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General visitation at personal care homes possible again thanks to outdoor visitation shelters

Personal care home residents and their loved ones have reason to celebrate this week. Twenty-one outdoor visitation shelters across 15 sites in the Interlake-Eastern RHA, and one designated indoor visitation space, are starting to accommodate scheduled visits, while greatly reducing the risk of introducing an infection into the care homes.

Arborg PCH outdoor visitation shelterThe outdoor shelters are refurbished shipping containers, each measuring 8’ wide by 40’ long and attached to the care homes. While there is no plumbing, they are fully insulated, air-conditioned and heated. But their most important feature is the ability for residents to visit others safely.

“We know how important in-person visits are to residents’ wellbeing, and in fact, the wellbeing of their loved ones too,” said Lauren Marantz, director of health services - long term care and personal care Home Standards. “Residents have been able to visit with their caregivers, but they are eagerly looking forward to connecting in-person safely with other important people in their lives.”

Safety requirements and protocols for the visitation shelters will help to keep residents, staff, and visitors safe. Visitors do not need to enter the main facility, because the shelters have their own separate entrance. Each shelter has a separate ventilation system from the personal care home. The interiors are also made from smooth, easy-to-clean surfaces to make the mandatory cleaning and disinfection between every visit easier.

Arborg PCH outdoor visitation shelter - interiorDuring current Critical (red) restrictions, the shelters will accommodate a maximum of one general visitor at a time to visit with a resident. Both residents and visitors will still be required to follow fundamental public health guidelines: practice hand hygiene, wear a mask for the entire visit, and maintain six feet separation.

In Manitoba, there are a total of 105 outdoor shelters at personal care homes, 21 of them at 15 sites in Interlake-Eastern RHA. Kin Place in Oakbank could not accommodate an outdoor shelter, so an interior space was developed there. They are one of 57 indoor visitation spaces across the province.

A video tour of the outdoor visitation shelters can be found at www.is.gd/shelters.

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