There are a whole bunch of people that have had their rights and freedoms tremendously impacted by the Covid pandemic in Canada. Those are people with disabilities and seniors that are in assisted living and long term care homes. Activist Paul Caune has drawn attention to this issue, and shared the stories of people whose quality of life and opportunity to have even the most basic interaction with caregivers, families and friends cut off due to facility precautions over the Covid pandemic.
Journalist Daphne Bramham has written about issues for residents in George Pearson Centre that were evident even before the Covid epidemic. There have been stories written about people not able to be with their parents when they were dying in care homes, and people in assisted living who relied on families for their basic care who have been shut out.
No one imagined that a pandemic would force the closure of these care facilities in such a way that many residents became prisoners and confined to their facilities or to their rooms during the pandemic.
In June in British Columbia care facilities were asked to submit plans to the Province to allow one visitor at a time per resident for one half hour behind plexiglass or outdoors. Each facility has a different management plan, and family members cannot touch or assist the resident in any way.
I have written about Ontario deciding that family, comfort and care was important to facility residents. They realized that facility operators had been inconsistent in providing clear policy on visits by caregivers (including families). Ontario is now allowing two designated caregivers to visit at any time including during a covid outbreak subject to “direction from the local public health unit”.
“If a home is not in outbreak, and the resident is not self-isolating or symptomatic, caregivers can visit together. If a home is in outbreak, or the resident is self-isolating or symptomatic, they must visit one at a time to limit risk of transmission and follow direction from the local public health unit.” The caregivers do wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) when visiting the resident.
In British Columbia the Seniors’ Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie is now releasing a report and the results of a survey about visitor restrictions to long-term care and assisted living homes. Called Staying Apart to Stay Safe the report is scheduled for release on Tuesday November 3 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.