Category: News

Protecting the Health, Safety and Well-Being of Disability Support Program Participants During Pandemic



Protecting the Health, Safety and Well-Being of Disability Support Program Participants During Pandemic

Protecting the Health, Safety and Well-Being of Disability Support Program Participants During Pandemic
Bridgetown, April 1 – 2020 – Diverse Ability organizations from across the province are working hard to keep their residents safe during the
COVID-19 pandemic and to adjust to the restrictions imposed under the Public Health Act. Through implementing best practice infection control
procedures and other prevention measures, to increasing leisure and recreation programs and using technology to maintain important family
connections, they are doing everything possible to keep their residents healthy and safe and to make life as normal as possible.

“We are doing so many innovative things to keep our vulnerable residents safe during these diffi cult times,” says Joyce d’Entremont, CEO
of the Meadows Community in Bridgetown and Chair of Diverse Abilities NS. “We have implemented pandemic planning activities across
our organizations, increased screening of staff and resident symptoms, increased staffi ng to provide extraordinary cleaning and sanitation
measures, are educating our residents on proper hand hygiene, social distancing, and cough/sneeze etiquette, and we are complying with
mandatory visitor closures. Additionally, regular staff education is an important part of our prevention measures.”

Julie Hoeg, CEO of the Sunset Community in Pugwash and Vice-Chair of Diverse Abilities NS, adds the second priority focus has been reimagining
social and recreational programming and helping residents to understand why preferred activities, such as community outings and
visits, are not possible at this time.

“Social inclusion and participation in local community are fundamental tenets of everything we do in our sector, so we are being very creative
in supporting our residents adjust to the changes arising from the pandemic situation and make life as normal as possible,” says Hoeg.

Examples of these creative measures include:

• Employment/day programs being offered to small groups (under 5 people).
• In-house canteens/mini convenience stores to replicate shopping options.
• Walking programs and fun activities, like treasure hunts, on facility properties.
• Scenic drives for residents wanting to go on an “outing.”
• Indoor exercise programs (such as incumbent bikes, indoor gym equipment) to help reduce stress and anxiety.
• Small group activities, such as trivia, karaoke, crafts and hymn sings.

Additional efforts have also been undertaken to keep families and friends in touch with their loved ones through the use of technology, such as
Facetime and Skype, as well a regular phone calls.

The organizations have also taken steps to ensure they are continuing to meet the needs of participants receiving services in community
programs and that they are being supported with coping with the required isolation that all Nova Scotians are currently experiencing. Staff
from regular day programs and social enterprises have been redeployed to provide extra assistance and ensure adequate staffi ng is in place.

“Recognizing and supporting our staff is also critically important during the pandemic,” says d’Entremont. “They are the unsung heroes whose
commitment to provide high quality care and support to some of Nova Scotia’s most vulnerable citizens is unwavering.”

Diverse Abilities NS is a membership-based association comprised of organizations who provide a continuum of progressive services and
supports that are designed to empower people with diverse abilities to make their own choices, participate in decision-making, and to be
contributors to and participate in their local community. Collectively, the members of Diverse Abilities NS serve more than 600 individuals with
moderate to severe intellectual and physical disabilities, chronic mental illness, addictions and acquired brain injuries.



NSHA prepares for service delivery during COVID-19 pandemic



NSHA prepares for service delivery during COVID-19 pandemic


Thursday, March 26, 2020

HALIFAX, N.S. – Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) continues to plan and prepare at an organizational level, across the province, for service delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As an organization, NSHA must adapt and respond to changing conditions and optimize the overall system’s ability to respond to the needs of Nova Scotia patients. This includes creating processes to quickly move patients and/or staff to different surgical centres if emergency surgery cannot go ahead in one hospital due to capacity issues.

At this time it is necessary to consolidate emergency services, optimizing the number and distribution of emergency departments in Nova Scotia.

NSHA is modifying the roles of collaborative emergency centres in Cumberland County to better align available resources with care needs. This will be done in the following ways, beginning Friday, March 27 at 8 a.m.:

  • All Saints Springhill Hospital’s emergency department will become an urgent care treatment centre. It will be open from 7 a.m to 7 p.m., seven days a week. Urgent treatment centres primarily treat injuries or illnesses requiring immediate care, but not serious enough to require an emergency department visit.
  • North Cumberland Memorial Hospital in Pugwash will serve the community as an urgent treatment centre. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week (Pending Physician Coverage), and will continue to operate as a collaborative emergency centre overnight.
  • South Cumberland Community Care Centre in Parrsboro will transition to a family medicine/general practice clinic. It will provide daytime primary care services to the residents of this community. This hospital will not provide emergency care overnight.

Regional hospitals in Amherst, Truro, and New Glasgow provide emergency care 24/7.

Emergency Health Services (EHS) will divert ambulances to Regional emergency departments with the new model changes in Cumberland County.

Emergency care in Nova Scotia is made up of many connected parts, including urgent and emergency departments. – They are designed to make sure Nova Scotians have access to emergency care and receive the care they need, when they need it.

Anyone unclear about the availability of services may always contact their local hospital. Nova Scotia Health Authority’s website ( provides a complete list of service changes and temporary closures.

