Respecting the Rights of those with COVID

February 2021

The condo board and manager honoured a resident’s last wish to die at home.

The resident was gravely ill with COVID-19 and insisting on returning home to die.  They would be discharged from hospital in a few hours.

The manager conferred with both board president and legal counsel.  The legal aspect was clear.  This was their legal right.  There was a legal obligation for the corporation both to act quickly and take reasonable steps to protect everyone.  They understood other residents could be reasonably upset at them for knowingly bringing the virus into the building.  Residents or staff could become infected.

They retained the services of a professional disinfecting and sanitizing company.  Residents were informed of the move and all precautions were explained.  The lobby was to be closed during the resident’s arrival and transport to their suite.  An accompanying caretaker would be taking proper safety precautions.  Residents entering and exiting the building during this period were instructed on which elevator and basement door to use.

Residents were frightened and upset, and some threatened to sue.  Management reassured these individuals that all precautions were being taken and this was not a request that could be refused.

Building employees were instructed to open the front door in advance and lock it after ambulance workers left.  Employees remained away from affected areas until they were thoroughly disinfected.

The resident returned home with a housekeeper.  A nurse visited multiple times.  The board monitored the situation to ensure safety protocols were being maintained.  Their goal was to accommodate a resident’s reasonable request without sacrificing the safety of others.

Six days later the resident passed away.  Building residents were informed the same procedures were to be followed for removing the body, and they would be informed when disinfection was complete.  The resident’s suite was closed off for three weeks.

The resident’s rights were respected and nobody got sick.  Communication and planning were crucial.  Ensuring all residents were aware of the situation and how it was being handled avoided complications.