BC Updates Visitation Guidance for Long-Term Care and Assisted Living
February 8, 2022
BY Sara Pon
The BC government has released an updated guidance for visitors in long-term care and assisted living. This blog is an update to the January 25th CCEL blog post BC Creates Temporary Changes to Visitation Rules for Long-Term Care.This blog will not discuss the entire guidance for visitor rules. This blog will discuss new information and changes from the verbal order rules described in the January 25th blog.
Residents of long-term care are currently allowed to have both an essential visitor and one designated social visitor. There is currently no end date to this rule. If a resident’s designated visitor is sick or moves away, the long-term are staff should allow the resident to change their designated visitor.
For residents of assisted living, there are not currently any restrictions on number of visitors.
For both long-term care and assisted living, all visitors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least two doses. Visitors must provide proof of vaccine when they enter. The only exceptions are:
- Children under 12 years of age;
- People with a medical exemption; or
- End-of-life visits.
If a visitor has a medical exemption they must show a copy of their signed medical exemption.
For long-term care, all visitors who are 12 years age or older must have a rapid antigen test when they get to the facility. If a person refuses to take the rapid test or they test positive they cannot enter the facility. All people 12 and over must have a rapid test regardless of vaccine status. Even if a person has a medical exemption from the vaccine, they must still have a rapid test. The test must be done upon arrival at the long-term care facility. A test done elsewhere will not be accepted.
Children 11 years of age or younger do not have to take a rapid test. People visiting for end-of-life reasons do not have to take a rapid test and will not be turned away if they have tested positive. However, they will have to follow droplet and contact protocols.
If a person visits multiple times in one day, they only need to do a rapid test on their first visit. The BC CDC recommends that regular visitors only need to do 3 tests per week. Facilities should record the rapid tests for regular visitors and keep a testing schedule.
If a long-term care facility runs out of rapid tests, this cannot impact essential or designated social visits.
For assisted living, visitors do not have to have rapid tests to visit. An assisted living facility can voluntarily test visitors using rapid tests. The only exception to this is if the assisted living facility is at the same location as a long-term care facility and has common or shared areas, including entrances or hallways.
In long-term care, all visitors must wear a medical mask during their entire visit. Masks are required regardless of whether the visitor is vaccinated. Masks must also be worn when a visitor is in a resident’s private room.
In assisted living, visitors must wear a medical mask when moving around the facility and when in common areas. Visitors who are not vaccinated must wear a medical mask for their entire visit. Fully vaccinated visitors can remove their masks when they are in a resident’s private room. If the room is a shared room the visitor must keep their mask on.
- BC Long-Term Care and Assisted Living COVID-19 Policies
- BC Guidance on Visits to Long-Term Care and Assisted Living
- BC Public Health Orders
Patient Care Quality Offices