Information current

July 10, 2020

We're in Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions. If you have non-medical questions, email covid19info@gov.yk.ca or phone 1-877-374-0425.

For medical questions or if you feel ill, phone 811, or launch the COVID-19 self-assessment tool.

Long-term care visitation guidelines: COVID-19

People over 60 and those with pre-existing conditions are at risk for COVID-19. These guidelines protect the residents and staff of long term care (LTC) homes. They may change based on public health recommendations or orders.

Visitors play a crucial role in the lives of long term care residents. Social connection can happen with little to no risk of virus spread. The best options for these include:

  • letter writing;
  • phone calls;
  • video visits; and
  • window visits.
Contact: 

Find more information on COVID-19. If you have non-medical questions, email covid19info@gov.yk.ca or phone the COVID-19 toll-free InfoLine 1-877-374-0425 between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., 7 days a week.

Summary of instructions for visiting long term care homes
  • General visiting conditions are suspended.
  • A designated essential visitor can visit inside the LTC home if:
    • the resident is near end-of-life or
    • the resident’s essential care needs require the visitor’s help or presence.
  • Outdoor visits at the LTC home need physical distancing.
  • The resident’s designated essential visitor can be present, as well as one other person.
  • If the resident does not have a designated essential visitor, they can have one identified general visitor plus one other person. The total group size should be no more than 3, including the resident.
  • Private vehicle transportation of a resident is permitted. Their designated essential visitor can give them a ride to health appointments.
  • Overnight or extended visits are not recommended.
  • Out of territory visitors are permitted for end-of-life visits if they have self-isolated for 14 days or have approval from Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health or Yukon Communicable Disease Centre.
Designated essential visitors

Each resident can have 2 designated essential visitors.

There are 2 types of designated essential visitors:

  1. End of life essential care visitor; and
  2. Essential care visitor when staff cannot meet a resident’s quality of life or care needs.

For both categories of designated essential visitors the following criteria must be met:

  • designated essential visitor(s) are named by the resident or their substitute decision maker (SDM);
  • a designated essential visitor cannot be under 18 years of age; and
  • the resident care manager must confirm that the designated essential visitor meets criteria.

End-of-life essential care visitor

If a resident will die within the next four weeks:

  • The designated essential visitor may enter the LTC home. The resident care manager can approve up to 5 other people. Only 1 or 2 visitors are in the care home at a time, this includes:
    • the resident’s family;
    • their religious leader(s);
    • a child (under 16 years of age); and
    • their friends.
  • If the approved visitor is a child, the designated essential visitor or the child’s parent or guardian must go with them.
  • A resident can have up to 2 visitors in their bedroom at the same time if physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) can be maintained.

Essential care visitor

An essential care visitor may also be named. If the resident’s quality of life or care needs cannot be met without help, they may need an essential care visitor.

These reasons include:

  • Staff cannot meet a resident's identified needs (for example, in their care plan). The resident care manager approves requests. Often this is done when there is an identified need that can only be met by the visitor. This could include services for someone with cognitive impairment or dementia. If they do not understand the current COVID-19 orders, they may need an essential care visitor. Also, where the person’s quality of care and life are supported by the involvement of the visitor, it can be allowed.
  • A temporary replacement can be designated if the original essential visitor is unable to visit.
  • The designated essential visitor is not intended to change regularly or many times. This is only to enable a replacement when unforeseen circumstances occur.

Those who meet the above criteria will not be restricted. However, resident and care home circumstances may not allow for all desired visits.

If there is a disagreement on permitted visitors, the designated essential visitor should discuss the situation with the resident care manager. If the situation cannot be resolved, then the director of the area should be contacted.

If there are several essential visitors in one area of a care home, the resident care manager can create an approach to support resident care needs. This can be done while creating safe visitation that complies with public health recommendations. This may mean staggering visits, phasing visits, or other creative approaches.

Identified general visitor

Each resident can have 2 identified general visitors if they don't already have a designated essential visitor.

A general visitor is a visitor who has been named by the resident or substitute decision maker (SDM). There is no requirement that they provide for a specific need within the resident’s care plan.

