Current COVID-19 guidelines in Long Term Care and Assisted Living Communities are being revised provincially effective April 1st, 2021. Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer delivered an update today with province wide changes to current restrictions including changes to the visitor guidelines.
Starting April 1st, the following changes will be put into place:
- All residents will be allowed regular, frequent, and routine opportunities for social visitation
- Visits must allow for a minimum of 60 minutes (they must be booked in advance). This means visits cannot be scheduled less than one hour before the closing of visiting hours. If visiting hours end at 8pm, the last booking available will be 7pm.
- We would ask that during the initial stage of this re-opening, you consider other families and residents trying to book visits as well and limit the on-site visits to one per week.
- Number of visits per day to the community will be designed to continue to meet operational health and safety requirements in keeping with the sanitization and screening guidelines.
- We encourage families to be considerate about the duration to allow capacity for more residents to have visits in the community
- Visits will be scheduled in one hour blocks with a suggested maximum of 2 blocks per resident visit
- Visitors are permitted to bring pets. If possible we do suggest these to be outside visits for the enjoyment of both the resident as well as the pet.
- The “single designated social visitor” restriction will be removed, allowing additional family and friends to visit
- The number of visitors will be expanded, allowing up to two visitors, plus a child (defined as 18 or younger) at any one time
- Visits will be allowed to be made in the resident’s room, a designated visiting space, or on outings with no requirement for isolation afterwards. On outings, residents will be offered a mask before exiting
- Visitors will be asked only to visit with one resident at a time, and to limit their group activities.
- Physical contact—including hugging—will be allowed, provided visitors wear a mask and follow proper infection control procedures (e.g. hand hygiene and cough etiquette)
- Removing physical distancing requirements between residents
- Resuming resident communal dining and small group social or recreational activities for residents, within a facility unit or floor
- Removing requirement for 14-day isolation for admissions into the facility, and providing immunizations if needed
We ask families and residents to keep in mind the following requirements:
- Social visitation will continue to require advanced booking, screening of visitors, use of medical masks, and practicing frequent hand hygiene. A new mask and hand sanitizer will be provided at the entrance and visitors must don a mask and perform hand hygiene.
- Social visitation will be suspended during outbreaks and enhanced monitoring periods
- Essential and compassionate visitation remains in place and any resident who requires this is supported
- Strict adherence to Infection Prevention & Control practices are essential. We encourage you to sanitize your hands, belongings, and gathering spaces frequently
- Visitors are asked to stay home if they are feeling unwell. Please don’t come if you’re not feeling well
- Regular screening of residents and visitors for signs of illness will continue to be performed. If there are any concerns in regards to COVID-19 symptoms the visitor may not be permitted
- Once the visitor is in a resident space they are asked to keep their mask on and are asked to frequently perform hand hygiene
- Please consider limiting your visits to one care home per day to ensure limited cross contamination
Protecting our communities and their loved ones is our top priority at Retirement concepts. The benefits of this social interaction are said to currently outweigh the risks of COVID-19 and we are thrilled to be able to see families together again. Please understand there are still risks associated with this and our guidelines and protocols are in place to do all we can to keep our community safe. Any non-compliance of the current requirements and guidelines may result in the visit being suspended. We ask families and friends to practice safety and caution in order to keep all of our residents and team members safe and healthy during this time.
Lastly, we encourage everyone to keep within the provincial guidelines in your daily lives. As restrictions ease, your loved ones safety is also in your hands. Performing hand hygiene, proper PPE, self-monitoring for symptoms and enhanced sanitization in your day to day is now more important than ever.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.