Updated June 9, 2020
Updated June 9, 2020
VHA Home HealthCare (VHA) is closely monitoring the COVID-19 Coronavirus situation and is carefully following the guidance of Public Health Ontario to ensure all of our clients, families, staff and service providers are protected while we continue to provide necessary care.
If you are concerned that you have COVID-19 or that you may have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, please call Telehealth (1-866-797-0000), your local public health unit or your health care provider and inform them of your concerns.
If you are a client currently receiving care, please call VHA’s main line at 416-489-2500 and explain your situation – one of our call response agents will be happy to assist you.
VHA’s priority is keeping our clients, families, staff and service providers protected. VHA’s Infection Prevention and Control team is in close contact with Public Health Ontario and other agencies and we continue to follow all recommended infection control measures for home health care. These practices include screening clients for new symptoms, and following recommended protocols on hand hygiene, the proper use of personal protective equipment and the disinfection of equipment.
We have encouraged our staff and service providers to telephone clients prior to visits to screen for symptoms of COVID-19 to keep everyone safe. These symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and secondary symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, headache, difficulty swallowing, unexplained runny nose, unexplained nasal congestion, sore throat, diarrhea, chills, conjunctivitis (or pink eye), decreased smell or taste, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain or sudden non-itchy rashes (in children). Screening may also take place in person at the beginning of a visit. This screening ensures that any individuals at risk of having or spreading COVID-19 are identified immediately.
Clinical evidence indicates that COVID-19 is contact/droplet spread, which means it is spread through direct and indirect contact and through respiratory droplets from actions such as sneezing and coughing. While physical distancing assists in controlling spread, we recognize keeping 6 feet or 2 metres apart is difficult due to the nature of health care work. For this reason, the use of personal protective equipment is important for staff and client protection and to minimize anxiety. We have implemented universal mask and face shield use for staff and service providers when providing close (within 6 feet) care for all clients. Please visit Public Health Ontario for further information on recommendations regarding the use of protective equipment.
The Ontario government has announced that testing for COVID-19 is now available for:
VHA is supportive of testing as an important public health strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We respect and protect the privacy of all of our workers. It is their choice whether or not to get tested, and it is their choice whether or not to share those results with VHA or with their clients. Here are the actions our staff and service providers are taking to keep themselves and the clients and families they care for protected.
VHA care providers are well-informed about appropriate infection prevention and control measures for home care. We value their expertise as health care professionals and their dedication to providing necessary care in the home, where most want to be. We thank our valued clients and families for their continued respect and support of their VHA caregivers.
VHA is pleased to now be able to offer virtual care visits for some of our services. Virtual care is any interaction between a health care provider and a client when they are in different locations. During COVID-19 when we are all trying to practice physical distancing wherever possible, virtual care visits provide an opportunity for VHA to provide some services without needing to be in the client’s home.
By using technology, such as the telephone or video conferencing, a health care provider and a client and/or a family caregiver can virtually connect with one another to improve access to care, continue progressing health care goals and can help clients and their care providers to stay connected.
VHA is currently providing some rehabilitation services via virtual care when it is clinically appropriate including some physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech language services, dietetics and social work services. If you would like to learn more about virtual care opportunities for your rehab services, please contact your VHA rehab service provider or 1-888-314-6622.
You have likely heard that long-term care homes have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. VHA has been asked to help care for these residents. A number of VHA staff have volunteered to temporarily work in these facilities and we are grateful for all they are doing. These staff will not be providing home care while they are assigned to a long-term care home, and they will be on paid isolation for 14 days following their work in a long-term care home before they return to working in the community. Thank you for your understanding if your home care services are disrupted as a result of this extraordinary situation.
VHA has received many generous donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Cloth Masks during COVID-19. Our thanks to Canadian Tire, Capable Plastic Injection and Mould Ltd., The Fountain of Love and Life, The Lo Family, MDA Corporation, Michael Garron Hospital Foundation, The Sewing Army, We the BOMB Girls and many VHA volunteers.
If you wish to support the ongoing efforts of VHA’s dedicated care providers, we welcome donations of Personal Protective Equipment and Cloth Masks. For further information, please visit VHA’s PPE drive page or contact Sandy Cao at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-489-2500 ext 4602.
Financial donations to our Simple Comforts Fund, which is used to purchase products and services for clients who are in need of urgent assistance and have limited or no access to funding, are also appreciated. Online donations can be made here.
If you wish to receive regular updates from VHA about our ongoing efforts during COVID-19, please contact email@example.com and we will send updates to you via email.
Please visit Public Health Ontario for further information regarding COVID-19 and measures we can all take to protect ourselves. We appreciate the cooperation of all of our clients and families to help keep everyone safe.