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Long-term care study shows how Vancouver home proactively dealt with pandemic

Last Updated Dec 17, 2020 at 2:19 pm PST

(CREDIT: iStock Photo)
Summary

A new study out of UBC is highlighting one Vancouver care home that got a lot of things right

Louis Brier Home and Hospital did not have a single case of the virus until the second wave

Study author Farinaz Havaei says the home brought in infection control practices months before they were recommended

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A UBC study is highlighting a Vancouver long-term care home as an example of how to properly handle a rapidly-evolving pandemic.

While many negative stories have come out of Canada’s long-term care sector during this pandemic, study author Farinaz Havaei says Louis Brier Home and Hospital did not have a single case of the virus until the second wave, mostly due to swift implementation of safety measures that would become provincially mandated months later.

“Their executive leadership team essentially had experience in terms of other outbreaks, like SARS, outside of the province,” she tells NEWS 1130. “This emphasis and prioritization of safety by the leadership team is a really important lesson for everybody in the healthcare sector.”

Some of the measures included keeping an up-to-date list of people coming into the facility, enforcing hand hygiene for staff, monitoring PPE supplies and, launching one-on-one support programs for residents.

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“We’ve been overemphasizing all of the negatives and I think it’s really important to also highlight the positives out there, the profound and very high standard of care that’s being delivered,” Havaei says.

But the policies that were put in place also negatively affected staff workloads, she adds.

“With family visits restricted, they often had to provide the care and emotional connection that would otherwise come from the residents’ families. Isolation measures were time-consuming. And despite the increased workload, staffing levels did not change—if anything they decreased as staff now couldn’t work at multiple sites,” Havaei says.

She says the response wasn’t perfect, and Louis Brier had been struggling with a shortage of staff, like many other care homes. It’s an issue she says requires more study since most of the data on long-term care staffing comes from the U.S.

The study notes B.C. was the first province to record a COVID-19 outbreak and related deaths in long-term care facilities. The homes have also been linked to 81 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in Canada.