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Long-term care and assisted living

Long-term care and assisted living

The Ministry of Health has updated visitor guidelines to support all visits in long-term care facilities or seniors’ assisted living residences. These updates are effective as of April 1, 2021, and are reflected in the guidelines here.

Family/social visits

As of April 1, 2021, Family/social visits are no longer limited to one designated family member or friend. Additional family members and friends are allowed with a maximum of two visitors (plus one child) at the same time if the visit is indoors.

  • Residents may have more social visitors outdoors, in an appropriate location, and in alignment with current provincial health officer guidelines. Infection prevention and control measures (e.g., visitors must be screened for signs and symptoms of illness prior to every visit, practice hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette – cough or sneeze into elbows sleeves and dispose used tissues properly – and wear medical masks) must be followed.
  • There are no longer restrictions on the location, frequency, or duration of visits, and visits can now take place in residents’ rooms.
  • Physical touch between residents and their visitors is now allowed with infection prevention and control measures in place.
  • Every resident is entitled to regular, routine, frequent opportunities for social visitation, allowing for a minimum of 60 minutes if desired.

Safety Guidelines Remain in Place

  • Social visits must still be scheduled in advance and tracked for contact tracing.
  • Visitors will still be screened for signs and symptoms of illness, including COVID-19, before their visits.
  • Social visitation will be suspended in the event of an active outbreak, defined as a confirmed case in a single resident or a single staff member where there has been exposure in the facility.

Essential visits

The essential visitor policy remains in place. Essential visits are limited to one visitor per individual within the facility at a time, except in the case of palliative/end of life care. Essential visits are:

• Visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end of life, and medical assistance in dying.

• Visits paramount to the individual’s physical care and mental well-being including assistance with feeding, mobility, or personal care, communication assistance and assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities.

• Visits for supported decision making.

• Existing registered volunteers providing the services described above;

• Visits required to move belongings in/out of a resident’s room; and

• Police, correctional officers, and peace officers accompanying a resident/patient for security reasons.

** If a COVID-19 outbreak is declared at the facility the Interior Health Medical Health Officers will be contacted to determine if an essential visit can continue.
** Essential visitors are determined at the facility level in collaboration with the individual and their family.

Can I take my loved one out for a social outing?

Yes, we support residents who wish to leave the facility for outings and family visits (not just essential outings). Residents are not required to isolate when they return from an outing.

What can I do if I have been denied a visit?

If you are a designated essential or social visitor and have been denied a visit there is a complaint resolution process in place:

• Request an immediate consultation with the site manager/administrator to discuss. Once a request is made for essential visitor status, a decision will be made within 24 hours and a written response will be provided within 48 hours.
• If concerns are unresolved with the site manager/administrator, you may contact the IH Patient Care Quality Office (PCQO) at 1-877-442-2001 or email Upon request for a review by the PCQO, a decision and written response will be provided within seven days.