Visitors + Visitation

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.

Visitors in acute care

The acute visitor policy has been updated as follows:

  • Essential and social visitors are now referred to generally as visitors.
  • Visitors are not required to maintain physical distance; however, they should respect personal space between people.
  • Up to two visitors may visit a patient at a time.
  • Patients and visitors are encouraged to work in partnership with care providers to determine how best to coordinate visits (e.g., it may be best to avoid visits during shift change or patient rounds). Patients can refuse to provide consent for a visit and this will be respected.

Exceptions are:

  • For compassionate care visits (including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end-of-life and medical assistance in dying), the limit of two visitors may be removed in consultation with the clinical care team.
  • For pediatric care, labour and delivery visits, siblings may accompany parents or legal guardians of a newborn/infant/child.
  • Similar to the previous policy on essential visits, visitors shall be limited to one visitor per patient within the facility at a time in the emergency department and intensive care unit, except when death is anticipated as imminent. Please refer to the policy for more details.


Visitors in long term care and assisted living

Mandatory vaccinatations for visitors (effective October 12, 2021)

All visitors to long-term care and assisted-living facilities are required to have received a single dose of vaccine to be able to enter a facility (excluding children under 12 years or those with an approved medical exemption). Partially immunized visitors are required to undergo rapid testing at point of entry to the facility.

Mandatory vaccinations for visitors (effective October 26, 2021)

All visitors to long-term care, assisted-living and acute-care facilities must demonstrate they are fully immunized to enter a facility.

  • Visitors are required to show proof of vaccination prior to entry, including just to pass through the facility to access an outdoor space. Proof of vaccination is considered to be an electronic or a printed copy proof; issued by the government in the form of a QR code, accessible here. Includes the individual's name and issued for the purpose of showing proof of vaccination.
  • Visitations for non-vaccinated visitors can occur outside the facility and masks are required at all times
  • Medical masks are required by all in facilities regardless of vaccination status

Exceptions related to compassionate care such as end-of-life, will be considered on an individual case basis. Those who require the exceptions, should contact the facility care director.

 Please find more information on mandatory visitor vaccination in long-term care and seniors' assisted living (BC CDC).


Visitation policy

Visitation restrictions aim to protect vulnerable seniors and elders who are residing in long-term care and seniors' assisted living settings from COVID-19 while lessening the negative impacts associated with being apart from family and friends.

Health authorities and facility operators shall continue to support visitors for essential visits and allow social visits within established criteria, supported by a detailed plan and process as outlined below. The Ministry of Health acknowledges the need to support operators to ensure safe visitation with adequate staffing.

Overview of Visitors in Long-Term Care and Assisted Living (BC CDC)

Essential and Social Visits

An essential visit includes:

  • Visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end of life and medical assistance in dying.
  • Visits paramount to the resident's physical care and mental well-being (e.g., assistance with feeding, mobility, personal care or communication, assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities)
  • Visits for supported decision-making
  • Existing registered volunteers providing the services
  • Visits required to move belongings in/out of a resident's room
  • Police, correctional officers and peace officers accompanying a resident for security reasons

Essential visits shall be limited to one visitor per resident within the facility at a time (except in the case of palliative/end-of-life care). An essential visit is not a social visit and essential visits are permitted in a care home/residence that has an active COVID-19 outbreak, under guidance and direction from the local medical health officer.


A social visit includes:

  • Someone not routinely involved in the resident's health-care or support needs.
  • Someone whose time with the resident is discretionary and usually temporary.
  • Visiting for purposes that are more social in nature.

As part of the ongoing efforts to keep residents safe, operators will complete an initial and then monthly review of their current practices to ensure for themselves, residents and families that there is full compliance against the current practice requirements. Any gaps identified should be addressed.

Social visits are separate from essential visitation and resident outings. Operators will continue to support resident outings in alignment with public health guidance regarding indoor and outdoor gatherings for the public.

This page last updated Oct 15, 2021 5:53pm PDT