Dear Bethany Families,

COVID- 19 in older adults

COVID-19 is an illness occurring due to a viral infection. Symptoms range from mild common cold symptoms to respiratory failure and death. As you have no doubt heard, the illness is more likely to be fatal in older adults 60 years and above and people of all ages with underlying serious medical conditions.

Treatment of COVID -19

There is currently no treatment for COVID-19. Symptomatic treatment such as Tylenol for fever, encouraging eating and drinking in addition to oxygen therapy are some of the supportive measures used in managing symptoms. The severity of an individual’s COVID-19 infection has nothing to do with how early it is diagnosed or with the medical treatments given either in the long term care home or in hospital. It is simply how the virus affects their body.

If supportive treatments are not enough, it means the older adult has a very severe infection and may not survive. There is minimal benefit to hospital transfer as treatments such as, ventilator therapy, will not stop the disease process or result in return to usual function, especially in older adults with chronic medical conditions.

The care team at the Long term care site will have ongoing discussions on Goals of Care designations so that care is aligned with what residents and families would want should they develop symptoms of COVID-19.

Transfer to hospital during the pandemic

At this time, transfer to the hospital for non-COVID-19 related illness exposes older adults with chronic medical conditions to increased risk of infection, long waits in emergency and increased confusion. Transfer to emergency departments and hospital admissions will be discussed with the hospital physicians to ensure the best care can be provided in a timely manner. We are also using community paramedics and other resources to access care that would otherwise have been provided in hospital.

Medical care will be provided at the Long term care home for those who develop symptoms of COVID-19 and you will be updated regularly on their medical condition.

More information on COVID-19

Please refer to the Alberta Health Services website,

We understand that these can be worrying times for you and your family. We will continue to make our best efforts to provide the best medical care for our residents and your loved ones, while also supporting heightened measures for infection prevention and control at this time. As ever, should you have any questions or concerns, please continue to contact your Site Administrator, or Care Service Manager. We have also updated our website to provide the very latest information

Yours Sincerely,
Dr. Bunmi Oyebanji, Medical Director, Bethany Care Society