B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Dec. 10, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Dec. 10, 2020. (B.C. government)

Province clarifies policy on essential vs. social visits at care homes, seniors facilities

Updated Friday, the new policy clarifies difference between social, essential visits

B.C. health officials are clarifying what constitutes essential visits and social visits to long-term and assisted living care homes as restrictions in senior care facilities continue amid high daily case counts of COVID-19.

The update posted to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website on Friday (Jan. 8) largely expanded on social visit policies.

RELATED: B.C. seniors suffer from isolation, depression in COVID-19

According to the ministry of health, essential visits include:

  • Visits for compassionate care, including hospice, end of life care and critical illness
  • Feeding, mobility and personal care assistance
  • Communication assistance and supported decision-making or cognitive impairment

Essential visits are limited to one visitor at a time with exceptions for palliative and end-of-life care. Registered volunteers providing these services are included.

Social visits are defined as visits made by a family member or friend of a resident. Only one designated family member or friend may visit. Every visitor must schedule their visit in advance with facility staff and socialize only in designated visiting areas.

Social visits are only allowed if there is no COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.

RELATED: B.C. seniors worry more about death from loneliness than COVID-19

Social or essential, all visitors must wear a mask, clean hands before and after visiting using soap and water or sanitizer and maintain social distancing. Those who are sick are required to stay home.

Visits were restricted to essential only in March 2020 after COVID-19 began transmitting into care facilities. It wasn’t until late June restrictions loosened to allow one social visitor. A report from B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie released on Oct. 3 stated many facilities throughout the province went beyond health orders, restricting visits to a single person.

Visitation restrictions led to an unprecedented influx of phone calls and letters Mackenzie’s office. Her recommendations at the time included allowing a safe number of social visitors in an attempt to balance safety, outbreak management and social needs.

As of Thursday, there were 51 active outbreaks at care homes or assisted living facilities across the province.

– With files from Tom Fletcher


 

@ashwadhwani
adam.louis@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media files)
Snowfall expected for Lower Mainland on Saturday night, Sunday morning

2 to 5 cm of snow predicted Metro Vancouver, according to Environment Canada

Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man convicted of assault, unlawfully confining woman pregnant with his child loses court appeal

Victim tells court he drove her to Guildford parking lot after he’d ‘grabbed’ her neck and she fainted

White Rock’s fire chief says a Jan. 21 kitchen fire in a third-floor apartment was a close call. (Garry Wolgemuth photo)
White Rock kitchen fire a ‘close call’

Fire chief says incident is reminder to not use stovetop as storage space

Isabella Skrypnyk, a Grade 11 student, and Kasonde Mulenga, a Grade 12 student, at Surrey Christian, work on some of the finishing touches of a shed on Thursday (Jan. 21, 2021). Their Grade 11/12 workplace math class has been working on since November. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey students build shed as part of math class project

Grade 11/12 class learning about budgeting, financing and construction

North Surrey Minor Football players in action. The club is among Surrey-area recipients of the B.C. government’s Local Sport Relief Fund. (File photo)
COVID ‘relief’ funding for some sports groups in Surrey, White Rock, Delta

‘Without financial support, these clubs are at risk of closure,’ says B.C. government

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Abbotsford Police officers investigate the scene after a pedestrian was struck and killed on Friday morning. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Male pedestrian, 37, killed in Abbotsford after being struck by vehicle

Collision took place in 31800 block of South Fraser Way on Friday morning

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

Fire on Yale Road north of the overpass Friday morning. (Progress file)
Early morning blaze guts Chilliwack restaurant

The fire erupted north of the overpass closing one lane of Yale Road

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Most Read