Maxville Manor is a local leader in rapid COVID-19 testing.

The long-term care facility has been participating in a pilot project to offer COVID-19 testing to personnel, caregivers, and residents that provides results in 15 minutes.

According to CEO Amy Porteous, in November 2020, Advantage Ontario, an organization representing not-for-profit facilities such as Maxville Manor, was looking for volunteers to participate in the rapid testing pilot project that had been established by the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care.

“I thought, what a great opportunity!” said Porteous.

“It was easy as identifying that we wanted to participate.”

Rapid testing began at Maxville Manor on December 22, 2020.  An approved caregiver visiting a resident of the facility tested positive for COVID-19 using the rapid testing method on December 29.  However, the caregiver had visited the facility before rapid testing began and had spread COVID-19 to two residents and two staff members.  Detection of the positive individual prevented further spread of COVID-19 to residents and staff.

“We were able to contain it from there,” said Porteous.

The rapid testing method being used at Maxville Manor involves taking a nasal swab sample from an individual.  The sample is then inserted into a test tube containing a solution.  Drops of the mixture are then placed on a special piece of cardboard and within 15 minutes, the colour of the cardboard indicates if the individual has tested negative or positive.

Porteous said that all rapid tests are confirmed using the regular testing method of laboratory analysis and that 99 per cent of the rapid test results have been accurate.

Caregivers and employees at Maxville Manor have been getting tested once per week, but new provincial requirements mean that they will now be getting tested two to three times per week. Ministry of Long-Term Care has also decided to expand rapid testing to all long-term care facilities in Ontario effective February 8.

As it is a pilot project of the Ontario government, there was no direct cost to Maxville Manor to participate in the rapid-testing pilot project.  However, the facility does have to ensure that there are employees who are trained to administer the tests.

Perks for PSW’s

Faced with a shortage of Personal Support Workers (PSW) during the pandemic, Maxville Manor was looking for ways to attract new employees who are qualified in that role.

The facility decided to take advantage of a Ministry of Long-Term Care program that offers a $5,000 bonus to new PSW’s who graduated from their training since April 2020.  Porteous said that as an added bonus, Maxville Manor has also decided to provide up to one month of accommodation at a local bed and breakfast for new PSW’s who are interested in not only working at the facility, but who want to look for a home in the community. The initiatives have brought them several  new staff members.