This past week we saw the Ontario government initiate the need for a vaccine passport for access to indoor non-essential venues. If you’ve been trying to figure this whole thing out, you’re not alone. What do you download, upload, print and bring??
You may also have many questions about where Retirement Homes (and Long Term Care) (and well let’s say any form of Seniors Housing) fall?
For the purpose of this blog I’ll reference Retirement Homes but much applies to LTC as well. As of September 21st, the province mandated that all Retirement Homes must have a Vaccine Policy implemented. The directions from the Ministry do not outline what specifically each individual home will do, but it does indicate the policy must have one or all of the following in place:
1 – That all staff, students, contractors, and volunteers must be double vaccinated by X date. They also must have a copy (proof) onsite for each. Or,
2 – A copy (proof) of a medical reason for not being vaccinated. Or,
3 – Employees who still decline vaccination must participate in an educational session and documented proof of participation is required.
If they select number 2 or 3, then they must be screened on a regular basis with rapid antigen testing or PCR testing at a certified laboratory.
All that being said, most (if not all) retirement homes have adopted only #1 & 2. All employees must be double vaccinated by a specific date.
We are also starting to see more and more mandates from various retirement homes that visitors also must show proof of being double vaccinated to enter the building. It’s important to note that this was/is not mandated by the Ontario Ministry at this time BUT a retirement home is able to create their own vaccination policy that can extend to anyone who comes/goes inside the residence. If you are planning on touring a retirement home, please take with you your proof of 2x vaccination in case it is requested.
We recognize that some in the community have decided not to be vaccinated for a variety of reasons. However, as we saw early on, seniors were some of the most vulnerable to this illness. It is also very costly and overwhelmingly difficult to manage outbreaks; not just from the extra PPE and cleaning but the toll on staff. Putting in these mandates allows the community to put its best foot forward to manage the safety, security and peace of mind for all residents as we progress in the fourth wave.
For those unvaccinated friends and families consider virtual tours, virtual visits or even visits outside. Taking mom/dad for a drive or to your home is also still an option.
There is no mandate for Residents to be vaccinated to live in a retirement home but note that could change and/or become a requirement from the retirement home.
*** Note this can change quickly depending on any provincial mandates or pandemic environment updates***