COVID-19 long-term care resources

The Canadian Institute for Seniors Care at Conestoga College has created this page to share information and useful resources about COVID-19 for those living and working in long-term care homes, as well as their families and friends. These pages will be updated regularly as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms commonly include tiredness, dry cough and fever, and can take up 14 days to transpire. For more information about COVID-19 symptoms, visit:

Who's at risk of getting it?

COVID-19 is spread through the inhalation or ingestion of water droplets expelled by someone who has COVID-19. Adults aged 60 years or older and individuals with underlying health conditions are more likely to develop this disease.

What is the government doing for long-term care homes?

The Government of Ontario and its subdivisions are working with knowledge experts, decision makers and community partners to ensure that Ontarians:

  1. receive accurate and up-to-date information,
  2. practice effective preventative measures,
  3. receive timely diagnosis and appropriate care,
  4. use personal protective equipment (PPE), and
  5. follow best practices for evidence-informed and person-centered care.

This includes using a gradual and staged approach to reopen public and commercial spaces. For more information about this action plan and how it relates to your region, see Reopening Ontario after COVID-19.

How can I prevent the spread of COVID-19?

You can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by maintaining a small social circle and practicing physical distancing, respiratory etiquette and good hand hygiene. Professional health care providers are furthermore advised to only work in one health care institution and use PPE as directed.

Small social circle

A social circle is a group of people who interact with one another without physical distancing (i.e. are able to touch one another). Maintaining a small social circle by adding a select number of members who do not come into regular contact with others can support mental health and well-being, while minimizing risk of contracting COVID-19.

For more information about social circles, including current size restrictions, refer to: Create a social circle during COVID-19.

Physical distancing

Physical distancing involves changing daily routines to minimize contact with others. For example, avoid crowded places and wave rather than shake hands.

Review the Government of Canada's fact sheet (pdf) to learn more about practicing physical distancing at home and work, and be sure to sure to adhere to the provincial government's restrictions for social gatherings.

Respiratory etiquette

Respiratory etiquette involves wearing a medical or non-medical mask (i.e. a nose and mouth covering that is secured to the head) when physical distancing is not possible (e.g. while using public transit or grocery shopping), and coughing and sneezing into the bend of your arm. Be sure to dispose of non-reusable masks in a waste container after use or wash reusable masks after every use, and to perform hand hygiene after coughing or sneezing.

Some regions have respiratory etiquette requirements for public and commercial spaces. Please refer to your public health unit’s website for more information on these requirements.

Good hand hygiene

Good hand hygiene involves thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water for 40-60 seconds or rubbing your hands with sanitizer for 20-30 seconds:

  1. before touching a person
  2. before cleaning/aseptic procedures
  3. after body fluid exposure risk
  4. after touching a person
  5. after touching a person's surroundings
Within and outside of the home, this may translate to washing your hands before and after preparing food, before and after eating food, after using the toilet, before and after using a mask, and after disposing of waste or handling laundry, as well as when hands are visibly dirty.

Review the World Health Organization's diagrams to learn how to perform good hand hygiene (pdf).

What should I do if I or someone I live with suspects they have COVID-19?

If you, a family member or roommate suspect you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, self-isolate and monitor and report symptoms.

Self-isolation

Self-isolation involves doing the following for 14 days:

  • staying home
  • avoiding contact with others
  • continuing to practice physical distancing, respiratory etiquette, and good hand hygiene

Encourage those who have been in close contact with you, your family member or roommate two days before symptoms started to self-isolate as well.

Consult the Public Health Ontario fact sheet for information about how to self-isolate (pdf).

Monitor and report symptoms

While self-isolating, take a COVID-19 self-assessment to determine who you should contact for future care. This may include Telehealth (1-866-797-000) or your health care provider.

If symptoms improve after 14 days, self-isolation can stop, but physical distancing should continue. If symptoms do not improve, contact Telehealth or your health care provider.