An Update from our CEO Carey Lucki Regarding COVID-19

Updated January 11, 2022

Dear Circle of Care Clients, Caregivers and Families:

We are now dealing with the new community spread of the Omicron variant as part of another phase in this global pandemic.  Across the healthcare system, staffing levels have become significantly compromised. At Circle of Care, we continue to ensure our staff are following all public health and medical directives regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), exposure, testing, and isolation protocols.

We are encountering challenges with our staffing capacity. This is due to the dramatic transmissibility of the Omicron variant, which is causing many of our staff to either get sick or get exposed which requires isolation. In addition, school closures have created childcare challenges for many of our staff.

We are doing our very best to continue to provide care for all of our clients. However, there may be times when we are unable to meet your scheduling needs, and changes may need to be implemented.

We know that it can be upsetting to have your PSW visits cancelled or moved around, and we apologize for any inconvenience or frustration this may cause. We appreciate your understanding during these very challenging times. We will endeavour to continue to provide you and your families with excellent care and quality of service and support you in the best way possible.

I would like to take this opportunity to share with you what we are doing at Circle of Care to help reduce your risk of infection, as well as the risk to our staff during this current wave of the pandemic.

Reintroducing 4-Point Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Protocols

At Circle of Care, we have reintroduced 4-point Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our Personal Support Workers and any other staff conducting home visits. This protocol was in place for Circle of Care staff in earlier waves of the pandemic, and then scaled back when case numbers dropped. Due to the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, all PSWs and staff members visiting client homes should wear masks, gowns, gloves and face shields/goggles for all client visits, regardless of COVID status.

Client and Family Safety Measures

For all clients and family members who can tolerate mask wearing, we ask that you please wear a mask during home visits. Those who are not receiving care (family members, caregivers) should try to physically distance from our staff as much as possible to reduce the risk of infection. If you have visitors at your home, and you have a multi-room space, we ask that these visitors stay in another room during our visits, with the door closed.

If you or someone in your household tests positive for COVID, please let your Client Services Supervisor know as soon as possible. You will still be able to receive home services from Circle of Care if you are COVID-positive. It is important for us to know your status so that we can conduct contact tracing in collaboration with our Public Health partners.

COVID Status of Staff

We would like to remind all clients and families that the COVID status (positive/negative) of our Personal Support Workers is personal health information, and as such, we are unable to share this information with you due to privacy legislation.

When a Circle of Care PSW tests positive for COVID, or they have a confirmed household exposure, or they experience COVID-like symptoms, their upcoming client visits are removed from their schedule and they are told to isolate at home for the required quarantine period before they return to work.

Making Changes to Your Service Care Plan

If you feel uncomfortable about receiving service at this time, please contact your Service Coordinator and they can discuss options for putting your service temporarily on hold and/or other changes to your current service care plan.

Changes to Our Programs and Services

Throughout the pandemic, we have reviewed our programs and services to provide the best possible care and service to our clients while maintaining your safety and the safety of our staff. Due to rising case counts, we have made changes to the following programs and services:

  • Home Visits – Please be aware that you may experience a delay in your home visits in the event that we need to alter workers’ schedules on short notice. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.
  • iRIDE Transportation – iRide continues to provide essential rides to clients, including dialysis, chemo, medical/specialist, and grocery shopping.
  • Adult Day Program – Our ADP cancelled all in-person programming in late December, and moved online. Our ADP will be re-opening for in-person programming on January 12, 2022, and we are working closely with York Region Public Health for the safe re-opening of the program.
  • Games & More Social Program – This in-person program has been cancelled indefinitely.
  • Exercise Classes – Our in-person classes are cancelled; online classes continue as per normal.
  • Friendly Visiting & Hospice Visiting – In-person friendly visits have been cancelled, and volunteers have been advised to connect regularly with their clients through phone calls.

Protect Yourself and Your Family: Get a Booster Dose

Receiving a third dose of the COVID vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against the new Omicron variant. We are working with our staff to ensure that they receive booster doses as soon as possible, and I encourage all of you to book appointments for your booster dose as well.

New appointments are being added to the online booking system regularly. To book a booster dose, please visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/ or to find an appointment at your local pharmacy, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations.

As information is changing regularly regarding the Omicron variant, we encourage you to visit our website for the most up-to-date information about our programs and services.

Together with our employees, volunteers, and students, we remain dedicated to providing the best possible care for our clients, caregivers, and their families. Thank you for working together with us as we help you to continue to live happy and fulfilling lives at home and in the community.

Sincerely,

Carey Lucki
Chief Executive Officer, Circle of Care and VP, Sinai Health

 
Central HCCSS
Claims Conference
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
Government of Canada
City of Toronto
Hospice Palliative Care Ontario
Accreditation Canada