Information for families of people in long-term care and assisted living.

Last updated: March 19, 2022

Long-term care and assisted living visitation guidelines

Guidelines for visiting individuals living in long-term care and assisted living are as follows. You can read more on the BC Centre for Disease Control website, bccdc.ca.

There are no capacity restrictions on visitors at long-term care and seniors' assisted living facilities. You should check with your local facility about their policies before your visit.

Review the Ministry of Health's guidance – Overview of Visitors in Long-Term Care and Seniors’ Assisted Living.

During your visit

All visitors must show proof of vaccination before visiting a long-term care or seniors' assisted-living facility. Proof of vaccination is not required for:

  • Children under the age of 12
  • People with an approved medical exemption
  • Compassionate visits related to end-of-life

All visitors (12+) must also take a rapid point-of-care test at the entrance. People attending compassionate visits related to end-of-life do not have to take a test.

All visitors are also required to follow additional safety precautions, including screening for symptoms of illness and practicing hand hygiene.

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.

Visit guidance for visiting long-term care or seniors’ assisted living facilities for more information.

Dropping off essential items for residents/tenants

If essential items need to be dropped off for a resident/tenant, please arrange this in advance with their care team.

How this is done will depend on the individual facility and the team caring for the patients. 

Hairdressing and other personal services

To help ensure the safety of residents/tenants, personal service providers (e.g. volunteers, hired companions, barbers, hairdressers, nail estheticians) must show proof of vaccination or an exemption to enter a long-term care or assisted living facility.

COVID-19 health and safety measures

The health and safety of our residents/tenants, their families and our staff is our first priority and a responsibility that is taken very seriously. We continue to follow directions from public health officials and other clinical experts regarding the best infection prevention and control measures to take to avoid transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

Some of the measures we have put in place are:

  • Daily screening of staff and residents/tenants for COVID-19-like symptoms;
  • Enhancing our cleaning and infection control practices;
  • Ensuring that staff wear a procedure mask that covers their mouth and nose, eye protection and other personal protective equipment as recommended;
  • Observing outbreak prevention and outbreak management measures as required.

Volunteers

In addition, volunteers who are not existing registered volunteers providing essential visit support may resume their activities in long-term care and assisted living settings, if they are:

  • Fully immunized against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination;
  • Familiar with the responsibilities and expectations regarding outbreak prevention, detection, and management in the home. 

In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak at a facility, only essential volunteers and essential visits will be permitted onsite.  

Outbreak response

An outbreak may be declared at the direction of the medical health officer (MHO) or their official designate.

Based on the consideration of multiple risk factors, including vaccination coverage rate among residents, the severity of illness amongst cases and the rate of increase in cases, a unit/wing/floor/facility may be placed on outbreak under the direction of the medical health officer, working with the facility leadership and health authority long-term care program, and infection, prevention and control teams.

You can read more on the BCCDC’s COVID-19 Outbreak Management Protocol for Long-Term Care and Seniors’ Assisted Living Settings document.

Current outbreaks

A list of infectious disease outbreaks (e.g. COVID-19, C. difficile, norovirus, influenza) declared at long-term care, assisted living and independent living sites within the Fraser Health region is available on our Current Outbreaks page.

Notifications of outbreaks

In the unfortunate situation when an outbreak is identified at a site, the Public Health team will contact the staff member who is infected as well as the care home and residents as appropriate. Long-term care residents and assisted living tenants and their family members will be notified by e-mail/phone.

Advance care planning

Talking with your loved ones about their future health care wishes and what’s important to them is a good idea for everyone, no matter their age or health status. In some cases where your loved one may be unable to engage in such discussions, having these conversations within your own family will be very important.

Appreciating how uncomfortable it can be to have this conversation with a loved one, we have resources to help you on our Advance Care Planning page, fraserhealth.ca/ACP.

You may have already heard from the care team or family doctor offering to have COVID-19-related goals of care discussions with you. These resources can help you understand why these conversations are important and to ensure your loved one’s values and wishes, and preferences for care, are expressed, documented and respected.

Questions and concerns

If you feel your situation warrants an essential visit, please discuss your request with your loved one’s care team. The care team will balance your request with the patient’s needs, along with the infection prevention/control requirements of the other patients in the unit.

If your visit is not deemed essential, you may speak with an administrator or administrator on call for an immediate review of the decision.

Family and visitors can request a formal review of a decision through the health authority Patient Care Quality Office (PCQO). You can contact them by phone at 1-877-880-8823 or email at pcqoffice@fraserhealth.ca.

If you have already been to the PCQO and are not satisfied, you can request a review of concerns from the Patient Care Quality Review Board by email: contact@patientcarequalityreviewboard.ca or phone: 1-866-952-2448Learn more

Orders from the Provincial Health Officer or a Medical Health Officer take precedence over essential visitor policy.

Resources