Changes coming to visiting rules for B.C. seniors in care
VANCOUVER -- There is hope for B.C. families desperate to see loved ones living in long-term care homes.
The province's top doctor and the health minister say changes to pandemic visiting rules are coming.
“This has been top of mind for many, many months,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said when questioned by CTV News Thursday.
“Now that we are well along the road of hiring additional staff to support long-term care homes ... we have sufficient stores of personal protective equipment, we will be in the coming weeks making some adjustments to support families and people who are living in care."
Health Minister Adrian Dix added that his government is "committed to making every effort to increase the amount of visitation that takes place, understanding that the risk in long-term care continues to exist.”
He said the province will report next week on new hirings in long-term care, saying the supports are necessary to expand visitation.
“It’s an extraordinary effort,” he explained.
But for some families, the wait has been too long.
Jeanette Harper brought her 89-year-old mom Margeurite to live with her temporarily last week.
“I don’t think most people know they can take their loved one out for a few days, a week, a couple weeks, or 90 days,” Jeanette said from her Nanaimo home.
“They guarantee to hold the bed for you. You continue to pay what you would pay in the care home. You have no supports from community health outside.”
Her mom will also need to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to the care facility.
It’s been a lot of work, but Jeanette said it’s something she needed to do.
“Thirty minutes once a week just wasn't enough to visit my mother,” she said.
Her mom is only staying with her for two weeks, but it's given Margeurite, who has Alzheimer’s, the chance to do things like read stories to her great-grandson and meet her great granddaughter for the first time.
In Victoria, Brenda Brophy said that after seeing the dramatic deterioration in her 100-year-old mom, Dot, she permanently moved her out of the care facility about five weeks ago.
“She’s coming back to me…she’s coming back to me in ways more than what I could have even hoped for,” said Brophy who said the visiting restrictions for seniors have been too severe.
“It seems like we’re saying in order to save them from any risk of COVID, we’ll take everything else. Their quality of life. We’re OK if they decline and die early, as long as it’s not from COVID," Brophy said.
“When the history books are written on this, I don’t believe it’s going to say we did the right thing by our seniors in care.”