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Long-Term Care Facilities & Assisted Living

Guidance for long-term care facilities including visitation guidance, infection prevention and control measures, and outbreak management.

Last updated: November 5, 2021 


Visitor Guidelines

  • All visitors to long-term care, assisted living, and acute care facilities will need to show proof that they are fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine (excluding children under 12 years or those with an approved medical exemption). There may be exceptions for certain situations, like end-of-life visits.
  • Visitors no longer need to schedule or book their visit in advance.
  • Operators may designate visiting hours in order to ensure there is adequate staff to support safe visiting practices, provided significant opportunities are available daily with visiting options in the morning, afternoon and evening on weekdays and weekends.
  • The limit on the number of social visitors each resident can have has been removed. The maximum number of visitors at one time for both indoor and outdoor social visits must align with site capacity to ensure the safety of all residents, visitors and staff, as well as resident needs and wellbeing in support of meaningful visits. Whenever possible, residents residing in multi-bed rooms should receive visitors in a separate, designated location.
  • It is strongly recommended that visitors age 12 and older be fully immunized against COVID-19 with two doses of vaccine and provide proof vaccination status prior to entry.

Visitor Guidance for Long-Term Care and Seniors' Assisted Living - Updated October 15, 2021

Visitor protocol  

  • Visitors must be screened for signs and symptoms of illness prior to every visit. Visitors with signs or symptoms of illness, as well as those in self-isolation or quarantine in accordance with public health directives, are not permitted to visit.
  • All visitors must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination
  • All visitors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the facility excluding children under 12 years, those with an approved medical exemption or for an end-of-life visit.
  • All visitors are required to wear a medical mask in hallways. common areas and multiple occupancy rooms.
  • Visitors and residents are expected to clean hands before and after visiting, practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette - i.e. cough or sneeze into elbows sleeves and dispose used tissues properly.
  • Visits will not be permitted during active COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Essential visits

Health authorities and facility operators shall continue to support visitors for essential visits. Health Authority or Facility staff will determine if a visit is essential. Examples of essential visits include, but are not limited to:

  • Visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end of life, and medical assistance in dying
  • Visits paramount to the patient/client’s physical care and mental well-being, including as follows:
    • Assistance with feeding, mobility, personal care or communication;
    • Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities;
  • Visits for supported decision making;
  • Existing registered volunteers providing the services described above;
  • Visits required to move belonging in/out of a resident's room;
  • Police, correctional officers and peace officers accompanying a patient/client for security reasons.
Essential visits shall be limited to one visitor per patient/client within the facility at a time (except in the case of palliative/end of life care). An essential visit is not a social visit and essential visits are permitted in a care home/residence that has an active COVID-19 outbreak, under guidance and direction from the local medical health officer.

Further details on visitor guidelines:

Visitor protocol during an outbreak

As per the Infection Prevention and Control Outbreak Protocol for COVID-19, in the event of an outbreak in a care facility, this direction changes and restricts social visits to Long Term Care Facilities in accordance with advice and direction from the local Medial Health Officer.

Vaccination requirements for employers and staff

Guidance for Health Care Workers

Outbreak Management Protocol

Preparing for and preventing wildfire smoke in care facilities

Wildfire season brings the threat of severe smoke pollution, and good preparation is even more critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in B.C. This document provides information on preparing for and preventing wildfire smoke in care facilities:

SOURCE: Long-Term Care Facilities & Assisted Living ( )
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