View the latest information and news updated about the COVID-19 pandemic below.
Important Guidance For Families With Their Private Caregivers
Private caregivers entering your home should have their own personal protection equipment (at the very least masks and gloves), their own clear policies governing hand washing and as a bare minimum should be screened daily for symptoms of COVID-19. Please ask for their procedures in writing.
Many families will source some of their caregiving support from individual caregivers. These caregivers provide care outside of the Public Health system and outside of the oversight of a private care provider like Mosaic. The use of private caregivers may pose an additional risk to families.
Private caregivers should have the following procedures:
- Providing and wearing “personal protection equipment” (PPE) like masks, gowns and gloves and when to wear them.
Masks are now required in retirement homes and long-term care homes and have been a policy at Mosaic since early March. We recommend masks because people can be infectious without showing symptoms.
- Other infection prevention and control procedures that include hand washing and regular cleaning of high use surfaces. Hand hygiene is especially important.
- Procedures for monitoring visitors to your home when you are not there to prevent those with symptoms of a viral infection, or close contact with someone who has a viral infection, from entering.
We also suggest that you monitor the risks of transmitting the virus posed by caregivers.
- At the very minimum screen caregivers for symptoms of COVID-19 daily, both before and at the end of their shifts.
- While respecting privacy, we also recommend you screen for viral symptoms from their own contacts: family, people they may live with and/or persons they provide care for.
- Please make sure that your caregivers have their own procedures for monitoring their own contacts.
We attach our article “the three degrees of protection against the coronavirus” that has further information on monitoring contacts. If you are employing private caregivers, or even organisations that do but lack clear PPE and infection and prevention protocols, you will need to develop and implement these yourself.
PLEASE REFER TO PUBLIC HEALTH ONTARIO FOR FURTHER INFORMATION IF YOU ARE HIRING CARE WITHOUT CLEAR PROTOCOLS AND TO MAKE SURE THAT THEIR PROTOCOLS ARE AT LEAST AS STRINGENT AS PUBLIC HEALTH RECOMMENDATIONS
April 7th - 3 Degrees of Protection Against The Coronavirus
A Note To Those we Care for, Their Care Partners & Their Families
Today the care team is more than ever a special relationship. The “team” includes our front-line caregivers, our clients, their families, their care partners, our client services, community partner organisations and public health.
While the peak of the coronavirus may hopefully be sooner rather than later, the impact of the virus on health and social care provision will stay with us for a long while yet. We must assume that the virus will continue to be active within our communities, even if at a lower level and so we must be prepared.
The official recommendation to prevent transmission of the Coronavirus is to social distance when performing essential errands, and to self-isolate at all other times. Many are able to do this, but many are not. Those that cannot include those who use health and social supports in the home and the community, and those that provide those supports.
We need to develop safe ways of working through this, ways that also respect the concerns of all who come together in the care teams: the person, the family and private caregiver, the wider health and social teams. How do we manage these interactions in a COVID-19 world?
Step 1 – Stop the virus before it gets to the care team
A virus is spread primarily by close contacts. Unfortunately, by the time someone we are closely connected with has symptoms, it may be too late to prevent them from passing the virus on. This is one reason why our long-term care homes are struggling.
We need to be able to “see” the virus long before it gets to us. How do we do this?
Let us assume that The Person is who we are looking after. The other Team members are represented by the dark yellow line. If any of the care “team members” have the virus there is a risk that “the person” will contract it too.
We are most likely to get a virus from our “close contacts”. We can reduce this risk by limiting our contacts. But those in care teams might find this especially difficult for a number of reasons.
The research suggests that people can become infectious two days before they show symptoms. If we have been in close contact with someone who has flu or cold like symptoms in the days leading up to infection, we need to isolate ourselves immediately from the care team, irrespective of whether we are showing symptoms. Getting this information early will prevent a virus getting to the “the person”.
However, we would rather not have to self-isolate a member of the care team, if at all possible. If our close contacts are able to keep a tab on their close contacts, the contacts of the contacts, then we have added protection. If we see the virus at the blue line, we are better able to shut it down before it gets to the yellow and red.
Keeping two or three steps ahead of the Coronavirus is what we aim to achieve. Every member of the team has a role in this.
Step 2 – Social distancing and face coverings
Practise safe social distancing, avoid social gatherings and crowds. Be extra careful when engaging with people outside the care team, especially those you do not know.
According to information presented by the Financial Times and MIT, droplets can travel 1.5 metres via normal breathing, 2 metres via a cough and 8 metres by a sneeze. Keep at least 2 metres (six feet) away from people at all times is the general guidance. However, new guidance from the US Centres For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people also wear facial coverings in public in areas.
Within the home, the care team may also choose to keep social distancing rules when not interacting closely with the person. The team may also choose to wear facial coverings to minimise the risks of transmission. Our staff are however required to wear face masks when interacting with our clients and their families, to further minimise the risks of viral transmission.
Step 3 – Wash your hands, produce and goods brought in from outside and areas you have touched
Our caregivers have rigorous hand washing protocols. These are noted on our website and are discussed in our Jane’s GTA Café blog, “Social Distancing is not enough…” We encourage all members of the care team to wash their hands as soon as they come into the home, before and after they interact with each other, especially with respect to food preparation and help with bathing and toileting and grooming. Please also take the time to clean the home environment, especially those areas you have touched.
