On April 1st – the Visitor Policy for long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities was updated to support safe, meaningful visits while adhering to infection prevention & control requirements.
The changes include:
- Family/social visits are no longer limited to one designated family member or friend. Additional family members and friends are allowed with a maximum of two adult visitors (plus one child) at the same time if the visit is indoors.
- Residents may have more social visitors outdoors, in an appropriate location, and in alignment with current provincial health officer guidelines. Infection prevention and control measures (e.g., visitors must be screened for signs and symptoms of illness prior to every visit, practice hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette – cough or sneeze into elbows sleeves and dispose used tissues properly – and wear medical masks) must be followed.
- There are no longer restrictions on the location, frequency, or duration of visits, and visits can now take place in residents’ rooms.
- Physical touch between residents and their visitors is now allowed with infection prevention and control measures 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.
Essential visits are necessarily linked with an essential need that could not be met in the absence of the essential visit. Facility staff will determine if a visit is essential.
An essential visit includes:
- Visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end of life, and medical assistance in dying;
- Visits paramount to the resident’s physical care and mental well-being (e.g., assistance with feeding, mobility, personal care or communication, assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities); and
- Visits for supported decision-making.
- Existing registered volunteers providing the services described above;
- Visits required to move belongings in/out of a resident’s room; and
- Police, correctional officers and peace officers accompanying a resident for security reasons.
- Essential visits shall be limited to one visitor per resident 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.
More information is available in Visitor Guidance for Long-term Care and Seniors Assisted Living