Long-Term Care and COVID-19


The Ministry of Health, working with the provincial health officer, has developed updated guidelines to support visits between family members and residents of long-term care homes and seniors’ assisted living facilities. Under these new guidelines for social visits, residents can visit with one designated family member or friend*. *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.

Please note: Visits are not allowed if there is an active COVID-19 outbreak at the residence.

One hundred percent of long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities have safety plans in place and are offering family/ social visits. Signage will be posted at all main entrances to clearly communicate essential and social visit policies, with a phone number to call if visitors have questions or need assistance at the site.

For all visitors:

  • You will be screened for signs and symptoms of illness, including COVID-19, and possible exposure to COVID-19, prior to every visit.
  • You will need to bring a mask and wear it for the duration of your visit.
  • Please practice hand and respiratory hygiene (cough/sneeze etiquette), and maintain two-metres of physical distance where possible.

If you are an essential visitor:

You may not need to schedule your visit in advance. If there is another family member or friend providing essential care, only one visitor is allowed at a time*. *Except for palliative and end-of-life care, where more than one visitor may be allowed at a time.

If you are visiting for social reasons, you will need to:

  • Book your visit with facility staff in advance
  • Socialize in designated areas identified by facility staff 

If you have any question, concern or need assistance with the facility’s safety procedures, please contact the number listed on the poster at the main entrance(s). 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. As B.C. works to continue “flattening the curve,” we will continue to update the guidelines to ensure the health and safety of patients, residents, staff, and visitors.

As of January 7, 2021: new guidance is now available that clarifies essential and social visitation, and LTC visiting guidelines. Read more here.


During this holiday season, many of us are reflecting on what we have been through this year. It has been a time of change and challenge; it has also been full of heartfelt acts of gratitude, kindness, and care. We know this has been a trying year for you and your family member living in our long-term care homes. COVID-19 has highlighted more than ever the importance of health care in our community. We have made it a priority to learn from this year’s challenges and ensure we are investing the necessary resources to continue to keep your family member safe and engaged. To help do this work, we ask that you support the St. Paul's Foundation Lights of Hope Campaign. Please read more from St. Paul’s Foundation. 



JUNE 30, 2020

On June 30, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced plans to ease restrictions on visiting long-term care facilities in BC. Please read the bulletin to find out what this means for Providence Health Care sites. 

JUNE 19, 2020

On June 19, we held a virtual Town Hall for residents and families of Holy Family Hospital Long Term Care. Click here to watch the recording.

JUNE 12, 2020

MAY 7, 2020

APRIL 22, 2020 

MARCH 18, 2020 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our visiting rules have changed. Please read this bulletin carefully.

FIND More multilingual COVId-19 resources here 

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


Staff and residents living at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital (Vancouver) have a special message to our community: Everyone is doing well and we appreciate you staying home so our staff can come to work to care for our most vulnerable and ensure our residents can be safe and healthy — thank YOU! Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube.


Click on the below image to download the informational brochure.


Please note that as things change rapidly, Q&As and guidelines will be updated. Review this website often to ensure you have the most up to date information or consult your leader if you have concerns or identify discrepancies. 

Can I visit my family member in long-term care?
The Ministry of Health, working with the provincial health officer, has developed updated guidelines to support visits between family members and residents of long-term care homes and seniors’ assisted living facilities. Under these new guidelines for social visits, residents can visit with one designated family member or friend.
What measures are being taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection in care homes?
We have stepped up our resident monitoring efforts at all our homes. Any residents showing signs of the cold, flu or other similar symptoms are tested immediately. And we are ready to take appropriate actions to guard against spread. We have also stepped up our infection prevention and control planning to ensure we can protect residents. This means implementing our isolation/seclusion procedures and protocols if any residents have onset of symptoms. Our housekeeping staff have increased the number of times they clean our care areas, washroom and work areas. More hand-sanitizer dispensers are being provided and we are continually promoting proper hand-hygiene. To further encourage the focus on hand hygiene we are placing ‘greeters’ (volunteers from non-clinical areas and the volunteer team) at the entrances of our sites, reminding everyone to please use the hand gel, and not to enter the building if you feel unwell. As part of British Columbia’s emergency novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response plan, the Province is partnering with the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) to launch EquipCare BC to help seniors in long-term care and assisted living homes. EquipCare BC is a new program that will provide $10 million to enhance infection prevention and control, and improve quality and safety in long-term care and assisted living homes throughout the province. To read the full news release, click here.
How can residents and family members protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19?
We're reminding staff and residents of all long-term care homes to exercise excellent hand hygiene and follow all infection control signs posted at the facility. The best protection is to follow proper hygiene etiquette during cold and flu season. This includes proper hand washing with soap and water, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and staying home when you are sick. It’s a good idea to remind your relative of the importance of washing their hands on a regular basis, especially before they eat their meals.
What happens if a staff member at a long-term care site gets sick?
All care staff showing any signs of illness have been asked not to come to work. If they are being tested for COVID-19, they are directed to get tested and to self-isolate until they have their results. If they test positive, they are asked to continue self-isolation as per Public Health’s direction. A key prevention tactic has been Public Health Officials working with the Canadian Border Agency to screen people, including Canadian health care staff, re-entering BC. Anyone who chooses to travel outside of Canada will be asked to stay away from work or school for 14 days upon their return. Health care workers who provide direct patient care who have travelled outside of Canada may return to work immediately, but are being asked to self-monitor for symptoms and self-isolate at home following their shift.
Is my family member at higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19?
We are still learning about COVID-19. For people infected with COVID-19, there is a wide range in infection severity from no symptoms to severe pneumonia. Current information suggests that older people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease are at higher risk of developing more severe illness or complications from COVID-19. Although most people with COVID-19 recover, people with chronic diseases are also at higher risk of death if they become ill. Those at higher risk for COVID-19 complications should follow general preventative strategies against infection, and should they become ill, seek medical help early.
Should I be concerned about an outbreak at my loved one's long-term care facility?
Understandably, news of confirmed COVID-19 cases at long-term care homes is causing concern to families in Vancouver and across the Lower Mainland who have relatives in long-term care. Because of the precautions we have in place, there is a limited possibility of transmitting the virus from an affected care home to other long-term care homes. For example, staff are working at only one location; they are not moving between facilities. We also have full infection prevention and control precautions in place in the facility to protect both the staff and the residents who are not affected.
Since the WHO declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic, are you be doing anything differently or in addition to the measures already outlined?
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.


This page last updated December 21, 2020 09:06am PDT