Long-Term Care and COVID-19



On Monday, July 19, 2021, further easing of pandemic restrictions will come into effect giving all residents in LTC and Assisted Living (AL) more ways to spend time together safely. 




As you are likely aware, the B.C. Ministry of Health (MoH) has issued new guidelines to all Long-term Care (LTC) and Assisted Living (AL) homes related to visitation, with these changes coming into effect July 19, 2021.

Following consultation with Providence Health Care’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) partners and Pandemic Response Team, we are pleased to share detailed updates below regarding the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Our safety plans ensure resident, care team and home safety remain the key priority through this next phase of the pandemic.

Our care homes are thrilled to support enhanced visiting and are looking forward to having visitors and volunteers return with greater ease and flexibility.

We greatly appreciate your patience and empathy as we anticipate a period of adjustment.

General Visitation Guidance

Vaccine Verification

  • As per the Public Health Order and Ministry of Health (MoH) directives, you will now be required to show proof of your vaccination status. This directive supports public health decision making in the event of a COVID-19 exposure in the care home.
  • When arriving to the care home for your first visit, the screener will ask you to show proof and will document this. You will not be required to show proof at subsequent visits. Your information is confidential and will not be shared with others.
  • If you are not fully immunized*, or do not show proof, you will be denied entry to the facility. Exceptions related to compassionate care, such as end of life care, will be considered on an individual basis with additional preventative measures required to support visits involving partially or unimmunized individuals.
  • Visitors who do not demonstrate that they are fully vaccinated may visit outdoors in space that does not require entry to or passage through the facility. Partially or unimmunized visitor are required to follow and adhere to all IPAC requirements, including wearing a medical mask for the duration of their visit.
  • *Fully Immunized is defined as seven days after receiving the full series of a World Health Organization (WHO) approved COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of approved WHO Vaccines.

Visitor Vaccination Requirements

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.

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 click here for more information on mandatory visitor vaccination in long-term care and seniors’ assisted living.

Additional Information for your visit

  • Visits with your loved one in our care homes no longer require pre-booking or time limits.
  • Prior to arriving to the care home, we ask you self-screen for COVID-19 using the BC Thrive App or website. Should you have any symptoms, please do not come to the care home and follow BC thrive app guidance for seeking a COVID-19 test.
  • To accommodate the expected increase in visiting, while upholding physical distancing and supporting resident safety, we have established visiting hours and a maximum capacity for each neighbourhood. WorkSafe BC and site capacity safety plans inform the maximum number of people for safe visitation.
    • Visiting hours will be up to 1800 (6pm) to accommodate screening practices. If you require a visit outside of these hours, please connect with the resident care manager who will be pleased to accommodate your visit.
    • Visitor Capacity will be determined by each individual care home. If you are concerned about your ability to visit due to space constraints, please call ahead to confirm. Screeners and visitation support workers will provide guidance around capacity when you arrive.
  • Due to the increased volume of visits required without pre-booking, we anticipate there may be challenges with sharing spaces for visiting while trying to maintain physical distancing. In order to accommodate everyone’s needs, we ask you to be considerate about the length of your stay and the space you are occupying.
  • Visiting in rooms with multiple residents:
    • Wherever possible, we encourage you to visit with a resident outside of their room in a separate dedicated location. If you have any concerns, please connect with a care team member.
    • Should you choose to visit a resident in a multi-bed room, we ask you limit your party to less than 3 people, with only one group visiting at a time.
    • At the advice of our medical health officer, if visiting in a multi-bed room, we require you to wear a medical grade mask and close the curtain.
    • If you are wanting to have a larger group (i.e. greater than 4 people), we ask you call ahead so we can help accommodate your visit while ensuring physical distancing.
  • Visits outside care home:
    • If you are planning a visit outside of the care home or overnight, similar to practice prior to the pandemic, we ask you organize and discuss the logistics with a care team member. This ensures any resident care needs (including medications) can be planned around.


Infection Prevention and Control Precautions

  • Hand Hygiene and respiratory etiquette remain critical measures to reduce the transmission of COVID- 19 and other common bugs which can have a detrimental impact on residents and the care home. We ask you continue to be diligent about performing hand hygiene at the beginning, throughout and at the end of your visit.
  • Screening practices remain in effect upon arrival of your visit. Screeners will continue to request contact information and keep a daily visiting log to ensure compliance with contact tracing measures.
  • Physical distancing remains a key precaution. We ask you be mindful of maintain a 2m distance from others wherever possible. Visitors are still asked to limit movement around the care home.
  • Personal Protective Equipment:
    • Fully immunized visitors will be required to wear a medical mask while moving through the care home and in common areas but are not required to wear a mask while in direct contact with the person they are visiting.
    • In the event of an outbreak or a resident being on isolation precautions, please call ahead to determine whether or not you may proceed with a visit.
    • The care team will not monitor visits, however may provide a gentle reminder if a visitor is not following an IPAC precaution.


  • Visitors will not require any routine testing on site. If you are experiencing symptoms, please do not visit and follow guidance on the BC thrive App for testing.


  • As we work to operationalize the recent directives from the MoH, we will be starting to hold care home social events and gatherings. At this time, we will be able to invite visitors to participate in outdoor social gatherings only. All gatherings will align with active provincial health orders.

Visiting Appeal and Patient Care Quality Office

Our visiting appeal process remains in place as follows:

If you have any concerns or challenges with your visits, we ask you connect with a care team leader or resident care manager.
In the event you are not satisfied with the decision by the care home, you are encouraged to contact Patient Care quality Office (PCQO) at 604-806-8284 or email them at jsilver@providencehealth.bc.ca for re-consideration.
In the event you are not satisfied with the response on behalf of PHC, the issue may be escalated to the Provincial Health Officer via PCQO or independently by mail to:Hlth.visitorappeal@gov.bc.ca.

Learn more:


An updated policy for mask use in health care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic was issued on August 31. What key changes came with the mask policy?

Health care workers (clinical and non-clinical staff):

Regardless of immunization status, all persons working in long-term care, acute care hospitals, stand-alone extended care hospitals designated under the Hospital Act, seniors’ assisted living settings and provincial mental health facilities must wear a medical mask at all times, including in common areas and break rooms unless eating and/or drinking.

Visitors, regardless of immunization status, must wear a medical mask according to the overview of visitors in long-term care and seniors’ assisted living.

What health care settings are affected by this policy?

  • Long-term care
  • Acute care hospitals
  • Stand-alone extended care hospitals designated under the Hospital Act
  • Seniors’ assisted living settings
  • Provincial mental health facilities

Where else should medical masks be worn?

  • The pre-existing medical mask orders still stay in place for all the health care facilities and settings where health care is provided.

Who else should wear masks?

  • Visitors:
    • All visitors must wear a medical mask when entering and moving around any health care facility, including clinical and non-clinical areas.

Who is exempt from the mask policy?

  • People under 12 years old
  • People unable to wear a mask because of a health condition or physical or mental impairment.
  • People unable to put on or remove a mask without help from another person.

Please click here for more information on the masking policy.

For more information regarding Providence Health Care's COVID-19 response please click here.

FIND More multilingual COVId-19 resources here 

NEW! Read the St. Paul's Foundation's 2019-20 Impact Report on Seniors & Long-term Care


Click on the below image to download the informational brochure.


We are continually working with our health care partners, the Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Officer, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. This includes ongoing planning and discussions to ensure we are fully prepared at our long-term care facilities. This has been taking place for quite some time now, well in advance of the pandemic declaration. Of course we will be continuing this work in the days and weeks ahead, and when necessary, enact extra measures to ensure our residents and families are safe.