Visitation Rule Changes
Please note that as things change rapidly, Q&As and guidelines will be updated. Review this website often to ensure you have the most up to date information or consult your leader if you have concerns or identify discrepencies.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Providence Health Care is working closely with the Ministry of Health and BC’s other health authorities to protect the health of all British Columbians, particularly the most vulnerable, in our Long Term Care and Acute Care settings.
For Long Term Care (LTC):
The Ministry of Health, working with the provincial health officer, has developed updated guidelines to support visits between family members and residents of long-term care homes and seniors’ assisted living facilities. Under these new guidelines for social visits, residents can visit with one designated family member or friend*.*Facility staff/operator can approve a change to the designated visitor under extenuating circumstances; for example, if the visitor moves away or becomes ill and is unable to visit.
Please note: Visits are not allowed if there is an active COVID-19 outbreak at the residence.
One hundred percent of long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities have safety plans in place and are offering family/ social visits. Signage will be posted at all main entrances to clearly communicate essential and social visit policies, with a phone number to call if visitors have questions or need assistance at the site.
For all visitors:
- You will be screened for signs and symptoms of illness, including COVID-19, and possible exposure to COVID-19, prior to every visit.
- You will need to bring a mask and wear it for the duration of your visit.
- Please practice hand and respiratory hygiene (cough/sneeze etiquette), and maintain two-metres of physical distance where possible.
If you are an essential visitor:
- You may not need to schedule your visit in advance.
- If there is another family member or friend providing essential care, only one visitor is allowed at a time*.
- *Except for palliative and end-of-life care, where more than one visitor may be allowed at a time.
If you are visiting for social reasons, you will need to do the following:
- Book your visit with facility staff in advance
- Socialize in designated areas identified by facility staff
If you have any question, concern or need assistance with the facility’s safety procedures, please contact the number listed on the poster at the main entrance(s). In addition to visits in person, we also encourage you to stay in touch with your family or friend at the facility either virtually or remotely. As B.C. works to continue “flattening the curve,” we will continue to update the guidelines to ensure the health and safety of patients, residents, staff, and visitors.
For the updated guidance for long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities, visit BC Centre for Disease Control’s website.
Residents of our long-term care facilities and their families can find more information here.
For Acute Care:
Effective immediately, Providence is restricting all visitors to Acute Care inpatients to essential visits only. Essential visits include:
- Visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, and end of life.
- Visits paramount to the patient or client’s physical care and mental well-being, including:
- Assistance with feeding, mobility, personal care;
- Communication assistance for persons with hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual or memory impairments;
- Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities, including provision of emotional support;
- Visits for supported decision-making;
- Visits for pediatric care, labour and delivery;
- Existing registered volunteers providing the services described above.
- Visits required to move belongings in or out of a client’s room.
- Police, correctional officers and peace officers accompanying a patient/client for security reasons.
All Providence Health Care sites have controlled access protocols in place and all visitors can expect to be asked the reason for their visits and may not gain access to the site, based on the above criteria.
Please view the following guidelines and algrorithm documents for reference (created May 11, 2020):
- Guidelines for Visitation during COVID-19 to Support Compassionate and End of Life Visitation
- Patient Requests for Visitation during COVID-19 in Acute Care - Algorithm
- Patient Requests for Visitation during COVID-19 in LTC - Algorithm
Talking points for switchboard, security, volunteers, visitor info desks and administration are available, along with signs:
- PHC Acute (SPH + MSJ) Visitor talking points Updated March 21, 2020 (PDF)
- PHC Long-Term Care Seniors Visitor talking points (PDF)
- COVID-19 Door Poster in English (PDF)
- COVID-19 Door Poster in English, Farsi and Chinese (PDF)
Changes to Essential Visitors Policy and Practices Essential Visits During COVID-19 Recovery:
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Testing and Laboratory
- Infection Prevention & Control for Surgical Procedures
- Acute Care
- Hand Hygiene
- Triage and Assessment
- Environmental Considerations
- Long Term Care Specific Information
- Ambulatory Care
- Community Resources
- Admitted Patients
- Care of the Deceased
- Travel Advisories
- Greeter Program Information
- Risk Mitigation in the Context of Dual Public Health Emergencies
- Visitation Rule Changes
If you need to reach PHC’s Infection Prevention and Control Team (IPAC), please call local 69357. Do not contact individual IPAC team members.