Hospital transfer workers are seen outside the Lynn Valley Centre care home in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. will ‘have to find a way’ for families to visit seniors in longterm care: advocate

There are currently 19 outbreaks at care homes in B.C.

The province will need to work on a plan for families to visit their loved ones in longterm care during the COVID-19 pandemic, Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie said Sunday (April 26).

Visitors have been advised to stay away, and largely banned, since provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued guidance on March 20. Henry asked all assisted living facilities to allow “essential visits only,” which has led to a stoppage of family visits.

Hundreds of staff and seniors at longterm care facilities have been infected with the virus, leading to many of B.C.’s 100 deaths. There are currently outbreaks at 19 facilities, with outbreaks at a further 10 homes being declared over. Speaking last week, Henry said seniors in longterm care are offered the “full spectrum of care,” but most do not opt for hospitalization when they get the virus.

On Sunday, Mackenzie said spouses and children must be able to see their loved ones in longterm care. She said that amid B.C.’s “new normal,” the assisted living sector will need to figure out “some form of visits from family members,” before a vaccine is developed – which could be as much as a year away.

She noted that Henry’s guidance did specifically allow for some visits, including for compassionate and palliative care, and to assist with feeding and mobility.

“I am going to be communicating to the care homes to carefully look at that language and make accommodations where they can.”

Mackenzie acknowledged the visits will be highly restricted and may not be possible at all facilities.

“If there is an active outbreak of COVID-19 in the care home that makes it more difficult,” she said.

“People going a year or more without seeing their spouse… is tragic.”

Mackenzie said family members not only support their loved one in the care home but also to be the “eyes that see and the ears that hear” to ensure care is up to standards.

READ MORE: ‘You are not alone’: B.C. pledges $500K to help family caregivers amid COVID-19 pandemic

READ MORE: B.C. care home site of virus recovery study, Bonnie Henry says

READ MORE: B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusSeniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A stand in solidarity against racism and discrimination

A diverse crowd led by youth marched from Cranbrook’s Spirit Square in… Continue reading

Letters to the Editor

Performing Arts Festival postponed; Wildfire protection; Understanding in the world today

Local photographer raises over $5,000 for Cranbrook Food Bank

Damien Vincent raised the money through his version of the Front Porch Family Photo project

PHOTOS: Momma black bear and cubs spotted in Townsite

A momma black bear and her two cubs, spotted getting near The… Continue reading

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read