Criteria for indoor visiting by designated essential visitors

At each visit, the visitor must:

  • sign in;
  • undergo a COVID-19 screening questionnaire and temperature check;
  • wear a medical mask continuously throughout their time in the care home. Instructions will be provided on how to put on and take off masks with proper hand hygiene before and after;
  • remain in the resident’s room for the duration of the visit. Assisting with quality of life or care activities (for example, meal time) or supporting an outdoor visit are the only exceptions;
  • not visit with any other residents;
  • wear any other personal protective equipment (PPE), as may be required; and
  • perform hand hygiene (including hand washing or use of hand sanitizer) on entry or exit from the building and entry or exit from rooms.
Outdoor visits

Residents who are not required to isolate may spend time outdoors. Physical distancing is still needed.

Outdoor visits can include:

  • the designated essential visitor;
  • identified general visitor; or
  • one other person. The total group size should be 3, including the resident.

Other notes:

  • There is no age restriction for the other person (i.e. minors are permitted).
  • Arrangements for the outside visit should be made. This can be done by the resident, designated essential visitor or identified general visitor with the care home.
  • Arrangements should include scheduling, frequency, feasibility, weather appropriate clothing, etc.
  • Outdoor visits from residents can only be accommodated if physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Outdoor visitors must wear a mask during the visit.
  • Everyone must follow appropriate physical distancing requirements, as appropriate. For example, considerations for pushing a wheelchair or being hard of hearing should be accommodated.
  • Any type of mask that meets Health Canada’s recommendations for non-medical face masks are permitted.
  • Visitors must remain outdoors at all times after initial screening. The only exception is the designated essential visitor.
  • Upon re-entry, residents and any essential visitor must immediately wash their hands.
Overnight or extended visits

Residents may visit family or friends for overnight, or for several night, stays. The decision for a resident to go on an extended visit is often made as a group. The resident, the family or friend they will be staying with and members of the care team work together. This ensures that medications or other resources are organized to support the visit. Under normal conditions, the resident does not need ‘permission’ from the care home. Currently, it is not recommended that residents go on these visits due to the increased risk.

Out-of-territory visitors

If a visitor has not completed a 14-day self-isolation, approval for the visit needs to be obtained. This approval can come from Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health or Yukon Communicable Disease Centre before the visit.

Pets

Continuing Care’s existing pet visitation policy is in effect. Pets are welcome to visit residents both inside and outside the care home. They may visit under the following conditions:

  • Pets from a home of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 are not permitted. If they are waiting for COVID-19 test results, those pets are also not permitted.
  • Pets are accompanied at all times by the pet owner/handler and do not interact with other residents.
  • Pets cannot stay overnight.
  • Pets should be leashed or contained in a kennel when in public areas.
  • Pets are clean, without open sores.
  • Pets have up-to-date vaccinations.
  • Pets are well behaved.
  • Pet owners/handlers must clean up pet feces and urine. If items such as bedding are soiled, inform staff.
  • Pets are not permitted in food preparation areas, or in dining areas during meal times.
  • Ensure the resident practices hand hygiene after the pet visit.
  •  

  • General visiting conditions are suspended.
  • A designated essential visitor can visit inside the LTC home if:
    • the resident is near end-of-life or
    • the resident’s essential care needs require the visitor’s help or presence.
  • Outdoor visits at the LTC home need physical distancing.
  • The resident’s designated essential visitor can be present, as well as one other person.
  • If the resident does not have a designated essential visitor, they can have one identified general visitor plus one other person. The total group size should be no more than 3, including the resident.
  • Private vehicle transportation of a resident is permitted. Their designated essential visitor can give them a ride to health appointments.
  • Overnight or extended visits are not recommended.
  • Out of territory visitors are permitted for end-of-life visits if they have self-isolated for 14 days or have approval from Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health or Yukon Communicable Disease Centre.

Each resident can have 2 designated essential visitors.

There are 2 types of designated essential visitors:

  1. End of life essential care visitor; and
  2. Essential care visitor when staff cannot meet a resident’s quality of life or care needs.

For both categories of designated essential visitors the following criteria must be met:

  • designated essential visitor(s) are named by the resident or their substitute decision maker (SDM);
  • a designated essential visitor cannot be under 18 years of age; and
  • the resident care manager must confirm that the designated essential visitor meets criteria.

End-of-life essential care visitor

If a resident will die within the next four weeks:

  • The designated essential visitor may enter the LTC home. The resident care manager can approve up to 5 other people. Only 1 or 2 visitors are in the care home at a time, this includes:
    • the resident’s family;
    • their religious leader(s);
    • a child (under 16 years of age); and
    • their friends.
  • If the approved visitor is a child, the designated essential visitor or the child’s parent or guardian must go with them.
  • A resident can have up to 2 visitors in their bedroom at the same time if physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) can be maintained.

