Changes to visitation and outbreak rules in long-term care

February 3, 2022 | News

On February 1, Dr. Henry formally announced changes to the visitation rules in BC’s long-term care homes. In addition to essential visitors, every resident is also permitted one social visitor of their choosing, regardless of whether there’s a COVID-19 outbreak in their home. That visitor will not need to be an approved “designated essential” visitor, and those residents who already have a designated essential visitor can still have another social visitor. This may include a ‘back-up’ for when the designated individual is unable to visit. The new visitation guidance for long-term care and assisted living can be found here.

There have also been changes to how outbreaks are defined and managed. The province is removing a “one size fits all” approach to managing outbreaks, and instead, Medical Health Officers will decide what supports and restrictions need to be put in place depending on the severity of the outbreak and the risk to staff and residents. See new outbreak management protocols here.

One thing that remains constant is that all visitors must still be fully vaccinated, and take required precautions such as rapid testing, mask-wearing, and hand hygiene when in the care home.