Updated Visitor Policies – Long Term Care

Key Messages – Public – Updated Visitors Policies – Long-Term Care and Seniors’ Assisted Living Facilities

 Date: August 23, 2020

  • The Ministry of Health, working with the provincial health officer, has developed updated guidelines to support visits between family members and residents of long-term care homes and seniors’ assisted living facilities.
  • Under these new guidelines for social visits, residents can visit with one designated family member or friend*.

*Facility staff/operator can approve a change to the designated visitor under extenuating circumstances; for example, if the visitor moves away or becomes ill and is unable to visit.

  • One hundred percent of long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities have safety plans in place and are offering family/ social visits
  • We have heard questions from some residents and their families, asking for further clarification around essential and social visits at acute care, long-term care and assisted living facilities.
  • Essential and social visits play a big role in residents’ physical and emotional well-being. We have clarified our visitor policies with health authorities and industry partners and requested all health authorities to:
    • Have regular discussions with facility leaders/operators to ensure that visitor policies are implemented consistently and with some flexibility to allow visits in a safe way;
    • Have signage at all main entrances to clearly communicate essential and social visit policies, with a phone number to call if visitors have questions or need assistance at the site.
  • For all visitors:
  • You will be screened for signs and symptoms of illness, including COVID-19, and possible exposure to COVID-19, prior to every visit.
  • You will need to bring a mask and wear it for the duration of your visit.
  • Please practice hand and respiratory hygiene (cough/sneeze etiquette), and maintain two-metres of physical distance where possible.
  • If you are an essential visitor: You may not need to schedule your visit in advance. If there is another family member or friend providing essential care, only one visitor is allowed at a time*.

*Except for palliative and end-of-life care, where more than one visitor may be allowed at a time.

  • If you are visiting for social reasons, you need to
    • Book your visit with facility staff in advance,
    • Socialize in designated areas identified by facility staff, and
    • Bear in mind that visits are not allowed if there is an active COVID-19 outbreak at the residence.
  • If you have any question, concern or need assistance with the facility’s safety procedures, please contact the number listed on the poster at the main entrance(s).
  • In addition to visits in person, we also encourage you to stay in touch with your family or friend at the facility either virtually or remotely.
  • As B.C. works to continue “flattening the curve,” we will continue to update the guidelines to ensure the health and safety of patients, residents, staff, and visitors.

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