Relative of Northwood tenant calls for more safeguards during disease outbreaks
'These people are coming and going as they want'
A man in Hammonds Plains, N.S., thinks changes are needed to the Halifax campus of the Northwood facility to make it safer during situations like the current COVID-19 outbreak.
Brian Murray has a relative who lives there. She's considered a tenant because she does not get nursing care even though she does have meals delivered.
Murray said his relative is staying put, but tenants are allowed to leave the building even though some live on the same floor as long-term care residents.
"This is not really good," said Murray. "These people [tenants] are coming and going as they want, interacting with family members, going to grocery stores."
Josie Ryan, the executive director of long-term care at Northwood, said extra precautions are now in place.
Tenants have been limited to one elevator, and plastic dividers have been installed to separate the wings on each floor and prevent interactions between tenants and residents.
"We now have it physically separate," said Ryan. "But, all along, we have been doing screening to keep them [in] the resident areas, so we have been able to manage it."
Murray said while he appreciates the efforts, he thinks a long-term solution would involve expanding the facility so that residents and tenants could have designated areas that are not on the same floors.
"It's a little complicated," said Murray. "There isn't an easy answer. But we need to get these people separated because this isn't the only pandemic we're likely to have to over the next 10-to-15 years."
Ryan said that there have been no cases of COVID-19 identified at Northwood. In the event of a positive test, the facility has a separate area with designated staff.
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