Home health’s fight against COVID-19: a success story so far

Across Canada, the most widely reported impact of COVID-19 is happening in long-term care and assisted living homes. Though home health organizations face similar challenges around infection control and working with vulnerable populations – often with less formal guidance – zero outbreaks have been associated with B.C.’s home health sector, up until now.

A leader of one of B.C.’s largest home health organizations describes what is happening.

“As of today, we have not had a single positive case of COVID-19 amongst our 680 community health workers, nor our clients. I believe this outcome is the result of prompt collaboration between our leadership team, clinical and https://bccare.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/medcare-img22.jpgistrative staff, and community health workers to swiftly implement all recommended safety measures during the early stages of the crisis, including wearing personal protective PPE and staying home when sick,” says James Challman, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Community Services Society (GVCSS).

“We have also maintained constant contact with Vancouver Coastal Health to receive and follow directions coming from the Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Officer,” adds Challman, whose organization delivers direct care to over 2,500 home support clients in the community.

Home health organizations are unique in that the majority of their staff work independently in the community, making training and continuous communication essential. For GVCSS this includes email, text messaging, and phone calls.


Challman also notes that they are also ensuring that they have an ample supply of personal protective equipment for their workers so that they and their clients remain safe, and that they have gratefully received donations from the community to help them with this endeavor. More information on their donor program is available at their website.

Donations can also be made through SafeCare BC’s Operation Protect program.

This week, EngAge BC will be releasing a toolkit to assist their home health members in facing COVID-19. The association is also working on new Pandemic Planning and Prevention Fund aimed at supporting our independent living and home health members.

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