News & Updates

Effective May 17, 2020

We have seen several developments since our last COVID-19 update that we wanted to share with everyone. Two new orders from Alberta Health; CMOH orders number 12 and 14.

CMOH Order 12-2020 includes amendments from CMOH Order 10-2020:

  • direction to test all residents in a site/unit in the case of a new confirmed outbreak of COVID-19;
  • Clarification on who essential staff are that are permitted to work in more than one designated supportive living or long-term care;
  • Recommendations on continuous use of eye protection in the case of a continued COVID-19 transmission;
  • Additional clarity on when residents move out temporarily (e.g. move in with a child temporarily); and
  • Guidelines for consideration to support quality of life including consideration for those residents living with cognitive impairments.

CMOH Order 14-2020 includes amendments from CMOH Order 09-2020, such as:

  • Clarification with respect to Designated Essential Visitors
  • Outdoor visits
  • Visits at end of life

As was discussed in our last update, one of the main areas of confusion tends to relate to where we fall within the descriptions of services that are referenced in the Health Orders. In many instances we do not fall directly under the orders, however it is our desire and intent to follow the practices and recommendations within the Health Orders to the extent that we are mandated, and in cases where we are not, to the extent that we can.

The new orders have not had a substantive impact on our services as we already had structured practices in place. The bigger potential impact lies in the Provincial Relaunch Strategy. Parkland CLASS' position is that we are certainly pleased to see restrictions easing, as it is hopefully a reflection of COVID-19 starting to recede in terms of the number of new infections and it is a testament to everyone that is working hard to comply with the Health Orders and practices to limit the spread of the disease.

However, we want to be very cautious and not undo all of the success that we have had to date keeping everyone safe. Our individuals are typically more vulnerable than the average person and we don’t want to introduce an outbreak into the organization. With that in mind our approach is going to be slow and steady. We are very interested to see what the numbers look like after the May long weekend. This view is shared by PDD and Health is also keeping a close eye on how things progress.

We will be working with the Alberta Health guidelines and slowly reintroducing activities and reconnecting with more of our individual’s pre-pandemic life style as it becomes clear that the relaunch is not resulting in increased numbers of COVID cases.

Please note that this is going to take time and a cautious approach is, in our opinion, the safest. We have been told and are expecting that some restrictions will continue to be in place for quite some time. As we go forward we don’t want to lose sight of the importance of continuing to practice social distancing, hand washing and hygiene, the appropriate use of masks, maintenance of our cleaning protocols, health monitoring protocols and all of the other preventative strategies that have been effective to date.

Have a great long weekend. Let’s keep moving forward and maintaining our past practices that have kept both those we serve and all of us safe to this point. We will be encouraging activities that can be enjoyed at home, in the yard, or in areas that are not heavily trafficked. We will keep you updated as we work toward ensuring that everyone has a fun and safe summer. The reality is that this is not a quick fix and until we have an effective treatment or a vaccine, caution and common sense need to prevail.



Effective April 27, 2020

We wanted to provide an update on where we are currently at with COVID-19 and the newest Health Orders from Dr. Hinshaw. One of the main areas of confusion tends to relate to where we fall within the descriptions of services that are referenced in the Health Orders. The following chart that Alberta Council of Disability Services ACDS has developed shows this very well:


Parkland CLASS is represented as the Non-designated, Unlicensed Supportive Living (USL) which is in the lower left hand corner of the diagram.

It is our desire and intent to follow the practices and recommendations within the Health Orders to the extent that we are mandated, and in cases where we are not, to the extent that we can. We are limited at times with our operational realities and we can’t implement a practice that would result in a circumstance that does not address the safety or supervision of our individuals or we are not able to manage operationally. It does not however stop us from working toward implementation of the recommendations as we can, which is what we have and continue to do.

With respect to restricted staff movement among facilities: we are losing staff as they must choose to work in a single facility that the Health Order applies to. These other organizations may be where they work the majority of their hours, or they may be organizations that under Health are better funded and have higher rates of compensation. This has resulted in a significant number of staff leaving Parkland CLASS, as a direct result of the Health Order. We are extremely grateful to the staff that have chosen to stay and support our individuals and our organization. We have been able to successfully manage this transition and ensure ongoing coverage in our homes to date. Part of the challenge with these vacancies is that they are a result of Leave of Absences (LOA’s) that are open ended which create hours that can not be offered as permanent employment. This is challenging for those employees that are supporting us due to the lack of job security these vacancies offer. A second challenge is the recent Health Announcement topping up frontline Health positions, but not PDD employees. We have raised this issue with our Ministry recognizing that the additional wage discrepancy makes us less desirable as an employer, we are hoping that we will receive a positive response.

What we don’t have the ability to currently do is restrict staff that work in more than one undesignated, unlicensed supportive living site as we would not be able to staff our homes if we did. We are working towards, reducing the number of sites that employees work by trying to create larger groupings of hours in individual homes.

