We are transitioning into this phase

KEY TRIGGER(s)- Maintain Infection Control/Prevention Practices/Begin engaging/responding to family/community needs

1.Continue supporting and preparing staff to respond to a possible presumed/confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis.

2.Maintain current Health & Safety practices pertaining to the cleaning/sanitization of workplace locations, use of PPE in accordance with present situation, practicing and evaluating our processes through mock scenarios, continue to update our information/documentation to be aligned with that of Ontario Health and the DS sector specifically.

3.Ensure the implementation of the pandemic pay to recognize staff for their efforts and sacrifice during this time.

4. Continue isolation practices for locations by limiting staff movement between locations, no non-essential visitors.

5. Continue to track/analyze staff & service recipients health as a means of quickly response/containment in the event of a positive assessment in our workplace.

6. Connect with and provide to family’s information with respect to services & resources available to them during the pandemic, begin planning what the future will look like as we move forward.

7. Adjust environments, interactions and plans as informed and directed by our Governments & Public Health Officials.

Some examples of Actions/Activities:

Screeners continue to be updated, step by step outbreak protocol has been developed & shared, practice mock drills are being practiced. We continue to adhere to government direction & work with the Union to proceed with securing/implementing pandemic pay, covid carts and updated signage has been delivered to locations to address supplies required for presumed/confirmed diagnosis, ongoing communication/direction continues with the Durham Region Health department, we are collecting/analyzing and reporting daily health status of staff & service recipients to address monitoring the environment with the purposes of containing a diagnosis, we have been engaging members of our community group in a weekly Zoom session to keep them connected with their peers, we are beginning to connect with our employment participants for the purpose of assisting them to seek employment.

Continuity and quality of our service is essential and would not be possible without the ongoing dedication and commitment of our front-line Direct Support Professionals.  Thank you for all that you do! #inthistogether! As always Stay Safe and Stay Healthy.

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