Frequently Asked Questions

The following frequently asked questions provide important information and can help you, and you loved one, as you consider long-term care for your family.

The first steps
Information for residents
Visiting long-term care residents
End-of-life information


The first steps

What are my financial needs for moving to a long-term care facility?

There are financial options available to you. Application is required for financial subsidy for personal care homes and long-term care facilities. A financial assessment package is to be completed by an applicant who is entering a personal care home or a long-term care facility and requesting a financial subsidy. For more information, please see financial subsidy.

What is an advance health care directive?

When you move into your long-term care facility, someone from the health-care team will meet with you or your substitute decision maker to discuss your health-care goals, wishes, and values and your thoughts on resuscitation (CPR). You will have the opportunity to complete an advance health care directive. An advance health care directive is a written statement of your health-care wishes. It is only used when you are unable to communicate these wishes for yourself. For more information, please see prepare for decision making.

What is a substitute decision maker?

A substitute decision maker is the person who will speak for you when you cannot speak for yourself. A substitute decision maker should know your wishes, values and goals of care. This is the person you trust to ensure your wishes are followed. If you do not name a substitute decision maker and are no longer able to tell us your wishes, your substitute decision maker will be decided using the Province’s Advance Health Care Directive Legislation. For more information, please see prepare for decision making.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a written legal document that names the person you wish to act for you in relation to financial matters. An enduring Power of Attorney is required if you become mentally incapacitated. For more information, please see prepare for decision making.

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning is a voluntary process of deciding and communicating your current and future health-care goals, wishes, and values. This process begins when you move into your long-term care facility and can be reviewed at any point during your stay. This information will be used to make plans for your care. For more information, please see prepare for decision making.

Is there someone who can help me with my health-care decisions?

There are times that having to make health-care decisions for yourself, or for someone you love can be very difficult. Eastern Health offers an Ethics Consultation Service for you, your family and staff. It is available to anyone who needs help in making difficult ethical decisions about resident care. All patients, family and staff can bring forward an issue for an ethics review by contacting the Pastoral Care and Ethics Department by asking a staff member to make the contact for you, or:

Mail: Administrative Assistant, Pastoral Care Services

Health Sciences Complex
Prince Philip Drive
St. John’s, NL  A1B 3V6
Tel: 709-777-8940
Fax: 709-777-7612
Email: ethics@easternhealth.ca


Information for residents

Can I change units/floors/rooms after I’m placed into a long-term care site?

Please talk with the nurse or social worker if you want to move to a different room. We appreciate your and your family’s input into your room changes. However, occasionally situations arise when we have to move you to another room for medical or other reasons. The care team will make the final decision regarding internal moves and will try to make moves with as little disruption to you as possible.

Can I move to a different long-term care facility?

If you want to move to a different long-term care facility, please contact the social worker. The social worker will contact Placement Services to get your name added to the waitlist for the long-term care facilities to which you would like to move. You are asked to also notify the social worker if you’ve had your name on the waitlist for a different long-term care facility and want your name to be removed.

Can I become involved with site decisions?

Resident and Family Councils meet at most long-term care facilities on a regular basis to promote the collective interests and concerns of residents living within the long-term care facility. These meetings provide an opportunity for you and your family to contribute to the overall operation of the long-term care facility. Through Resident and Family Councils, you and your family work with administration and staff to create a home environment that meets the needs of all residents.

Any suggestions, concerns and/or recommendations are communicated through the Resident and Family Councils to administration or other departments. There is also a regional group of family and resident advisors for the long-term care program who meet monthly. For more information, please Resident and Family Advisory Council.

Who should I contact if I have a concern?

We encourage you to provide us with feedback about your care and life at your long-term care facility, whether it is a compliment or a concern. We want to know if things are not going so well and you are not satisfied. To help us promptly address any concerns you may have, we suggest you:

  1. First discuss the matter with the staff involved when your concern arises. Our employees will do their best to respond. Many concerns are resolved quickly and satisfactorily this way.
  2. If the staff member cannot address your concern to your satisfaction, please contact the resident care manager/resident care coordinator to arrange an appropriate time to meet.
  3. Should you wish to proceed further with any concerns, you may contact the site administrator or program manager.
  4. Eastern Health also has a process if you wish to make a formal compliment or complaint. To make a formal compliment or complaint, you may contact the client relations consultant at 709-777-6500 or 1-877-444-1399 or email relations@easternhealth.ca.

For more information, please see Ask Us.

Who should I contact if I have a compliment?

