IERHA responds to concerns about visitor protocol at Sunnywood PHC

By Don Norman

Concerns have been shared across social media regarding the policies being enforced at Sunnywood Manor PCH in Pine Falls.

IERHA CEO, Ron Van Denakker (file photo)

The issue has been heating up on social media in recent days. One such post was from a former Pine Falls nurse, Lucille Lavoie. “I am very concerned about Sunny Wood Manor where my 96 year old Dad lives in Pine Falls. Have been informed there are two family members visiting regularly two of the clients,” she said. Her comment received a torrent of comments with people weighing in with their concerns.

The Advocate reached out to Ron Van Denakker, CEO to ask him about the situation at the personal care home. “COVID-19’s influence on the activities of our daily life has rightfully enhanced people’s concern over measures to protect those who are most vulnerable to complications from this virus,” he said.

He wouldn’t speak specifically to the situation at the Sunnywood PCH, but said that the only people entering any personal care home across the region to interact with residents are staff and a select few family members. He clarified that “in exceptional circumstances, where management teams have recognized that the care these individuals deliver to their family members is essential to these residents’ health and safety.”

According to Van Denakker, the family members who are allowed access are subject to the same screening process for symptoms of illness as staff when they enter a facility and they interact only with the individual resident they care for during their time in a personal care home.

“While maintaining residents’ health is the focus of a great number of policies and procedures that we have in place at Sunnywood Manor, COVID-19 has brought with it an enhanced need for precaution.”

He also provided a summary of some of the other precautionary measures we have adopted in personal care homes across the region:

  • On March 14, we started advising families not to visit if they pose a health risk to families.
  • On March 27, we advised that family member visitation to residents was suspended indefinitely and all outings into the community were suspended. We also suspended the delivery of any services or entertainment offered by community members in the personal care home.
  • On April 1, we started screening staff members entering personal care homes to ensure they were not experiencing any symptoms of illness. We will soon be adding temperature checks into our staff screening process.

“We appreciate family and community members’ interest in the health and welfare of our most vulnerable residents in personal care homes,” said Van Denakker. “Now is the time for heightened concern. Our response to COVID-19 is ongoing and dynamic but we are steadfast in our work to address personal care home residents’ needs and keep them safe.”

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