This statement was updated on March 17, 2020 to correct an error. Please note, VON requires staff returning from travel outside of Canada on or after March 13th to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.
Dear VON community,
The health and safety of our clients, employees, and volunteers remains our top priority as we continue to deliver essential care. In light of the exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in during the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to share the practices we currently have in place to keep us all safe and healthy.
VON is committed to making decisions with your health in mind and will continue to adjust our approach as needed.
What we’re doing:
• Screening everyone. To protect everyone in our VON community, employees, volunteers and clients are all screened before delivering or receiving care. Our screening is consistent with directives from the Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial Ministries of Health. Anyone with a positive screen, including staff, will be identified and redirected to the most appropriate medical assessments, further recommendations and care.
• Wearing personal protective equipment. In addition to our regular hand washing and hygiene measures, we are taking steps to ensure all employees delivering care are equipped with the recommended personal protective equipment as directed by public health. This protects both our employees and the people they care for.
• Enhancing our cleaning practices. We remain committed to ensuring all our client care areas meet the provincial standards for infection prevention and control. We have also enhanced the cleaning standards in place within our VON offices.
• Working closely with our partners and funders. VON is working with and heeding provincial government authorities, all levels of public health agencies as well as unions to plan and adapt our approach to care and precautions we take to keep you safe and healthy.
• Notifying you of changes to our Community Support Services. We are in close contact with our community partners where we host some of our community support programming and events. In some cases, we may be cancelling select programs where spaces are temporarily unavailable to us, or, as deemed necessary. If you are affected by a cancelled community support program or event, a local VON branch will notify you directly.
• Increasing our work-from-home, personal and business travel measures, where possible. In cases where VON staff can work from home, we are doing so. This responds to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s recommendations on social distancing. We are also practicing social distancing with our internal business practices and meetings, and following public health recommendations on staff traveling for personal reasons. We are requiring staff returning from travel outside of Canada on or after March 13th to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.
• Organizing internally. VON has internal teams in place dedicated to leading our organization’s response to this pandemic from both a clinical and business operations perspective. These teams remain focused on our preparedness through this time and are actively in touch with VON managers and colleagues on changes to our approach.
What you can do:
• Continue individual actions that keep others safe. There are individual actions we can all take to ensure the health and safety of those around us, including regular hand washing, avoiding touching your face, and coughing and sneezing into your elbow. Follow Public Health Agency of Canada guidelines for preventing infection at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.html#p .
• Stay informed. While personal hygiene practices are important, it is also valuable to stay informed and aware of what else you can do to keep yourself and others safe as this situation evolves. For up-to-date information about COVID-19, refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s dedicated website at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
VON is committed to keeping employees, volunteers, clients and communities safe and healthy, while continuing to deliver services that people rely on, every day. As an experienced healthcare organization, we are prepared for times like these. Rest assured we are confident that our ongoing efforts will continue to keep you safe and healthy.
President and CEO