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Long-Term Care Facilities & Assisted Living

Guidance for long-term care facilities including use of personal protective equipment, screening for symptoms, visitors, cleaning and transfers.

Last updated: April 1, 2021 

Visitor Guidelines

New visitor guidance for long-term care facilities and assisted living residences goes into effect on April 1, 2021. Changes include:

  • Family/social visits are no longer limited to one designated family member or friend. 
  • Up to two adults and one child can visit with a resident indoors at a time. Residents may have more social visitors outdoors, in an appropriate location, and in alignment with current provincial health officer guidelines.
  • Family and friends can visit in residents’ rooms or in designated common areas without staff present.
  • There are no longer restrictions on the frequency or duration of visits.
  • Physical touch between residents and their visitors is allowed with infection prevention and control measures, like masks and hand hygiene, in place.
  • Every resident is entitled to regular, routine, frequent opportunities for social visitation, allowing for a minimum of 60 minutes if desired.
  • Residents will be supported to leave the facility for appropriate outings and family visits (not just essential outings). Residents will not be required to isolate when they return from an outing.

Visitor Guidance for Long-Term Care and Seniors' Assisted Living - Updated March 30, 2021

Visitor protocol  

  • Visits must be booked in advance and tracked for contact tracing.
  • Visitors must be screened for signs and symptoms of illness prior to every visit.
  • Visitors are required to wear a medical mask.
  • Visitors and residents are expected to practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
    - i.e. cough or sneeze into elbows sleeves and dispose used tissues properly.
  • Visits are not allowed if there is an active COVID-19 outbreak at the residence. 

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 or  personal care;
    • Communication assistance;
    • Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities;
  • Visits for supported decision making;
  • 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). A visitor who is a child may be accompanied by one parent, guardian or family member. 

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 visitors to Long Term Care Facilities in accordance with advice and direction from the local Medial Health Officer.

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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