Three levels of protection
Know your contacts, keep your social distance, consider wearing face coverings in public and practise good hygiene. These simple but time-consuming procedures cannot guarantee that the risks of contracting COVID19 will be eliminated, but they represent three important layers of protection for everyone within the wider team.
March 25, 2020 - Mosaic Home Care’s Hand Washing Protocol
In the current environment we are paying much closer attention to hand washing and infection prevention and control. We provide here a simplified version of our advanced hand washing protocols.
Handwashing is important not just for caregivers but also for the person, the family and any visitors. If you would like help in understanding how you can use hand washing protocols for your own use, please do not hesitate to contact us.
It is important to remember that social distancing is not just about maintaining a safe distance from people you are talking to but also reducing the number of contacts you have with people. One way of minimising the risks of contact with people and environment is by washing your hands thoroughly.
All our caregivers are instructed to follow social distancing and social isolation protocols when not providing care to clients and families. Social isolation and distancing reduces the potential for catching and transmitting a virus.
It is also worthwhile remembering that hand washing protocols apply when out in the community too: when entering a grocery store, for example, use hand sanitizer on your hands (most grocery stores now provide this at entrance points) and on any trolley or basket handle you use. On leaving a store, likewise, disinfect your hands with hand sanitizer.
March 12, 2020 - Novel COVID-19 Update
On March 11th, 2020 the World Health Organization characterized the current COVID-19 situation as a pandemic. On March 12th, 2020, Dr Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health provided this update https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/96bb-MOH-COVID-19-media-update_12March2020.pdf
Mosaic Home Care has been closely monitoring the development of the coronavirus within Canada and overseas. Over the last two weeks we have been upgrading our virus threat response procedures. As a provider of care services to individuals with high support needs important hand-washing and other viral protection protocols are part of standard service procedure.
Minimizing exposure to further potential risks will involve private caregivers, family and the person we are looking after. The following are a few of our more stringent protocols that we are introducing:
- We are instructing caregivers in the interests of client health needs to avoid social occasions and to limit their own community and social network interaction over the next few weeks.
- We would recommend that those we look after, and those of the close family that interact with the person regularly to consider limiting interaction with social occasions and other community interaction that might place them at higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
- Regular disinfectant of surfaces within client and family homes, in particular door handles, telephones, remote controls, countertops, appliance handles, washroom sinks, regular replacement of hand towels. We are also suggesting that caregivers consider similar initiatives in their own homes where there is high level traffic.
- Cleaning of all produce from grocery and other shopping: not just fruits and vegetables, but cans and plastics. Outer packaging should also be removed where possible.
- Caregivers are instructed to wear masks to clients with high support needs in particular to further minimize any risks of viral contamination. There may be exceptions to these rules for persons living with severe dementia, but these decisions will be made with family and physician involvement.
- We will also be monitoring all visitors to those we are looking after and checking on their potential exposure to limit the risk of our clients contracting the virus from their own contact base. Families may want to give consideration to the level of intimate contact and social distance between the person being looked after and visitors.
- The above are in addition normal hand-washing protocols and isolation procedures recommended by public health and our own closer monitoring of client and caregiver health. We are also instructing our caregivers to change into their work clothes at the client’s residence to avoid community contamination of clothing.
We remain committed to protecting the health of our clients, front line staff and their families. We continue to monitor updates surrounding COVID-19 closely on a daily basis. And implementing protocols designed to minimize contact with COVID-19 virus.
Mosaic Home Care & Community Resource Centres will cancel all programs at our Markham and Toronto Resource Centres until April 6th, 2020. We will provide an update through our social media and website.
Further information can be found at the Toronto and Ontario Public Health Websites:
Toronto Public Health - https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/health-wellness-care/diseases-medications-vaccines/coronavirus/
Important telephone numbers
Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600
Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000
COVID-19 Symptoms To Watch For
The following information is taken from the public health websites.
COVID-19 symptoms range from common to severe respiratory illnesses and include:
- Muscle aches and tiredness
- Difficulty breathing
Less commonly: sore throat, headache and diarrhea have been reported.
Older patients and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness.
Coronaviruses are spread mainly from person to person through close contact, for example, in a household, workplace or health care centre. There is no vaccine available to protect against the 2019 novel coronavirus.
There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses. Take these everyday steps to reduce exposure to the virus and protect your health:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill. Please use gloves and mask if you happen to be with a client that has cold symptoms
- Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
- Stay home when you are ill
- Good coughing etiquette (coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a tissue then throwing the tissue in the trash and washing your hands).
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing contact your local health provider. Or TeleHealth if after hours 1-866-797-0000
Please call Mosaic if …
- You are experiencing symptoms listed above.
- For any change in the health of your family member
- If you have been in close contact with a probable case of COVID-19 or with anyone that has recently travelled outside of the country the past 14 days.
COVID-19 Online Resources
- Ontario Ministry of Health
- Public Health Ontario
- Toronto Public Health
- North York Toronto Health Partners
- Public Health Agency of Canada – COVID-19
- Public Health Agency of Canada – Travel Advice
Fact Sheets for Clients, Families and Caregivers
Guidance Documents for Healthcare Workers
- Ministry of Health – Guidance Documents
- Putting on Full Personal Protective Equipment
- Taking off Full Personal Protective Equipment