January 22, 2021
With “lockdown” regulations in place in the City of Toronto and Peel Region, and a “Stay at Home” order in effect as of January 14th, I want to reassure our clients and caregivers that Circle of Care is an essential service and we continue to provide care to our clients.
We closely monitor the local infection situation, and we are carefully following the guidance of Public Health Ontario for Home and Community Care and the Ministry of Health to ensure our clients, families, and employees are protected while we provide necessary and essential care.
Circle of Care’s infection prevention measures include regularly screening clients for new symptoms, following recommended protocols on hand hygiene, the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the safe disposal of supplies.
The Ministry of Health has released a three phase plan for COVID-19 vaccinations, and Circle of Care is following the Ministry’s advice for vaccination of healthcare workers, which is expected in phase 2.
What should I expect from my Circle of Care provider?
All Circle of Care employees conducting home visits are required to screen clients and their family members for symptoms of COVID-19. The list of symptoms is extensive, and may include fever, cough, pink eye, general malaise/fatigue, shortness of breath, etc.
- Our health care professional employees (such as your Client Services Supervisor, Case Manager, or Social Worker) will contact you prior to their visit to ask you questions via phone.
- Your Personal Support Worker/Homemaker will conduct the screening questionnaire in-person at the beginning of each visit.
If you or any family member in your home reports symptoms, your Personal Support Worker (PSW) or Homemaker will wear full PPE to provide your care, and will contact the office in order to have the Client Services Supervisor follow up with you directly to gather more information.
This screening ensures that any individuals showing symptoms of COVID-19 are identified immediately to limit the spread of the virus.
What protective equipment should my PSW wear?
Your PSW should always wear a mask, gloves, and eye protection (face shield or goggles) during every visit. In addition, they will wear a gown and shoe coverings if the client is confirmed COVID-positive, or if there is a risk of exposure, or if symptoms are present according to the guidelines set out by Public Health Ontario.
In the event of a potential risk for exposure, you will be contacted by a Circle of Care staff member to inform you about next steps for receiving care, delivery of personal protective equipment for use during care in your home, and any requirements for self-isolation or testing, if required. We work closely with Public Health and are working hard to ensure the health and safety of all our clients and staff.
In addition, before your PSW begins providing care, it is important that you inform Circle of Care providers if you or your family members in the home are sick, experiencing flu-like symptoms, have been exposed to COVID-19, or have been advised to self-isolate.
If you are concerned that your PSW is not wearing the correct protective equipment during your visit, please contact your Client Services Supervisor or your Service Coordinator.
What should I do if I think I might have COVID?
If you are concerned you have COVID-19, or that you may have come into contact with someone with COVID-19, please contact Telehealth (1-866-797-0000) or your family doctor and inform them of your concerns. You are encouraged to book an appointment and get tested at a local assessment centre.
Privacy and Health Information
Circle of Care maintains the privacy of its clients and employees, and information on the health status of specific individuals will not be disclosed. Public Health has implemented contact tracing guidelines for all service providers to follow when there is a concern of exposure to COVID-19 in the community. We want to ensure that the risk of exposure is minimized and that we are following guidance from Public Health to ensure our clients and staff are safe. If there is a potential risk of exposure, you will be contacted by Circle of Care. If you have questions about being tested, please contact your local Public Health or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-000.
If there is a potential risk of exposure identified, PSWs are required to wear full PPE (defined as clean gloves, surgical mask, yellow isolation gowns, goggles or face shield) for the duration of 14 days.
Mandatory Mask Bylaw & Physical Distancing
City of Toronto and surrounding municipalities have enacted bylaws around mandatory masking for enclosed, public areas. Where possible, we encourage clients and family members to wear a mask, as tolerated, while your care provider is in the home. This is recommended as added protection for clients and care providers.
When your PSW is not providing direct personal care, we have asked all our employees to maintain a 6-feet physical distance from you or your family members during their visit.
Lastly, if you have a new visitor in your home that does not live with you, please let us know immediately so we can take the necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus and maintain physical distance from your visitor. Depending on the visitor’s original place of residence, we may ask that this person remains in another room during our visit.
Other Services at Circle of Care
We continue to offer transportation and Meals on Wheels services throughout the pandemic, and we continue to offer virtual programs such as exercise classes, Phone Pals, hospice care and support groups. Our Adult Day Program is currently closed while community transmission is high.
Easier Communication with Circle of Care – Our New App
Circle of Care has a new mobile app for clients and caregivers. Called “EZ Assist”, this app will allow you or loved ones to see all the details of your upcoming appointments, including information on which PSW will be visiting and any changes in your schedule. The app also allows you to cancel appointments if needed and can save you from making phone calls to Circle of Care. The app is free to download.
As public health restrictions in our area tighten, we encourage you to download our app to help facilitate the clearest communication possible between you and our Circle of Care staff. The app is available for Android and iPhone.
We appreciate your cooperation to keep everyone safe and healthy during these difficult times.
Chief Executive Officer