Now that B.C.’s scarce supply of COVID-19 vaccine has reached all of B.C.’s senior care homes, the opposition leader is calling for better family access to social visits for elderly people who have been locked down for a year.
B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond wrote to Health Minister Adrian Dix Thursday, advising him that confusion and inconsistency is still a problem in visitation policies, months after they were identified in an internal consultant report in October.
“We continue to hear stories of confusion across the province, where we have seen discrepancies, even between care homes in the same health authority, where people are unclear about what the rules are, who gets to visit, that kind of detail,” Bond told Black Press Media Feb. 4. “We’re not at all suggesting that we want to put the residents of long-term care at risk of people transmitting the virus by visiting, but there does need to be clarity.”
The issue was raised last year by B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie, with a survey of residents that identified more were concerned about dying of loneliness than COVID-19. “Facing a year or more before life gets back to normal is ‘sobering’ for long-term care residents, many of whom are in the last year or 18 months of their lives,” Mackenzie is quoted saying in the letter.
Bond said standardized guidelines are needed, and there have been “hints” that Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will address the situation on Friday when they update the current public health orders and advice.