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Resident Activities and Resources


In long-term care (LTC) homes, scheduled activity offerings, independent leisure and social interactions continue to evolve in response to COVID-19.  In an effort to manage risk of transmission and keep residents and team members safe, external visitors are temporarily restricted, larger group programs have been cancelled, and the size of other programs reduced to maintain physical distancing.  While some residents are unable to leave their immediate areas including home area/neighbourhood or floor, others have been asked to self-isolate in their bedrooms.  While this may be a familiar protocol during other kinds of outbreaks, the extended nature of these contact precautions and infection control measures contributes to feelings of loneliness and disconnection from the life inside and outside the LTC home.

Several of OARC’s partners in the LTC sector have started to compile innovative program ideas that promote wellness and meaningful engagement for residents during these unprecedented times.  Please visit this webpage again for updates and additions and contact us if you have ideas you would like to add to the list mmcvie@ontarc.com.

  • Therapeutic Recreation Ontario: LTC Tips and Resources
  • Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in LTC: Boredom Busters LTC
  • Java Group Programs: Creating Calm: Simple Activities for Stressful Times
  • Other Miscellaneous Ideas:
    • Print and distribute OARC e-bulletins to keep residents informed. Hold small discussion groups if possible. Use this as an opportunity for residents to ask questions, share concerns etc. (Suggestion: try to end on a “good news” story or idea sharing from another home or news story.)
    • Ask residents with access to telephones if they’d like to share their phone numbers with their peers and create a Resident Phone Book or laminated contact sheet (suggestion: include a small thumbnail photo of each resident (could be admissions photo) next to their phone number for easy recall.)
    • Facilitate a virtual meeting/teleconference for the Residents’ Council leadership team – working with the Residents’ Council Assistant, help to connect residents by phone for an opportunity to share. Consider inviting the home Administrator in advance for an opportunity to stay connected/updated on home operations.
    • During the period where RC meetings cannot be held, encourage resident leaders to contribute to a monthly newsletter, perhaps create a “Residents’ Council Corner” article where residents can share updates or good news stories.
    • Consider screening archived OARC webinars (suggestion: connect a computer to a smart TV or projector) http://www.ontarc.com/education-support/webinars.html
    • If residents are unable to come together for a program (e.g. Knitting/quilting club) – find innovative ways to break a big project into smaller tasks, giving each resident a meaningful role (Example: ask residents to design/create a square for a quilt which can be sewn together at a later time to create 1 unified piece). Can residents work independently on crafts/handiwork for a future holiday Bazaar?
    • Had to cancel a Residents’ Council fundraiser? Consider innovative ways to share/display resident creations virtually to share with family and friends (Example: Craiglee Nursing Home Virtual Art Gallery https://craigleeartclub.weebly.com/ This could be an “auction” preview for a future sale.
    • Share your innovative home activities with OARC at mmcvie@ontarc.com


Discharging a resident during COVID-19:

Some families and residents may be considering having/being discharged from LTC at this time in an effort to avoid the risks of contracting COVID-19 in LTC. This is a very sensitive and emotional decision, and one that has logistical and health implications for the foreseeable weeks and months.  OARC does not advise for or against a resident being discharged from their LTC home at this time, but we do encourage you to utilize one or both of these tools, designed to lead you through a thoughtful process, considering the full scope of consequences associated with your decision.  It may be right for you and your family, or it may be a decision that cannot be sustained for the duration of the pandemic and beyond (re-admission to LTC will take some time following the pandemic).


National Institute on Ageing Guidance Document:

Finding the Right Balance: An Evidence-Informed Guidance Document to Support the Re-Opening of Canadian Long-Term Care Homes to Family Caregivers and Visitors during the COVID-19 Pandemic  This document was a result of a collaboration between long-term care sector stakeholders and researchers to find a more balanced approach to visitation in long-term care homes during the continued community prevalence of COVID-19.   It’s aim is to find a balance that prevents the introduction of COVID-19 into LTC homes, but also allows family caregivers and visitors to provide much needed contact, support and care to residents , to maintain their overall health and wellbeing.  The guiding principles recommended in this document are experience and evidenced based and focus on family caregivers and general visitor.  OARC is proud contributor to this document.

Visitor Guidance Document - PDF Format

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The views expressed in this publication are the views of OARC and do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.