Providence Health Care provides care to some of Vancouver's most vulnerable people, many of whom find it difficult to remain in hospital for the duration of their care due to mental health issues, substance use or the need to attend to their life.  

This provides us with a real challenge during the Pandemic. If you have patients who are awaiting test results or are confirmed COVID-19+, who are not willing or able to comply with physical distancing and remain in their room, please consider the following steps:


  • Ensure all patients are asked about their substance use and are promptly referred to the Addiction Medicine Consult Team, who will maximize treatment

  • If there are psychiatric concerns: call Dr Carole Richford  604-760-3588 or pager 34391


  • Provide some basic education on the importance of staying in their room and maintaining physical distancing

  • For patients who need to use the OPS, this is fine – the OPS has physical distancing measures in place and increased hygiene protocols.   Provide the patient with a face mask if they need to leave the unit.

  • If the patient is wanting to leave (or does leave) AMA, report to the Clinical Site Coordinator 

  • Consider a Behaviour Support Plan to ensure the patient's needs are being met, the expectations for them are clear and the consequence of ongoing non-compliance which may include being discharged to a community site for isolation

  • If patients return to the unit after leaving for the OPS or other reasons, continue with their care as planned and continue to encourage the patient to comply with physical distancing

A plan is being developed by VHC, PHC and the City of Vancouver for homeless people who are required to self-isolate and details will be shared very soon.  Existing community outreach teams (Overdose Outreach Team, STOP Outreach Team) will also be available to support patients in the community with self-isolating.

This information will shortly be available as a Clinical Guideline on SHOP.

If you have other questions and concerns, contact Scott Harrison, Director, at or 604-250-7609

This page last updated Mar 24, 2020 6:46pm PDT