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COVID-19 information for long-term care & assisted living

Visitations for long-term care & assisted living

To support essential and social visits at long-term care and assisted-living facilities during the pandemic, health authorities are following guidelines outlined by the Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Order Feb. 5, 2021.

Social visitations

VCH has developed additional guidelines which support the updated Ministry of Health guidelines on social visitations to long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities. You can download and print the VCH Social Visitation Guidelines for long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities. This information is also available in these languages:

Please note: these guidelines may change with time and will be updated as new Provincial Health Orders are released.

VCH visitor appeal and review process

Based on these guidelines, families may appeal decisions made about their visitation status through the Vancouver Coastal Health Patient Care Quality Office (PCQO). See VCH Visitor Appeal and Review Process for Essential and Social Visits for more information.

  • If you have questions or concerns about social or essential visit decisions, you are encouraged to speak to the Director of Care/Facility Administrator at the time of the concern 

  • If your concerns have not been resolved with the site administrator, you may reach out to the VCH Patient Care Quality Office to access the formal appeals process at 1-877-993-9199 or email

During the COVID-19 pandemic, teams from Vancouver Coastal Health's long-term care and assisted living team work closely with the staff at each home, Public Health Officers and Infection Prevention and Control to prevent and contain COVID-19 outbreaks. That is our priority. 

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 and assisted living 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 potential and positive cases: To limit exposure of our homes, people who move in, or are returning from overnight hospital admission are required to isolate in a private room for 14 days.  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: We have reduced large group and social activities to decrease the risk of transmission. 

  5. Personal protective equipment (PPE): For resident and staff safety, staff will be using personal protective equipment such as masks, eye protection and gloves when in contact with residents.  If a resident has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID19 staff will also wear a gown. All visitors are required to wear a mask. 

  6. Limiting to work at one location: Staff are working at only one long-term care location.

  7. Restricted visitor policy: All visitors must:

    • be screened for signs and symptoms of illness, including COVID-19, and possible exposure to COVID-19, prior to every visit;

    • ear a mask for the duration of the visit; 

    • maintain two-metres of physical distance where possible; and

    • practice hand and respiratory hygiene (cough/sneeze etiquette). 

  8. Social visits are defined as the opportunity for  residents to  visit with one designated family member or friend*. Visitors will be able to socialize in specific areas identified by staff. Visits must be booked in advance and will not be allowed if there is an active COVID-19 outbreak at the residence.

  9. Essential visits may not need to be scheduled in advance. If there is another family member or friend providing essential care, only one visitor is allowed at a time – the exception being for palliative and end-of-life care, where more than one visitor may be permitted.

    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. 

    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.

If an outbreak happens

Monitoring and caring for residents

All residents and staff in a long-term care or assisted living home with a COVID outbreak are proactively monitored and will be tested if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

If residents 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 decisions 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, and what measures need to be in place. We do relax the measures as appropriate but we have to make sure we don't relax them to the point where transmission happens. 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

For 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, click the button below. These include VCH owned and operated, Providence Health Care, Provincial Health Services and contracted facilities..

View current outbreaks


More information about COVID-19

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