Those experiencing a medical emergency should always call 911. For non-emergency health advice from a registered nurse, please call 811. The provincial Mental Health Crisis Line also operates 24/7 at 1-888-429-8167.
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Provincial media line: 1-844-483-3344

About Nova Scotia Health Authority
Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) provides health services to Nova Scotians and a wide array of specialized services to Maritimers and Atlantic Canadians. NSHA operates hospitals, health centres and community-based programs across the province. Our team of health professionals includes employees, doctors, researchers, learners and volunteers. We work in partnership with community groups, schools, governments, foundations and auxiliaries and community health boards. Visit for more.

It’s the little things that count


While there is a lot of doom and gloom around Covid 19 there’s still time to have some fun and let off some steam. Some of our clients did just that yesterday making some wonderful artwork using acrylic paints. These dirty pours were created by people who had never thought it was possible to create such wonderful pieces of art.

Way to go guys and gals!!!



How to Clean Your Home for Coronavirus


A great article on how to clean your home for Coronavirus by tara-parker-pope

Click the link below to read the article

How to clean your home for Coronavirus



Infection Prevention and Control – IPCNS


Guidelines for
Long-Term Care Facilities
June 2015



The document below gives more information from the IPCNS in regards infection, prevention and control guidelines for long term care facilities:

IPCNS Infection Prevention and Control LTC

More information can be found at



A Quick FAQ about our community


Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day

Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day

Article by:

Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH, is the executive director of Ariadne Labs in Boston, MA.

I know there is some confusion about what to do next in the midst of this unprecedented time of a pandemic, school closures, and widespread social disruption. As a primary care physician and public health leader, I have been asked by a lot of people for my opinion, and I will provide it below based on the best information available to me today. These are my personal views, and my take on the necessary steps ahead.

What I can clearly say is that what we do, or don’t do, over the next week will have a massive impact on the local and perhaps national trajectory of coronavirus. We are only about 11 days behind Italy and generally on track to repeat what is unfortunately happening there and throughout much of the rest of Europe very soon.

At this point, containment through contact tracing and increased testing is only part of the necessary strategy. We must move to pandemic mitigation through widespread, uncomfortable, and comprehensive social distancing. That means not only shutting down schools, work (as much as possible), group gatherings, and public events, but also making daily choices to stay away from each other as much as possible to Flatten The Curve below.


Our health system will not be able to cope with the projected numbers of people who will need acute care should we not muster the fortitude and will to socially distance each other starting now. On a regular day, we have about 45,000 staffed ICU beds nationally, which can be ramped up in a crisis to about 95,000. Even moderate projections suggest that if current infectious trends hold, our capacity (locally and nationally) may be overwhelmed as early as mid-late April. Thus, the only strategies that can get us off this concerning trajectory are those that enable us to work together as a community to maintain public health by staying apart.

The wisdom, and necessity, of this more aggressive, early, and extreme form of social distancing can be found here. I would urge you to take a minute to walk through the interactive graphs — they will drive home the point about what we need to do now to avoid a worse crisis later. Historical lessons and experiences of countries worldwide have shown us that taking these actions early can have a dramatic impact on the magnitude of the outbreak. So what does this enhanced form of social distancing mean on a daily basis, when schools are cancelled?

Here are some steps you can start taking now to keep your family safe and do your part to avoid a worsening crisis:

  1. We need to push our local, state, and national leaders to close ALL schools and public spaces and cancel all events and public gatherings now.

A local, town by town response won’t have the adequate needed effect. We need a statewide, nationwide approach in these trying times. Contact your representative and your governor to urge them to enact statewide closures. As of today, six states have already done so. Your state should be one of them. Also urge leaders to increase funds for emergency preparedness and make widening coronavirus testing capacity an immediate and top priority. We also need legislators to enact better paid sick leave and unemployment benefits to help nudge people to make the right call to stay at home right now.

  1. No kid playdates, parties, sleepovers, or families/friends visiting each other’s houses and apartments.

This sounds extreme because it is. We are trying to create distance between family units and between individuals. It may be particularly uncomfortable for families with small children, kids with differential abilities or challenges, and for kids who simply love to play with their friends. But even if you choose only one friend to have over, you are creating new links and possibilities for the type of transmission that all of our school/work/public event closures are trying to prevent. The symptoms of coronavirus take four to five days to manifest themselves. Someone who comes over looking well can transmit the virus. Sharing food is particularly risky — I definitely do not recommend that people do so outside of their family.

We have already taken extreme social measures to address this serious disease — let’s not actively co-opt our efforts by having high levels of social interaction at people’s houses instead of at schools or workplaces. Again — the wisdom of early and aggressive social distancing is that it can flatten the curve above, give our health system a chance to not be overwhelmed, and eventually may reduce the length and need for longer periods of extreme social distancing later (see what has transpired in Italy and Wuhan). We need to all do our part during these times, even if it means some discomfort for a while.

