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Veterans Centre and Palliative Care Unit - COVID-19 information

A letter to families of residents in our Veterans Centre 

March 23, 2020

Dear Families of Veterans Centre Residents and Patients:

As you are aware the Chief Medical Officer of Health recently advised long-term care homes to only allow essential visitors — people visiting patients who are very ill or approaching end-of-life. This is to ensure a safe and secure environment for residents/patients.

Effective immediately, in alignment with other LTC facilities, we have made the difficult decision to further restrict our visiting policy. Visiting is restricted to residents or patients who are critically ill or at imminent risk of dying as predetermined by the Physician in consultation with the Health Care team. You will be contacted by nursing staff if you are permitted to visit with further instructions, including the number and timing of visitors.

The recommendation from the Chief Medical Officer of Health can be found here.

We are happy to deliver care packages to Veterans and patients during this time. Please review delivery requirements below.

Thank you,

Jocelyn Charles MD CCFP(COE), FCFP, MScCH
Medical Director, Veterans Centre

Below you can find more information about changes made to the Veterans Centre programming and visitation due to COVID-19, as well as other COVID-19 related information specific to the Veterans Centre and the Palliative Care Unit. For all general information about COVID-19 from Sunnybrook, please visit sunnybrook.ca/coronavirus

Please note reduced hours at Sunny’s restaurant: Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

This is a rapidly evolving situation, and updates to this information might occur daily. Please check back often.

- Last updated March 25, 2020


My relative lives at the Veterans Centre. I heard that I may no longer visit. Is this true?

In order to limit potential exposure of our Veterans and patients, visitation is temporarily on hold. The only exception will be for people visiting patients who are very ill or approaching end-of-life as determined by the care team .

Why is this necessary?

In order to ensure a safe and secure environment for residents, the provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health recently advised long-term care homes to only allow essential visitors – people visiting residents who are very ill or approaching end-of-life – until further notice.

We appreciate that families may feel frustration, sadness and even anger in light of this change. We have not made this decision lightly and we appreciate the importance of visitors to improve the quality of life of our residents.

However, during the global COVID-19 pandemic, the health and well-being of our Veterans who are very vulnerable to serious illness from this virus is our number one priority.

My relative lives in the Veterans Centre and is critically ill, we don’t have much time left with him. Can our family come in to spend time with him in his last days?

You will be contacted by nursing staff with further instructions, if you are permitted to visit. Please note, pets cannot visit at this time.

Please contact your unit's Patient Care Manager or Social Worker, with questions related to your family member.

What are you doing to protect Veterans and those in Palliative Care, those who may be at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19?

We are taking all precautions, including limiting the number of people on site. Our Infection Prevention & Control team is diligent in ensuring the best practices are maintained to protect our patients, residents, visitors and staff. This includes cleaning surfaces often, limiting visitors and using the proper personal protective equipment when needed.

We appreciate your support in keeping everyone safe.

I heard that the Veterans Centre now has a confirmed case of COVID-19. Is it safe for residents to be there?

As of March 23, there has been one confirmed and isolated case of COVID-19 identified in the Veterans program. This resident has been isolated in their room since the onset of symptoms, and is currently doing well. We are taking every precaution, including additional screening and cleaning measures to preserve the health and well-being of all other residents and staff.

My relative lives at the Veterans Centre and I’m worried about her feeling isolated with the no visitor policy. Besides calling her, how do I know how she is doing?

If you have any questions or concerns about a resident or patient, please call her unit’s Patient Care Manager or Social Worker to discuss. We are exploring options for virtual engagement with our Veterans/Patients and family members. During the temporary visitation restrictions, please know that opportunities for social interaction, physical activity and engagement will continue for residents through unit-based programs and therapy services. More information at sunnybrook.ca/coronavirus

How are COVID-19 restrictions affecting daily life for the Veterans living at the Veterans Centre?

While visitation, outings and external entertainment programs are temporarily on hold, there will continue to be many opportunities for social interaction, physical activity and engagement through unit-based programs and therapy services the Veterans Centre is known for.

Will there be entertainment for residents of the Veterans Centre?

Warriors Hall programming will be suspended until further notice.

Opportunities for social interaction, physical activity and engagement will continue through unit-based programs and therapy services. We are exploring the options for virtual engagement with our Veterans/Patients and family members.

My father likes his routine of going down for coffee or pop and to supplement his standard mealtimes. Can he continue, and will it be safe to do so?

Please note reduced hours for some of our retail/food services:

  • Sunny’s restaurant will be open, with minimal seating, from Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. and Weekends 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • The Artisan Gift Shop will be open to Residents/Patients on Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. for the purchase of essential items and snacks.

We are taking every precaution including additional screening and cleaning measures to preserve the health and well-being of all residents and staff. More information at sunnybrook.ca/coronavirus

Details about gift and package deliveries to the Veterans Centre and Palliative Care Unit

We are happy to deliver care packages to veterans and patients. Please review these important requirements when preparing the package (no donations for staff please):

  1. A known family member must provide items only for immediate relative.
  2. All food must be non-perishable, commercially pre-packaged and ready to eat at room temperature.
  3. Notes from friends and family member to your loved one are welcome.
  4. Please deliver packages to the screening desk from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. for same day delivery by our staff. Hand hygiene must be performed before and after the delivery. (We cannot assume responsibility for lost items)

Please contact your unit Patient Care Manager or Social Worker, with questions related to your family member.

I don’t feel well. Is it COVID-19? What do I do?

If you have difficulty breathing or other severe symptoms and need immediate medical help, please call 9-1-1.

If you feel slightly unwell and are developing symptoms, please call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, or the Toronto Public Health Hotline at 416-338-7600 (TTY: 416-392-0658) during the following hours: Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

For those on campus, you may call the nursing line at 416-480-5000 for an assessment.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit sunnybrook.ca/coronavirus

Questions specific to the Palliative Care Unit

Can I visit a patient who is in the Palliative Care Unit?

Please contact the unit’s Patient Care Manager or Social Worker for direction related to a specific patient and instructions on visitation.

Have visiting hours changed for the Palliative Care Unit?

Please contact the unit’s Patient Care Manager or Social Worker for direction.


View all information about COVID-19