Ambulance waits to transport resident to Southlake

By: Mike Anderson

As York Region’s second-worst COVID-19 outbreak continues at River Glen Haven, Southlake Regional Health Centre says it hasn’t taken over management of the embattled nursing home, but it isn’t ruling out the possibility.

“Southlake has not taken over the management of this home at this time,” said Kathryn Perrier, a senior hospital spokesperson, in an email response to The Post.

“Over the past week, we have been supporting River Glen Haven in Sutton and have provided a team of three Southlake management staff to offer guidance and recommendations,” she said.

According to Ms. Perrier, the Southlake team, led by Gayle Seddon, a medical executive and registered nurse (RN), has been providing “best practice advice” on PPE and infection prevention and control practices (IPAC).

“Southlake has been teaching staff at RGH how to use PPE effectively and when to discard it,” she said.

Southlake’s intervention will hopefully slow the rate of infection in the nursing home, which has seen 62 residents – more than half of the 119-bed facility, and 27 staff members test positive for the virus, according to York Region Public Health.

But there are still troubling signs that the outbreak is far from over, as RGH recorded seven more deaths over the long weekend, bringing the total deaths caused by COVID-19 to 13.

RGH is also reporting an increase in the number of active positive resident cases in the home.

On May 18, in an email update to family members, RGH management reported 52 confirmed resident cases — that’s up from 48 cases reported on May 15, the last email update.

Staffing is also a significant concern, as three more staff members tested have positive since May 16, according to public health.

RGH is currently posting employment ads on job sites, like Indeed, for Resident Care Aid, PSW, RPN and RN positions, as well as hiring additional agency staff to fill gaps.

There is, however, some good news, as several staff members have now recovered from the virus and will be returning to work.

Staffing shortages aside, there’s also concerns about a lack of PPE.

According to one PSW, new infection prevention and control measures are causing staff to burn through PPE.

While PSWs were told they could wear an N-95 mask for up to three days, they are now changing them daily or every two days.

Gowns are also changed more frequently, after serving meals, as well as repositioning and changing residents.

“We should change the gown after each resident, but there’s no way we would ever have enough,” said one PSW, who wished to remain anonymous.

In its latest email update to family members, on May 18, RGH management made the following appeal:

“We are asking for assistance from our community regarding isolation gowns (disposable or reusable gowns). If you are able to get isolation gowns or make/sew isolation gowns, that would be very helpful during this time. Any donations of this would be greatly appreciated.”

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