We encourage you to provide us with feedback about your care and life at your long-term care facility, whether it is a compliment or a concern. If things are going well and you are pleased with the services we provide, we would like to know. You may discuss the matter with the staff involved, contact the resident care manager/resident care coordinator, or contact the site administrator or program manager. For more information, please see Providing Feedback.

How will the long-term care staff know who I am?

Eastern Health has a ‘positive patient identification’ process in place to ensure that the correct resident is receiving the correct service, procedure or treatment. Positive identification is a very important step to make sure you receive safe, quality care. Before providing any service, such as giving you medications, staff members must confirm who you are by using two identifiers. Upon admission to the long-term care facility, a staff member will talk to you about the identifiers we use.

Is my long-term care site LGBTQ friendly?

Eastern Health values diversity, which includes sexual orientation and expressions of gender identity. Whether residing in or visiting a loved one, we strive to create and maintain all long-term care facilities as positive spaces that are inclusive to all. The long-term care program aims to provide care and services for LGBTQ2+ residents, partners, family and friends while also creating a welcoming and safe environment for volunteers, staff and the community at large. For more information, please see LGBTQ2+, or Safe and Respectful Environment.

Can I get my pants hemmed, or another clothing alteration done?

The services of a seamstress are available at some long-term care facilities to provide minor alterations and clothing repairs. Please contact your long-term care facility to find out if this service is available and if there is a cost for this service.

Can I get my hair cut and/or colored?

Hair care services are available at some long-term care facilities. A fee is charged for this service and arrangements can be made to have this cost deducted from your trust account if you have one in place.

How do I access the equipment that I need?

Using the correct equipment to assist with safe transfers, repositioning and mobility is important for everyone’s safety. The health-care team will work with you to get the best equipment to meet your needs.

  • If you and your family are considering buying equipment, it is recommended you consult with the health-care team to ensure it meets your needs and abilities.
  • If you are currently using any equipment that may pose a safety risk, it will be assessed by the Occupational Health and Safety Team and/or occupational therapist. Only equipment assessed as being safe for you can be used.
  • We also ask that you use equipment in the way that it is prescribed. Some products like microfiber sheets and memory foam mattresses are not recommended as they pose safety risks related to skin care and infection control.

I can hear fire alarms sounding in my long-term care facility, should I be worried?

Fire and safety plans are in place in each long-term care facility. Smoke detectors and fire alarms are also properly installed and maintained regularly by maintenance staff in compliance with National Building Code standards. Our staff conducts monthly fire drills. Regulations are in place to help with fire and electrical safety.

If the fire alarm sounds:

  • Do not be afraid when you hear it.
  • Please do not hide.
  • Follow instructions provided by staff and listen for overhead announcements.

If your family members are visiting and the alarm is sounded, we ask that they:

  • Remain with you.
  • Follow instructions provided by staff and listen for overhead announcements.
  • Do not try to move you or other residents from bed. The staff will assist you immediately in the event of an emergency.

Is my long-term care building safe?

Safety rounds are conducted on a regular basis to identify risks and ensure hazards are addressed. Staff patrol buildings and grounds to ensure the long-term care facility is safe from theft, vandalism and fire. There are also video surveillance cameras at some long-term care facilities. If you notice any suspicious activity or anything that may pose a safety hazard, please immediately notify a staff member or manager.

How do I know who is long-term care staff?

People working in the long-term care facility are required to wear identification (ID) badges. This will help you and your family know who we are and that we are authorized to work here. If you cannot read the ID badge and/or staff do not indicate who they are you can ask staff for their name and designation. If you notice any suspicious activity, please immediately notify a manager.


Visiting long-term care residents

What are the visiting hours at my long-term care site?

Most long-term care facilities do not have set visiting hours, however, doors are locked in the evening for security purposes. We recommend family members call in advance of a late visit or ring the doorbell at the front entrance if visiting after the doors are locked. Please check with the long-term care facility to determine the time the doors are locked.

Visitor Precautions are in place on my unit, what should I do now?

If there is an outbreak of a particular type of infection, such as influenza (often called the “flu”) or gastroenteritis (often called the “stomach bug”), the long-term care facility may put visitor precautions in place. Family members’ access will not necessarily be denied; however, families must be educated and comply with visitor precaution guidelines. We ask visitors to check with the nurse before entering your room if you are on “Isolation Precautions” to find out what steps they must follow. For more information, please see Immunizations and Infections.

Can I wear perfume when visiting a long-term care facility?

