Long-term care homes during COVID-19
Many people have questions about long-term care homes during this stressful and challenging time. Here are the most recent updates:
- In accordance with the Order of the Provincial Health Officer and Ministry of Health policy, visitors to long-term care must:
- Be screened for signs and symptoms of illness prior to each visit
- Wear a medical-grade mask at all times
- Show proof that they are fully vaccinated with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (excluding children under the age of 12 or those with an approved medical exemption and compassionate visits related to end of life)
- Undergo rapid point-of-care testing for COVID-19 for all visitors to LTC homes over the age of 12
- Visitors (social and essential) who wish to request a reconsideration (medical exemption) to the COVID-19 vaccine need to follow the same process as health-care workers and staff. Please see the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements- Guidelines for Request for Reconsideration (Exemption) Process for more information.
- COVID-19 outbreak in this facility poster (PDF) - BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and BC Ministry of Health
- COVID-19 outbreak management protocol for long-term care and seniors' assisted living settings (PDF) - BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and BC Ministry of Health
- Visiting guidelines for seniors' assisted living (PDF) - BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and BC Ministry of Health
- Visiting guidelines for long-term care (PDF) - BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and BC Ministry of Health
- Updates for residents and families in long-term care homes and assisted living facilities (PDF) - Northern Health
- Acute care visitor policy overview (PDF) - Northern Health
- Respiratory season strategy (PDF) - Northern Health
Long-term care homes provide 24-hour professional care and supervision in a protective, supportive environment for people who have complex care needs and can no longer be cared for in their own homes.
The Residents’ Bill of Rights serves as the foundation for all aspects of our care and operations. Northern Health and each of our staff members are committed to protecting individuals’ rights. As a team, we recognize that every resident is entitled to individualized, quality person-centered care.
All Northern Health owned and operated care homes provide:
- Standard accommodation
- Medication assistance
- Free prescription medication if covered by Pharmacare/PlanB
- Help with daily activities (such as bathing, dressing or grooming)
- Planned programs for social and recreational activities
- 24-hour care from nurses, personal care assistants and other supports
- Routine laundry services (e.g., bed linens, towels, clothing)
- General hygiene and medical supplies (e.g., oral care products, incontinence supplies)
- Basic wheelchairs including basic cleaning and maintenance
- End-of-life and palliative care services including assessment and provision of MaiD services (Medical Assistance in Dying)
- Client centered care planning that involve the client/substitute decision maker and family
Deciding to move into a long-term care home
When health care needs become more complex, a person can move to a care home that provides a higher level of care than is possible to provide at home. Home health professionals are responsible for helping to determine whether it’s the right time to move to a long-term care home. This decision is supported by a comprehensive assessment and exploration of all care options. For more information contact your local Home Health/Community Services Office.
Choosing the right care home
If moving into a care home is the best choice, the individual can choose up to three preferred homes, anywhere in the province, as long as those homes can meet their needs.
To find out specific information on a particular care home see our long-term care home locations. An offer of an interim care home may happen while waiting for your preferred care home. A home health professional will explain the options to help the individual make their decision.
Northern Health long-term care homes strives to adhere to a person and family centred care model. It is a partnership between the person we serve in health care system, their family and their care providers. DementiAbility is a program that embodies these qualities. NH has developed a learning module to educate community members on how these person and family centred care principles are applied to a person with dementia.
You will need to sign up first for a free public learning hub account before you can take the DementiAbility Learning Module.
The cost for the long-term care home services are all included in the income based monthly charge, determined at the time of wait listing, and reviewed annually. The monthly cost for publicly subsidized long-term care is based on 80% of after tax income, with set minimum and maximum rates. The rate schedule is determined by the province. There are some services that may have an additional charge.
For more detailed information see the Long-term Care Home Resident and Family Handbook.
Short term stay options
Long-term care homes also offer short term stays to provide a period of rest or relief to primary caregivers, or to provide specialized services not readily provided in the home. An individual must have a referral from the family doctor or nurse practitioner, and an assessment by a Community Services professional, to access these services. Short-term stays in long-term care homes are generally for respite care, convalescent care or hospice or palliative care.
Respite care can give the caregiver temporary relief from the emotional and physical demands of caring for a friend or family member. Respite may take the form of a service in the individuals home, or admission, on a short term basis, to a long-term facility, hospice or other community setting. Your case manager will work with you and your family to determine your needs and eligibility. Respite care is done only in facilities where there are respite beds.
Convalescent care is a short term care service primarily for older adults with a chronic illness who require more time to recover following a stay in the hospital, before returning home. During your stay, our staff will assist you to regain your strength and mobility so you can safely carry out your activities of daily living.
Palliative or hospice care in a long-term care setting provides care and comfort for clients who are at the end stages of life. Short stay admissions are for control of symptoms such as pain or nausea, transition from hospital to home and for caregiver rest. Not all facilities do short stay admissions, it depends on availability in the facility.
For more information
- Associated costs
- Bringing food to family: A visitors guide (PDF) - Northern Health
- Community care licensing
- Eligibility, referral and applications for services
- Home and community care services in BC - BC Ministry of Health
- Home Health / Community Services offices (PDF) - Northern Health
- Long-term care homes near you
- Long-term care home resident and family handbook (PDF) - Northern Health
- Long-term residential care - Government of BC