  1. Take care of yourself and your family, but maintain social distance.

Exercise, take walks/runs outside, and stay connected through phone, video, and other social media. But when you go outside, do your best to maintain at least six feet between you and non-family members. If you have kids, try not to use public facilities like playground structures, as coronavirus can live on plastic and metal for up to nine days, and these structures aren’t getting regularly cleaned.

Going outside will be important during these strange times, and the weather is improving. Go outside every day if you are able, but stay physically away from people outside your family or roommates. If you have kids, try playing a family soccer game instead of having your kids play with other kids, since sports often mean direct physical contact with others. And though we may wish to visit elders in our community in person, I would not visit nursing homes or other areas where large numbers of the elderly reside, as they are at highest risk for complications and mortality from coronavirus.

Social distancing can take a toll (after all, most of us are social creatures). The CDC offers tips and resources to reduce this burden, and other resources offer strategies to cope with the added stress during this time.

We need to find alternate ways to reduce social isolation within our communities through virtual means instead of in-person visits.

  1. Reduce the frequency of going to stores, restaurants, and coffee shops for the time being.

Of course trips to the grocery store will be necessary, but try to limit them and go at times when they are less busy. Consider asking grocery stores to queue people at the door in order to limit the number of people inside a store at any one time. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly before and after your trip. And leave the medical masks and gloves for the medical professionals — we need them to care for those who are sick. Maintain distance from others while shopping — and remember that hoarding supplies negatively impacts others so buy what you need and leave some for everyone else. Take-out meals and food are riskier than making food at home given the links between the people who prepare food, transport the food, and you. It is hard to know how much that risk is, but it is certainly higher than making it at home. But you can and should continue to support your local small businesses (especially restaurants and other retailers) during this difficult time by buying gift certificates online that you can use later.

  1. If you are sick, isolate yourself, stay home, and contact a medical professional.

If you are sick, you should try to isolate yourself from the rest of your family within your residence as best as you can. If you have questions about whether you qualify or should get a coronavirus test, you can call your primary care team and/or consider calling the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 617.983.6800 (or your state’s department of health if you are outside of Massachusetts). Don’t just walk into an ambulatory clinic — call first so that they can give you the best advice — which might be to go to a drive-through testing center or a virtual visit on video or phone. Of course, if it is an emergency call 911.

I realize there is a lot built into these suggestions, and that they represent a real burden for many individuals, families, businesses, and communities. Social distancing is hard and may negatively impact many people, especially those who face vulnerabilities in our society. I recognize that there is structural and social inequity built in and around social distancing recommendations. We can and must take steps to bolster our community response to people who face food insecurity, domestic violence, and housing challenges, along with the many other social disadvantages.

I also realize that not everyone can do everything. But we have to try our absolute best as a community, starting today. Enhancing social distancing, even by one day, can make a large difference.

We have a preemptive opportunity to save lives through the actions we take right now that we will not have in a few weeks. It is a public health imperative. It is also our responsibility as a community to act while we still have a choice and while our actions can have the greatest impact.

We cannot wait.






New Travel Measures for Nova Scotia Public Sector Employees

From The premiers Office

Public sector employees who travel outside of Canada, including the United States, will be required to self-isolate upon their return. Government introduced the travel protocols today, March 13, to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the province.

To date, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.

Health-care workers, teachers, civil servants and other public sector employees who travel anywhere outside Canada will have to stay at home/self-isolate away from the public for 14 days after returning to the country. These measures also apply to students of Nova Scotia public schools and children in regulated child care centres who have travelled with their families, even if their parents or caregivers are not public sector employees.

“While we are fortunate to have no cases of COVID-19 in the province, we expect to see cases here very soon,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “We all need to do our part to reduce the spread, protect our most vulnerable and keep Nova Scotians healthy and safe.”

The private sector is encouraged to take the same approach and support employees to self-isolate for 14 days after travelling outside Canada.

The chief medical officer of health is also encouraging individuals, employers and community organizations to limit social gatherings to no more than 150 people to limit spread. This could include events like weddings, church services, movie theatres and concerts. This measure will help protect vulnerable Nova Scotians who are at greatest risk and will be reassessed as the situation evolves.

The province is also working with the federal government to delay the start of the cruise ship season.

Nova Scotians should think about additional measures they can take to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as:

  • avoiding close contact with others (keeping at least two metres or roughly six feet apart)
  • avoiding crowds and gatherings like parties and other group activities
  • staying home if ill, especially if you have a fever and or a new cough

Nova Scotians can find the most accurate, up-to-date information, including what to do if you are feeling unwell, at

Quick Facts:

  • Nova Scotia has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 13 with 226 negative tests completed
  • travel advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada says anyone who travels to Hubei province in China, Iran or Italy must self-isolate for 14 days upon return to Canada
  • Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act gives the chief medical officer of health the authority to give advice to protect public health and decrease risk to public health presented by communicable diseases such as COVID-19
  • the EMO Provincial Coordination Centre is activating at the monitoring level to help track the situation locally and globally and provide planning support and information to municipal partners and others
  • the 811 system is screening for COVID-19; there is also a self-assessment tool available on the 811 website




140 Sunset Lane,
Pugwash, Nova Scotia,
B0K 1L0


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Phone: 902.243.2571
Fax: 902.243.3222

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