‘It’s a genuine concern’: NB union leader says clearer COVID-19 policy is needed for nursing homes – New Brunswick | The Canadian News

With unclear rules about nursing home visitors, union leader Sharon Teare is asking the government to provide a clearer policy on how it should be handled.

Teare said staff who work within homes have documented where, when and what day they work automatically.

“There is more risk of visitors coming in and, with all due respect, this is a genuine concern,” Teare said.

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He said he knows first-hand that a visitor’s log book doesn’t quite work.

Nursing homes in the province were the first to vaccinate the residence and Prime Minister Blaine Higgs has ordered that all public sector employees be vaccinated.

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But Teare said that doesn’t extend to the general population and puts staff in an awkward situation without a standardized protocol.

“It shouldn’t be the responsibility of the staff who are working, who are there to ensure that residents receive quality of life,” Teare said.

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“We need to be able to have the resources and also the employers because let’s face it, they do what they can within the minimum budgets they receive to ensure these measures are taken,” he added.

New Brunswick Special Care Homes Association president Jan Seely said their homes have “endured as much as their residents, families and staff.”

“An outbreak is very difficult throughout the house and honestly, many of us are very hesitant to open our doors and get back to normal,” Seely said in an email to Global.

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That is why home operators and staff have decided to proceed with caution and maintain some of the key measures to prevent illness.

As New Brunswick moved to the green tier, Seely said nursing homes received recommendations that included revised visiting guidelines.

These guidelines contain some things that are mandatory, like staff masking, and other things that are “recommendations” like how to manage visitors, he added.

“Our houses are privately owned and operated and while provincial guidelines suggest that it is okay to allow a random visitor to remove their mask once they are alone in a room with residents, many houses follow the previous recommendation of forcing the Visitors to wear masks at all times. Seely said.

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