Note: Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes should contact their infectious disease representative at Lambton Public Health with any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 or other infectious diseases.
Visiting Long-Term care homes, retirement homes, and other residential settings
The Ontario government has announced the gradual resumption of visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other residential care settings, beginning June 18, 2020
- Long-term care homes will allow outdoor visits of one person per resident each week at a minimum.
- Retirement homes will resume indoor and outdoor visits in designated areas or resident suites when physical distancing can be maintained.
- Other residential care settings will be able to allow outdoor visits of two people at time.
Homes must meet the following conditions before they welcome visitors:
- Must not be in outbreak
- Have an established process for communicating visitor protocol and the associated safety procedures
- Maintain the highest infection prevention and control standards
Visits will be subject to strict health and safety protocols, including:
- Active screening of visitors at every visit
- Visitors must be tested for COVID-19 within the last two weeks and must confirm negative result prior to visit
- Visitors must comply with infection prevention and control protocols (i.e. wearing a face covering during visits)
- For retirement homes, visitor admissions may vary from home to home depending upon their individual circumstances
- Physical distancing will be required for all visits
- In the event of an outbreak, non-essential visits will be restricted again
- If a second wave of COVID-19 occurs, the government will restrict visitors at all homes and residential care settings
If you have a loved one you want to visit in either a long term care or retirement home, it is important that you contact the facility in advance to arrange your visit in accordance with their policies and protocols. Everyone is asked to be cautious and act responsibly, COVID-19 is not over and risk still remains.
More detailed resources for resuming visits specific to each setting can be found bellow:
Ontario Ministry of Health COVID-19 Guidance Documents for Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes
The Ontario Ministry of Health COVID-19 Action Plan for Protecting Long-Term Care Homes
This action plan consolidates measures taken to date, beginning in February 2020. The plan adds aggressive new measures to prevent further outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 in our long-term care homes.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The following videos provide a refresher on the correct procedures for donning (putting on) and doffing (removing) PPE to minimize the risk of infection:
Public Health Ontario has also outlined the recommended steps for putting on and taking off PPE.
Public Health Ontario has developed guidelines for universal mask use in healthcare settings.
Provincial Emergency Orders
A provincial emergency order has been placed under the Work Deployment Measures in Long-Term Care Homes Act. Health providers are able to take necessary measures outlined in the document to respond to and prevent COVID-19.
A provincial emergency order has been issued that limits the number of locations in which Long-Term Care and Retirement Home employees may work. Beginning April 22, 2020 employees will no longer be permitted to work in more than one Long-Term Care Home and/or Retirement Home until further notice.
COVID-19 Considerations for Long Term Care and Retirement Homes Webinar
Public Health Ontario recorded a webinar on April 15th to address considerations for COVID-19 in Long Term Care and Retirement Homes. Infection prevention and control recommendations as well as public health outbreak guidance are discussed in the webinar.
Hospital to Long-Term Care and Retirement Home Memo
A memo was sent to the long-term care sector on April 15th to advise that Ontario hospitals have been asked to temporarily discontinue transferring patients to long-term care and retirement homes.