Eastern Health asks that you, your visitors and staff please avoid using or bringing in scented products to our long-term care facilities. Eastern Health maintains a scent safe environment for the comfort and safety of our residents, families and staff. Scented and perfumed products contain chemicals which can cause serious problems for many people, especially those with asthma, allergies and sensitivities. Scented products may include perfume, cologne, deodorant, aftershave, hair spray, body spray, scented creams and lotions, and air fresheners. For more information, please see Scent Safety and Allergies and Scent-Free.

Can I bring flowers and/or balloons to a long-term care site?

Eastern Health ask that you, your visitors and staff please avoid using or bringing in scented products to our long-term care facilities. Visitors who are wearing or bringing in scented products or products that can trigger allergies may be asked to leave or wait outside the facility for health and safety of all involved.  Measures Eastern Health may take include prohibiting Poinsettias and Easter Lilies, as well as latex balloons. For more information, please see Scent Safety and Allergies and Scent Free.

Can I smoke or vape on Eastern Health grounds?

Eastern Health ask that you, your visitors and staff please avoid using or bringing in scented products to our long-term care facilities. Visitors who are wearing or bringing in scented products or products that can trigger allergies may be asked to leave or wait outside the facility for health and safety of all involved. Measures Eastern Health may take include prohibiting the use of all tobacco products and products that mimic tobacco use, on all Eastern Health owned and leased properties, including all grounds, parking lots, and vehicles parked therein. For more information, please see Smoke Free Environment and Scent-Free.

Can I bring a pet in to visit my loved one?

Eastern Health ask that you, your visitors and staff please avoid using or bringing in scented products to our long-term care facilities. Visitors who are wearing or bringing in scented products or products that can trigger allergies may be asked to leave or wait outside the facility for health and safety of all involved.  Measures Eastern Health may take include permitting pets but asking you to notify nursing staff in advance in case other residents or staff have allergies. For more information, please see Scent-Free. Therapy Dog Program services may also be available at your site.

Can I bring in outside food or beverages to my loved one?

Many residents in long-term care may require dietary restrictions and are on special diets. This may be due to allergies or swallowing difficulties. These diets may include minced or pureed textures, or thickened fluids. We ask that you:

  • Check with a nurse before providing a resident with food or beverages as he or she may require a special diet, diet texture, special equipment (such as cups or plate guards), or positioning.
  • Refrain from bringing in perishable food, as it may spoil and cause food safety concerns.
  • Only bring in non-perishable foods items that are within the residents recommended diet.
  • Contact nursing staff when requesting food rather than going into food preparation and service areas.
  • Check with a nurse before providing or offering food to other residents.

For more information, please see Food Safety.

Can I bring in alcohol to my loved one?

Each long-term care facility has its own guidelines around alcohol use. Your own safety and the safety of others is an important consideration if alcohol is being consumed. Please speak with the nursing team to discuss further.

My loved one lives in a ‘Secure Unit,’ what does this mean?

Some long-term care facilities provide secure environments for residents who may be at risk of getting lost if they leave the unit or facility unaccompanied. There are a number of types of secure units (such as a wanderguard unit or a protective care unit). Doors on some secure units may also have a coded lock and family members/visitors may have access to this code. If you are visiting a secure unit, we ask that you:

  • Ensure doors are closed completely when entering or leaving the unit.
  • Do not assist other people off their secure units, as they may be residents.
  • Speak with staff about what items you can bring to the unit. Some residents may not be able to remember how to safely use items and may try to eat or drink things other than food and beverages.

For more information, please see Secure Units.


End-of-life information

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is not just about dying, but living as well as you can with a life-limiting condition. It does not mean speeding up or prolonging death. Palliative care helps provide comfort, relieve suffering, reduce stress and improve quality of life for residents and their families. Palliative care does not only focus on making you comfortable. It will also support your family and loved ones prior to and after your death.  A resident-centered approach is used to manage your physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. Our goal is support you to live and die according to your wishes in your long-term care facility. You or your substitute decision maker can talk to a member of the health-care team about options for treatment at any time.

What is End-of-Life Care?

End-of-life Care occurs in the last weeks, days or hours of life. The focus of end-of-life care is dignity and comfort for you and your family. Your care needs and comfort at end-of-life will be provided on site by the health-care team. This care will be provided in a private room whenever possible. Please ask your nursing staff or social worker if you would like more information, or a copy of “Towards and Understanding of the Final days of Life” booklet to review. You or your substitute decision maker can talk to a member of the health-care team about options for treatment at any time.

How do I learn more about Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)?

If you choose to avail of MAiD, the health-care team will support you. If you have questions on MAiD please ask your physician, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or social worker. You or your substitute decision maker can talk to a member of the health-care team about options for treatment at any time. For more information, please see Resources.

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Last updated: 2021-07-23