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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: September 16, 2022


Changes to visitor guidance

Social visits have resumed at long-term care facilities. All visitors are allowed at long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities if they meet the visitation requirements.

Please see the “visitor guidelines” section below and the Visitor Guidance for Long-Term Care and Seniors' Assisted Living - updated March 18, 2022.

Proof of vaccination

  • 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 the age of 12 or those with an approved medical exemption and compassionate visits related to end of life).

Screening

  • 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.

Rapid antigen testing

  • All long-term care visitors who are 12 years of age and older must also complete a rapid antigen test. They have the options of using a take home test kit, available through the facility and community pharmacies, within 48 hours of their visit or undergo testing at the entrance. 
  • Visitors to standalone seniors’ assisted living residences are not required to undergo rapid antigen testing. However, if a seniors’ assisted living residence is part of a campus of care with long-term care where there is a common entrance and/or hallways, visitors (12 or older) to seniors’ assisted living may be required to undergo rapid antigen testing.
Visiting hours
  • Operators may designate visiting hours in order to ensure there is adequate staff to support safe visiting practices.

Masks

  • All visitors to long-term care and seniors’ assisted living sites are required to wear a medical mask in hallways, common areas and multiple occupancy rooms (long-term care). 
  • Masks are not required when fully vaccinated visitors are visiting residents in single occupancy rooms or seniors’ assisted living units. 
Gatherings
  • Outdoor gatherings may include fully vaccinated family and friends who have met the requirements for visitation (e.g. no symptoms of illness, fully vaccinated, rapid antigen testing for long-term care facilities).
Hand hygiene
  • 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.
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 permitted in a care home/residence that has an active COVID-19 outbreak, under guidance and direction from the local medical health officer.

Every resident in a long-term care and seniors’ assisted living site can identify a single designated visitor who may continue to visit the resident at times when visitation is restricted. Single designated visitors are permitted in a care home/residence that has an active COVID-19 outbreak, under guidance and direction from the local medical health officer.

Posters and visitor guidelines

Visitor protocol during an outbreak

As per the COVID-19 Outbreak Management Protocol for Long-Term Care and Seniors’ Assisted Living Settings, in the event of an outbreak, social visits will be restricted in a care facility 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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