Caressant Care directs all staff to wear surgical masks on the job

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Homes Ltd. is now requiring all staff to wear surgical masks.

“Effective immediately all staff in all Caressant Care Homes will be required to wear a surgical mask while on site,” stated Stuart Oakley, Caressant Care marketing and communications manager, in an April 3 email to the Advertiser.

“We are taking this extraordinary precaution to help prevent potential spread (of COVID-19) in our long-term care and retirement homes. We hope this measure will also provide some comfort to those who are unable to visit their loved ones who are in care at one of our homes.”

Oakley was responding to an inquiry from the Advertiser instigated by an email from the spouse of an employee at the Caressant Care facility in Harriston.

The writer stated management recently reversed instructions from registered nursing staff that all personal support workers and floor/kitchen employees wear face masks.

The writer said that earlier this week Caressant Care leadership called in all staff and ordered them to cease using masks.

Asked to clarify the company’s policy on mask use, Oakley explained that prior to the April 3 direction there was no company-wide policy on masks.

“This is a new directive Caressant Care is asking staff to observe in an effort to enhance protection of residents and staff living and working in our homes,” stated Oakley.

He added staff will be provided with surgical masks at its facilities.

“There will be no outside masks brought in by staff to reduce possible contamination,” he stated.

“Things are moving very quickly as we try to stay on top of things,” including new government response measures, said Oakley.

“This is a very fast moving situation with directives that change daily – in some cases several times a day.”

Caressant Care operates nursing homes and retirement homes in 16 Ontario communities, including Arthur, Fergus and Harriston.