TBL’s two seniors’ residences, le Manoir Lac-Brome and Excelsoins Knowlton have had no cases of COVID-19 amongst their residents or their staff. Is it luck? Very unlikely. A strict protocol was promptly put in place. Only the Director of Excelsoins agreed to answer our question: “What was your winning recipe?”

“Hard for me to make a final assessment at this stage. We are still in the middle of the pandemic and I am too close to it to have a better perspective” said Catherine Chabot, the Director for Excelsoins Knowlton.

After a few questions, the winning formula that kept the virus at bay starts to emerge.

• Daily briefings with the management as of mid-March. On March 12, Excelsoins HQ sets up a coordination committee on Coronavirus, two days before the government calls for a state of emergency on the pandemic.

• On March 14, visits to residents are forbidden.

• Promptly, activities for residents are modified and then abandoned. As little manipulation of food as possible; the residents are served already prepared hot meals; the virus doesn’t agree with heat.

• Later on, when visits resumed, signs were posted on the front door ordering hand washing. Visitors must fill a questionnaire on their health and whereabouts.

• Residents could no longer go out or to the hairdresser. Setting up of a cold zone and a hot zone (which were finally never used).

• The staff that come from outside agencies has to sleep on the premises for a period of at least two weeks.

• When caregivers were allowed in later, they had to attend a special training session with a specialist in public health from Excelsoins Head Office.

“Probably the most important thing for our protection, was the government’s order to forbid visitors” says Ms. Chabot. We are like a large family here. The staff is stable and does not go from one residence to another; this is a big plus right now.

What happened in the other Excelsoins residences? Out of nine residences and 1105 residents, the Excelsoins network recorded, as of mid-June, 126 COVID cases and 41 deaths.

Yves Desjardins, the VP Operations adds: “the owner of Excelsoins is a trained microbiologist, not just an investor. He acts as part of the network. Maybe that made a difference.”

Traduction: Francine Bastien