COVID-19 Scenario Exercises

What is a scenario exercise and who is it for?

A scenario exercise is an activity that provides staff with an opportunity to discuss emergency events that could happen in their workplace and brainstorm potential responses.

SafeCare BC has developed four COVID-19 scenario packages for use in the continuing care sector. They are intended to engage staff in evaluating their preparedness for a COVID-19 outbreak. Organizations can use these scenarios to:

  • determine their readiness to respond to COVID-19 in the workplace
  • help staff understand their roles during a COVID-19 outbreak
  • identify gaps in existing procedures and/or processes
  • serve as a tool for improving existing plans, protocols, and procedures.

The provided packages are to be used by the scenario exercise facilitator(s). A facilitator could be a manager, supervisor, licenced practical nurse, registered nurse, or anyone knowledgeable about your workplace’s COVID-19 response.

What is inside a scenario package and how should it be used?

The scenario packages contain all of the information and handouts necessary for a facilitator to plan, schedule, and run a scenario exercise. 

Each package contains five files:

  • Introduction to Scenario Exercises. This overview provides information about what a scenario exercise is and how it is useful. 
  • Facilitator How-To. This document provides general information about how to run a scenario exercise with tips and tricks for success. 
  • Facilitator Guide. This guide includes the scenario description, questions to be asked of participants, and prompts to move the discussion along.
  • Participant Worksheet. This worksheet includes the scenario description, a list of the questions that will guide the discussion, and space for the participant to take notes.
  • Post-Scenario Action Plan. This template will be used by the group to record any items that require follow-up or additional clarification. It also provides a list of resources that can be referenced during the follow-up process.

What does a scenario exercise look like?

A scenario exercise should involve anyone who would be impacted by the scenario event. The specific identity (roles) of the participants will depend on the organization and their needs. Involvement of the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee or Health and Safety Representative can often be beneficial to the process.

Each scenario exercise begins with a fictional scenario. Participants are asked to consider the scenario in the context of their workplace. The facilitator(s) guide the participants through several discussion questions to help the group explore relevant policies, potential plans for risk mitigation, barriers to implementing responses, and other important topics.

The activity ends with the group going through the post-scenario action plan worksheet to document any procedural gaps and ensure that they are addressed.

Discussions may be completed as a single large group or in smaller breakout groups and can be held in-person or virtually. A scenario activity may be completed in one or several sessions – depending on your organization, level of preparedness, and the number of participants involved.

Scenario Excercise Packages

Scenario 1 – Resident presenting with COVID-19 symptoms

“This morning a health care worker noticed that one of the residents was showing signs of fatigue and loss of appetite, which are symptoms consistent with COVID-19. The worker reports their concerns to their supervisor and the supervisor consults management for next steps.”

Download Scenario 1

Scenario 2 – Resident tests positive for COVID-19

“A few days ago, a health care worker noticed a change in one of the residents at the care home. They were presenting with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. After the worker reported their concerns to their supervisor and the supervisor consulted management – the resident was tested. The resident’s test results have come back today and are positive for COVID-19.” 

Download Scenario 2

Scenario 3 – Resident with COVID-19 will not self-isolate

“There is a 77-year-old resident with dementia in your care home who tested positive for COVID-19 5 days ago. She is exhibiting mild symptoms and staff are finding it challenging to isolate her from other residents. She has been found on more than one occasion in the hallways and common areas. She does not have mobility issues and can move around unaided.”

Download Scenario 3

Scenario 4 – Staff member tests positive for COVID-19

“One of the nursing staff at your organization reported not feeling well near the end of their last shift. The nurse immediately left the care home upon feeling unwell and isolated at home until they could be tested the next day. The test results have come back positive for COVID-19.”

Download Scenario 4