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Rules on visiting Vancouver Coastal Health facilities easing

Rules on visiting Vancouver Coastal Health facilities easing

Details on how reduced restrictions on visiting with residents of long-term care will be implemented at Coast facilities will be announced shortly. Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) spokesperson Celso Pereira told the Local, “VCH knows that the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly difficult for seniors in long-term care and assisted living. The easing of visitation restrictions will be a really positive change for residents and their families across our region.

We recognize that operators and staff will need some time to prepare for and communicate changes to residents, their families and friends. The changes to long-term care visitation were announced before the April 1 start date to provide facilities with time to prepare, plan and communicate these new changes to residents and families. Individual operators will adopt the new guidelines and adapt them where necessary to meet the unique needs of each facility and its residents. Any additional changes by a particular facility will be communicated with residents and their families in advance of
April 1.

All social visits will continue to be pre-booked at each individual facility. As social visits will still need to be scheduled in advance, this will be one tool to help staff manage the flow of visitors and ensure infection prevention and control protocols are being followed.”

On March 25, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s provincial health officer, announced that restrictions related to visiting facilities would be changing. Between April 1 and June 30, all residents in long-term care and assisted living will be able to have frequent, routine opportunities for social visitation.

Restrictions on visiting care facilities were put in place in early 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. Effective April 1, up to two individuals plus a child will be allowed to meet with a facility resident during any single visit. These visits will be permitted in residents’ rooms and other areas of facilities. Physical touch between visitors and residents will be allowed as long as infection control measures, such as mask-wearing and hand sanitization, are followed. Social visitation to care homes will still be suspended should a facility experience an outbreak of COVID-19 or one of its
variants. 

People planning to visit loved ones at VCHs Totem Lodge or Shorncliffe facilities need to ensure that they are in good health and are not experiencing symptoms associated with the spread of COVID-19.  Full details on all provincial rules in place related to stopping the spread of COVID-19 are available online at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restrictions.

The easing of restrictions will also allow facility residents to leave their home without the need to quarantine upon return. There will also be more opportunities for interaction between residents within the facilities, such as communal dining and group social or recreation activities.

Connie Jordison

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