Long-Term Care and COVID-19



You can download the Social Visitation Guidelines for long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities in these languages:

Essential Visitors:

At this time, there are no changes to the guidance of essential visitors.

Social Visitors:

Effective April 1, 2021, Providence Health Care (PHC) will align social visiting practices with the guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

This new set of recommendations and guidance outlines the updates regarding COVID-19 visiting practices, primarily related to social visiting. The detailed guidance will be available April 1st to the general public on the BC CDC LTC COVID-19 website: (Click Here). In the interim, please find below the key highlights:

  • For indoor visits, social visits are expanded to now include any individual; however, to a maximum of two adults and one child if indoors. Outdoor visits will follow the existing guidelines from the PHO.
  • There are no longer restrictions on location, frequency or duration of visits; however, visits will need to be pre-booked, occur in a pre-determined location enabling physical distancing guidelines. The visit length will allow for a minimum of 60 minutes if desired by the visitor and/or resident. Limitations may be enforced to meet WorkSafe BC safety plans.
  • Visits can occur in a resident room, both single and multi-person, provided physical distancing and existing infection prevention and control guidelines can be adhered.
  • Physical touch between the visitor and resident is now allowed. Please note, you must still wear a medical-grade mask and uphold diligent hand hygiene.
  • Residents will be supported to leave the facility for appropriate outings and family visits (not just essential outings). Residents will not be required to isolate when they return from an outing.
  • The use of PPE items should be limited to interaction with residents and their immediate environment when clinically indicated (e.g. if on precautions during an outbreak).
    • Visitors are neither required to change into scrubs or alternative clothes on-site nor required to change out of clothes prior to leaving the facility.
    • No visitors will be required to wear a gown or gloves from the entrance.
    • No individuals should be required to wipe their shoes or don shoe covers in order to enter the facility.
  • During a visit, care team members will be available to address resident needs or should the visitor need support, but they will not monitor the visit.
  • Residents can now attend small group social and recreational activities for residents with a facility unit or floor without having to maintain physical distance. They can also go back to eating at the same time and sitting at tables with other residents.

PHC care home leaders highly value the need for social connectedness and have been working tirelessly to maximize social visiting in their respective care homes, balancing the operational and pandemic requirements. With the new guidance set out by the Ministry, our site leaders will continue to honour the principles and update practices to be in compliance. We request your patience as we navigate challenges and appreciate your understanding if a care home is limited in its ability to operationalize some of the guidelines (i.e. ability to support shared room visits if physical distancing cannot be maintained).

Over the coming weeks, site leaders will also be working on adjusting practices related to share dining and social and recreational activities.

If you have specific questions related to social visiting with your loved one, please connect with the designated care home contact directly.

Visiting Appeal Process:

In line with the MoH and the Public Health order, we want to make you aware of the appeal and review process for both essential and social visits in LTC. Should you have a concern regarding a decision relating to visitor status, we encourage you:

  • To speak with a clinical care team member or clinical care team leadership at the time of concern. If you are not satisfied with the response, our Resident Care Manager will be involved, providing you a written decision including the rationale.
  • 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.

Vaccinations for LTC visitors – as of April 1, 2021

Will Social Visitors to LTC homes be Immunized for Covid-19?

  • Prior to April 1st designated visitors were able to receive their first dose with proof of status via letter from the LTC home.
  • With the new visitation policy effective April 1st and the removal of designated visitor status, social visitors to PHC LTC homes will be eligible for their vaccination as part Public Health’s age based roll out in the coming weeks and months.
  • At this time the focus is on immunizing residents, staff and essential visitors, which we know adds a layer of protection for those in the facility, especially residents who cannot be immunized for medical reasons.
  • To further protect residents, staff and visitors, strict infection prevention and control precautions remain in place in LTC and seniors’ AL facilities. Social visitors are required to book their visits in advance, be screened before entry, wear a medical mask, practice hand hygiene, cough/sneeze into their elbows and maintain their physical distance from other visitors and staff.
  • The Province is in phase 2 of BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan, which means that more members of the community, especially high-risk populations, have received at least one dose of the vaccine or will soon.

Read the full bulletin here.

General COVID Updates:

Currently, Providence Health Care (PHC) has no active outbreaks of COVID-19 in our LTC or assisted living homes.
In addition to having great success in vaccinating large numbers of our residents, care teams and visitors, we will continue to uphold infection prevention and control precautions.  As recommended by our Provincial Health Officer, we continue to follow screening practices — for any person entering or living in our care homes, uphold exceptional hygiene practices, ensure physical distancing and follow current PPE guidance.

Admission Precautions:

  • Residents will no longer be required to isolate for 14 days upon admission to a LTC or seniors’ assisted living facility, unless a clinical assessment or Public Health guidance directs otherwise.

Vaccination Update:

  • Since December 2020, we have seen significant uptake and success in the vaccine roll out to LTC residents and staff, vaccinating over 90% of residents and 80% of staff.
  • If you are an essential, you are eligible for priority vaccination as part of the strategy to keep our residents and homes protected from COVID-19. Please connect directly with your care homes about receiving a letter to support vaccination at a designated clinic.

Health Care Assistant Program (HCAP):

COVID-19 has highlighted the need for staffing support in long-term care and assisted living sites across the province. To increase the supply of Health Care Assistants across the province, the Government of British Columbia has partnered with regional health authorities to launch the Health Career Access Program – a work-integrated education and training program for Health Care Support Workers (HCSW) on their path to becoming a Health Care Assistant.

The HCSW is a newly created role that provides much needed non-clinical, non-direct care support for residents. PHC LTC homes are excited to be a part of this program. By offering this standardized training, we can continue providing the best quality of care to our residents. We expect to hire a total of 87 HCAP employees across our 5 LTC homes and 1 Assisted Living residence by April.

Helpful Information:

For more information on LTC support in BC, please review the following resources.

FIND More multilingual COVId-19 resources here 


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 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.

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.


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.