Ontario Further Eases Long-Term Care Home Restrictions
OAKVILLE NORTH-BURLINGTON — In line with the move to Step Two of the government’s Roadmap to Reopen, Ontario is making additional changes to enhance long-term care home residents’ quality of life. The changes will take effect Wednesday, July 7, 2021.
“As we cautiously and safely reopen the province, no one deserves to enjoy the reopening more than long-term care residents, their families and the staff,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care. “As we head into summer, long-term care residents will be able to spend more time with their friends and families thanks to the efforts of people across Ontario rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated.”
Working with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and based on feedback from residents, their families, and other partners, the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s website and guidance document have been updated to set out the following:
- Residents can have outdoor visits of up to 10 people.
- All residents may have up to two general visitors and two caregivers for an indoor visit.
- Personal care services can resume.
- Cohorting of residents can be relaxed during outdoor activities.
As well, there is no longer a limit on the number of people who can be designated as a caregiver by a resident or their substitute decision-maker.
A further easing of restrictions is planned to align with the timing of Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen. These changes are expected to include:
- Removing the limits on the number of visitors to the homes
- Permitting buffet and family style dinning
- Providing that all residents will be able to go on absences regardless of immunization status
- Resumption of off-site excursions for residents
- Resumption of activities such as singing and dancing
The province continues to actively monitor COVID-19 activity, particularly in this vulnerable sector. The health and safety of residents and staff and all others who attend homes, including their mental and emotional wellbeing, remains our top priority.
Quote from Effie Triantafilopoulos MPP
“As Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Long Term Care, I’m pleased that long-term care residents will now be able to have unlimited numbers of family and friends visiting, including being able to dine together, and enjoy singing, and dancing. Since 99% of residents and 84% of staff have been fully vaccinated and more and more of the community is vaccinated, residents can spend quality time with loved ones and doing the things that make life more joyful.”
- Caregivers are essential visitors, designated by a resident or their substitute decision maker, who provide direct care to residents, such as helping with feeding, mobility, hygiene or cognitive stimulation.
- Other recent updates since the initial release of the Roadmap to Reopen include:
- Close physical contact is now permitted between fully immunized residents and fully immunized general visitors and brief hugs are permitted for all visitors and residents regardless of vaccination status.
- Short-term and temporary absences are permitted for fully immunized residents.
- All Ontarians, including all staff, visitors, and residents in long-term care homes, must continue to follow public health measures including masking, physical distancing (with specified exceptions), hand hygiene, and staying at home when they are sick. While COVID-19 immunizations have been demonstrated to be very effective, it is important for Ontarians to not let their guard down during this crucial period in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Given their age and underlying medical conditions, long-term care residents remain at higher risk when it comes to the impact of COVID-19 compared to the general population.
- As of June 28, 2021, it is estimated that, across Ontario, virtually all long-term care residents are fully immunized and 92 per cent of staff have received at least their first dose, with approximately 84 per cent having two doses.
Media Contact: David Lancaster, Executive Assistant