BC seniors advocate calls for loosening of visitor restrictions at care homes

Jan 6 2022, 11:28 pm

BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie has issued a statement to the BC government urging them to allow at least one essential visitor for every long-term care resident.

The current rules call for certain requirements to be met for residents to be designated as essential visitors, and Mackenzie suggests that no changes have been made to the process of determining whether a resident qualifies.

Currently, the administrator of the care facility decides whether or not a resident qualifies on a case-by-case basis.

Essential visits include compassionate or critical care, visits that are required for a patient’s well-being, like feeding or personal care, communication assistance, assistance for people with disabilities, and visits for supported decision-making.

“While we can all understand the need to limit the number of visitors to longterm care during this latest wave of COVID19, returning to essential visitors without declaring that every resident is entitled to at least one essential visitor has effectively left the majority of longterm care residents without visits from loved ones,” said Mackenzie.

Mackenzie went on to say that her office has received numerous calls from relatives of residents in long-term care, including spouses, who said that they could no longer make vital visits to their loved ones.

“They help to feed their loved one, get them dressed, take them for walks, and keep them engaged. For many residents, these visitors are the only people who can motivate them to engage in any activities, and yet they are not formally recognized as essential.

Mackenzie is also making the argument that as Omicron continues to burden staff at long-term care facilities, essential visitors could help manage overburdened care homes.

Daily Hive has reached out to the BC Ministry of Health for a response.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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