Continuous masking: We provided all our frontline staff with reusable cotton masks as soon as Alberta Health announced that this was an appropriate practice, this practice was in place prior to the recent Health Order. We are currently working with AHS and PDD and believe we will have disposable medical masks in place shortly. This will require upwards of 7,000 masks per week and will require that we receiving regular shipments of masks if we are to maintain this practice. We have been told new masks will be delivered every two weeks.

I know that there has been lots of information in the news suggesting that PPEs are readily available; I can tell you that in our sector that has not been the case. Parkland has devoted many weeks and man hours acquiring PPEs, locally, Provincially, Nationally and Internationally. I am pleased to report we have been able to provide all of the necessary PPEs to our staff for any of our individuals that have been placed in isolation (all swabs negative). Due to the shortages in PPEs and the challenges obtaining them, we have taken a very strict approach and do not release them unless they are required. We have done this in an effort to ensure that we don’t experience situations where we will need them and they are unavailable.

Outbreak reporting is something that we have been fully compliant with and will continue to do so.

Our goal from the outset has and continues to be maintaining the health and safety of the individuals that we serve and our staff. The challenge with the pandemic is the constant change that occurs as new information is obtained and our Chief Medical Officer amends the practices and expectations for the management of the pandemic. The fact that we are included in the long term care group is certainly understandable given the vulnerability of our individuals. However, it creates additional challenges because we do not fall under the Health Ministry, we fall under Community and Social Services (CSS), and they do not offer the same supports that the Health Ministry provides to meet those recommendations.

I hope this provides some clarity and an understanding of where we are at as we navigate the ever changing reality that we currently live in. We will continue to do the best that we can to keep those that live and work at Parkland safe.


Effective March 17, 2020

Restricting Visitors to Parkland CLASS Residences and ILS Services

Visits from family and friends are an important part of the lives of the individuals we serve. At the same time, COVID-19 has been demonstrated to be a particular risk to older adults and those with heart or lung disease, or multiple chronic conditions; Public Guardians and Trustees announced yesterday that in person visits are no longer being scheduled. The restriction of people who enter each residence is an important step we can take to protect our individuals and staff, and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Therefore:

We are asking that all visitors, including immediate family, refrain from visits until further notice to prevent unintentional spread to their loved one and other individuals and staff in the home.It has been shown that even those who show no symptoms of COVID-19 may be carrying the virus and be contagious to others.

  • Exceptions to this directive will be subject to approval by the Residential Manager or Director. Approved visitors will be required to pass the AHS Visitor Screening Questionnaire.

Our goal is to minimize the risk of infection to our individuals and staff. We believe this measure will reduce the risk of loved ones and other individuals and staff being exposed to COVID-19.If you have questions, concerns, or to request an approved visit, call Nancy at 403-348-9649 or Renee at 403-877-5772.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Dan Verstraete, CEO, Parkland CLASS

AHS Visitor Screening Questionnaire:

1.

Do you have any of the below symptoms:

CIRCLE ONE

  • Fever (greater than 38 degrees)

YES

NO

  • Cough

YES

NO

  • Shortness of breath/breathing difficulties

YES

NO

  • Other symptoms such as muscle aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose, diarrhea. Note: symptoms in young children may be non-specific – e.g. lethargy, poor feeding

YES

NO

2.

Have you travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days?

YES

NO

3.

Have you had close contact (face-to-face contact within 2 meters/6 feet) with someone who is ill with cough and/or fever?

YES

NO

4.

Have you been in contact in the last 14 days with someone that is being investigated or confirmed to be a case of COVID-19?

YES

NO

5.

Have you had laboratory exposure while working with specimens known to contain COVID-19?

YES

NO

If you have answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, please DO NOT visit, or request a visit at this time.

If you have answered “No” to all the above questions and your visit is approved, follow the direction of the staff and practice hand hygiene (wash hands for 30 seconds and/or use hand sanitizer) before and after your visit.


Effective March 15, 2020

Parkland School COVID-19 Update
Following the Government of Alberta's announcement that student attendance at all K to 12 schools is prohibited, Parkland School is closed to all students with immediate effect (March 15th).
The school remains open to staff at this time.


Effective March 13, 2020

Parkland CLASS COVID-19 Update

In keeping with the advice of health authorities, Parkland CLASS is moving forward with steps to limit potential exposure of individuals and staff in an effort to minimize the risk of coming in contact with others who may have the virus:

  • We have suspended activities at our Relax Crew Social Club
  • We will be reducing outings within the community and focusing on experiences close to home.
  • Individuals that we feel are particularly fragile or vulnerable from a health status will have their activities/bridging altered to reduce exposure to potential corona virus.

We understand how difficult a time this is and our goal is the health and safety of those we serve and our employees. Thank you for your understanding as we work through and support each other during this challenging situation.

Dan Verstraete, CEO

Parkland Community Living and Support Society