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Long-term care & assisted living

During the COVID-19 pandemic, teams from Vancouver Coastal Health's Long-Term Care team work closely with the staff at the long-term care home, Public Health Officers and Infection Prevention and Control to contain a COVID-19 outbreak and keep residents safe. That is our priority. 

Orders from the Medical Health Officer

For the latest Public Health Orders on long-term care, see the Medical health orders and letters section on the COVID-19 page.

Preventative measures

The COVID-19 disease is particularly serious in vulnerable seniors and can lead to pneumonia, respiratory failure, and in some cases death. Those who live in long-term care and assisted living homes or have other medical conditions are at highest risk of infection and severe illness.

Vancouver Coastal Health, like all health authorities across the province, has undertaken extensive preparations to protect and care for residents living in all long-term care homes. These measures include: 

  1. Enhanced cleaning: We have increased cleaning frequency to high touch areas such as the side rails, tables and elevator buttons. This should reduce the risk of transmission of virus from objects 

  2. Symptom Monitoring & Testing:  To prevent transmission we need to identify who might be sick. This means carefully monitoring staff and residents for symptoms and providing testing where appropriate.

  3. Isolation of Cases: To prevent the spread of COVID-19 we take all possible steps to keep residents who have COVID-19 in their rooms while they are recovering.

  4. Physical Distancing: During an outbreak we reduce group and social activities to decrease the risk of transmission. This may mean that enjoyable activities are put on hold.

  5. Personal Protective Equipment: For staff and patient safety, staff will be using personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and gowns.

  6. Limiting to work at one location: Staff are working at only one location. They are not moving between facilities.

  7. Revised Visitor Policy: The Ministry of Health announced investment in safer visits at long-term care homes and seniors facilities. Updated provincial requirements will ease the current visitor restrictions for long-term care homes and seniors’ assisted living residences with clear guidance on required precautions. Each facility must develop written plans outlining how they will meet the requirements before visitation changes take effect.

Visitation rules

A Public Health Order restricts visitors to immediate family members and spiritual advisor of residents who are clinically assessed to be at end-of-life and those that facilities deem essential to a resident's physical and mental well-being. Families and visitors can ask for a review of a decision about what is considered an essential visit by contacting the VCH Patient Care Quality Office.

Monitoring and caring for residents

All residents and staff in a long-term care home with a COVID outbreak are proactively monitored and will be tested if they develop respiratory or gastrointestinal illness compatible with COVID-19.

If they test positive families will be notified and we will take steps to ensure they get the care they need. The resident's health-care team will work with families to make that decision based on their condition.

Psychological impact

We understand isolation is a significant issue among the elderly and particularly during this pandemic period when many new policies and extraordinary measures are in place for everyone's protection. We are working on creative ways to get families in touch with their loved one that will not compromise their safety, or the safety of other residents or staff.

During an outbreak we have regular meetings to see what is happening in the facility, what stage we are at, what measures need to be in place and which can be discontinued or replaced with something else. We do relax the measures as appropriate but we have to make sure we don't relax them to the point where transmission happens again. We understand the measures cause harm as well as benefit and do our best to minimize the impact on residents. 

Please contact the site for more details on what you can do to reach your loved one. Please be patient if you have trouble getting through and rest assured we will try to connect you as soon as possible.

Current outbreaks

Below is a list of infectious disease outbreaks (e.g. C. difficile, norovirus, influenza) declared at long-term care homes (LTCH) within the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) region. These include VCH owned and operated, Providence Health Care, Provincial Health Services and contracted facilities.

 View current outbreaks


SOURCE: Long-term care & assisted living ( )
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