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Long-term Care Homes & Shelters

COVID-19 information and resources for Long-term Care Homes, Retirement Homes and Shelters

Visiting

  • General visitors, including children under age 5, can visit
    • Indoor Visits: Up to 4 visitors (including caregivers) per resident may visit at a time
    • Outdoor Visits: There are no limits on the number of visitors permitted at outdoor visits.
    • Homes should ensure physical distancing (at least 2 metres) between groups
  • Essential Visitors
    • There are no limits on the total number of essential visitors allowed to come into a home at any given time.
    • Essential visitors are the only type of visitors allowed when there is an outbreak in a home or area of a home or when a resident has failed screening, is symptomatic or in isolation.
  • Mask use
  • Screening and testing requirements
  • Screening and testing requirements
  • There are no provincial directives requiring vaccination for visitors. However, visitors should always follow the vaccination policy of the individual long-term care home.

Note: Only essential visitors are allowed during outbreaks or when a resident is in isolation.

Reference:

COVID-19 Guidance Document for Long-Term Care Homes in Ontario

  • General and essential visitors are permitted. All general visits should have the following measures:
    • Homes should ensure equitable visitor access for residents who are not isolating
    • Visits should be booked in advance
    • Visitors should wear a medical mask, maintain physical distancing, and perform hand hygiene
    • Residents should be strongly encouraged to wear a mask for the visit
    • Opening windows should be considered for indoor and in-suite visits
  • Number of visitors
    • Will be based on the capacity of the location where the visit will take place
    • Should allow for sufficient space for physical distancing
  • Screening and testing requirements
  • Vaccination requirements
    • Unvaccinated general and essential visitors are allowed, as long as they pass the screening
    • Only fully vaccinated general visitors may participate in home activities, gatherings, events, and resident dining

Note: Only essential visitors are allowed during outbreaks or when a resident is in isolation.

  • General visitors and Essential visitors are permitted.
  • Screening and testing requirements
    • Active screening must be completed prior to entering
    • COVID-19 testing is not required
  • Additional protocols include:
    • Wearing of masks at all times for indoor visits
    • Visits must be scheduled in advance
    • Outdoor-only visits are encouraged, when possible
    • Facilities must keep a record of visitors and completion of screening
  • It is recommended to contact the facility directly prior to your visit, to confirm the protocols.

Note: this guidance applies to congregate living settings as defined in the COVID-19 Action Plan: Vulnerable People. Adult correctional institutions are not included in this guidance; separate guidance has been created for corrections.

For more information, read the COVID-19 Guidelines for Congregate Living for Vulnerable Populations Version 4, June 10, 2022 and the COVID-19 Guidance for congregate living settings funded and licensed by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.


Directives and Guidance for Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes

As part of the plan to live with and manage COVID-19, effective June 11, 2022, Directives #1, #2.1, #3, #4 and #5, issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health (“CMOH”), are revoked

The following directives and guidance documents must be followed:

Mask Use

  • All staff must wear surgical/procedure masks at all times, indoors and outdoors, regardless of their vaccination status.
  • Staff providing care or interacting with a suspected, probable, or confirmed case of COVID-19 must wear:
    • A fit-tested, seal-checked N95 respirator (or approved equivalent)
    • Eye protection (face shield, safety glasses with side protection or goggles)
    • Gown
    • Gloves
  • General visitors
    • A medical mask is required for the entire duration of indoor visits.
  • Residents
    • Homes are required to have policies regarding masking for residents.
    • There is no requirement for residents to wear a mask inside the home.
    • Homes’ policies must set out that residents are encouraged to wear or be assisted to wear a medical or non-medical mask when receiving direct care from staff, in common areas with other residents (except meal times), and when receiving visitors.
  • Exceptions to the masking requirements:
  • Homes must also have policies for individuals (staff, visitors, or residents) who:
    • Have a medical condition that inhibits their ability to wear a mask
    • Are unable to put on or remove their mask without assistance form another person

Protocols for Shelters, Group Homes, and Co-Living Settings

This guidance applies to congregate living settings as defined in the COVID-19 Action Plan: Vulnerable People and the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Guidance: Congregate Living for Vulnerable Populations document. Adult correctional institutions are not included in this guidance; separate guidance has been created for corrections.

The following directives and guidance documents must be followed:

Mask Use

  • All staff and visitors must wear a mask when indoors. Staff should wear a mask at all times, indoors and outdoors.
  • Residents must wear a mask in common areas if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Medical masks are preferred for staff, residents, and visitors.

Other Public Health Recommendations

  • All staff, volunteers, residents, and visitors should follow routine infection prevention and control practices (e.g. disinfecting surfaces, hand hygiene).
  • Physical distancing of 2 metres should be maintained as much as possible.
  • Wherever possible, employers should work with staff and unions (if applicable) to limit the number of work locations where staff work, in order to minimize risk.
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