Essential care visitor

An essential care visitor may also be named. If the resident’s quality of life or care needs cannot be met without help, they may need an essential care visitor.

These reasons include:

  • Staff cannot meet a resident's identified needs (for example, in their care plan). The resident care manager approves requests. Often this is done when there is an identified need that can only be met by the visitor. This could include services for someone with cognitive impairment or dementia. If they do not understand the current COVID-19 orders, they may need an essential care visitor. Also, where the person’s quality of care and life are supported by the involvement of the visitor, it can be allowed.
  • A temporary replacement can be designated if the original essential visitor is unable to visit.
  • The designated essential visitor is not intended to change regularly or many times. This is only to enable a replacement when unforeseen circumstances occur.

Those who meet the above criteria will not be restricted. However, resident and care home circumstances may not allow for all desired visits.

If there is a disagreement on permitted visitors, the designated essential visitor should discuss the situation with the resident care manager. If the situation cannot be resolved, then the director of the area should be contacted.

If there are several essential visitors in one area of a care home, the resident care manager can create an approach to support resident care needs. This can be done while creating safe visitation that complies with public health recommendations. This may mean staggering visits, phasing visits, or other creative approaches.

Each resident can have 2 identified general visitors if they don't already have a designated essential visitor.

A general visitor is a visitor who has been named by the resident or substitute decision maker (SDM). There is no requirement that they provide for a specific need within the resident’s care plan.

At each visit, the visitor must:

  • sign in;
  • undergo a COVID-19 screening questionnaire and temperature check;
  • wear a medical mask continuously throughout their time in the care home. Instructions will be provided on how to put on and take off masks with proper hand hygiene before and after;
  • remain in the resident’s room for the duration of the visit. Assisting with quality of life or care activities (for example, meal time) or supporting an outdoor visit are the only exceptions;
  • not visit with any other residents;
  • wear any other personal protective equipment (PPE), as may be required; and
  • perform hand hygiene (including hand washing or use of hand sanitizer) on entry or exit from the building and entry or exit from rooms.

Residents who are not required to isolate may spend time outdoors. Physical distancing is still needed.

Outdoor visits can include:

  • the designated essential visitor;
  • identified general visitor; or
  • one other person. The total group size should be 3, including the resident.

Other notes:

  • There is no age restriction for the other person (i.e. minors are permitted).
  • Arrangements for the outside visit should be made. This can be done by the resident, designated essential visitor or identified general visitor with the care home.
  • Arrangements should include scheduling, frequency, feasibility, weather appropriate clothing, etc.
  • Outdoor visits from residents can only be accommodated if physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Outdoor visitors must wear a mask during the visit.
  • Everyone must follow appropriate physical distancing requirements, as appropriate. For example, considerations for pushing a wheelchair or being hard of hearing should be accommodated.
  • Any type of mask that meets Health Canada’s recommendations for non-medical face masks are permitted.
  • Visitors must remain outdoors at all times after initial screening. The only exception is the designated essential visitor.
  • Upon re-entry, residents and any essential visitor must immediately wash their hands.

Residents may visit family or friends for overnight, or for several night, stays. The decision for a resident to go on an extended visit is often made as a group. The resident, the family or friend they will be staying with and members of the care team work together. This ensures that medications or other resources are organized to support the visit. Under normal conditions, the resident does not need ‘permission’ from the care home. Currently, it is not recommended that residents go on these visits due to the increased risk.

If a visitor has not completed a 14-day self-isolation, approval for the visit needs to be obtained. This approval can come from Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health or Yukon Communicable Disease Centre before the visit.

Continuing Care’s existing pet visitation policy is in effect. Pets are welcome to visit residents both inside and outside the care home. They may visit under the following conditions:

  • Pets from a home of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 are not permitted. If they are waiting for COVID-19 test results, those pets are also not permitted.
  • Pets are accompanied at all times by the pet owner/handler and do not interact with other residents.
  • Pets cannot stay overnight.
  • Pets should be leashed or contained in a kennel when in public areas.
  • Pets are clean, without open sores.
  • Pets have up-to-date vaccinations.
  • Pets are well behaved.
  • Pet owners/handlers must clean up pet feces and urine. If items such as bedding are soiled, inform staff.
  • Pets are not permitted in food preparation areas, or in dining areas during meal times.
  • Ensure the resident practices hand hygiene after the pet visit.
  •