Caressant Care implementing mandatory staff vaccination policy

WOODSTOCK – Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Homes is joining a group of national seniors’ care providers in implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for staff at the Woodstock-based company’s 25 long-term care and assisted living facilities.

Caressant Care employs 267 staff members at its retirement home/long-term care facilities in Harriston, Arthur and Fergus.

Starting Nov. 1, all staff, contractors, students and volunteers working within those homes will be required to prove they’re fully vaccinated or be placed on unpaid leave.

Receiving two vaccines doses will be a requirement of employment for future staff.

The only exemptions are for medical and religious reasons.

“With cases continuing to rise as we head into fall and concerns over the Delta and other variants of COVID-19 Caressant Care recognizes the importance of immunization of staff, student placements, and volunteers due to the nature of their work with vulnerable seniors and potential for exposure in the community,” communications manager Stuart Oakley stated in a Sept. 7 press release announcing the policy update.

The Advertiser previously reported on the decision of a national seniors’ care coalition made up of major for-profit seniors’ care providers to implement staff vaccination policies, reaching beyond the province’s minimum vaccination policy requirements.

The Advertiser asked Oakley at the time if Caressant Care would consider implementing a mandatory staff vaccination policy.

He responded by saying, “We continue to explore ways to achieve optimal vaccination rates among our staff.”

As of Aug. 27, 88 of 113 staff were fully vaccinated at the Harriston facility; 61 of 72 staff in Fergus; and 73 of 82 staff at the Arthur home.

Oakley said he did not have updated staff vaccination numbers to provide when asked on Sept. 7.