Families given limited access to seniors at long-term care but only outside

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Family members visit a resident at Lambton Meadowview Villa through a window in mid-March. Seniors will now be able to have two caregivers at their bedside - usually family members.

Starting next week, families will be allowed to spend time with their loved ones in long term care.

But the province is strictly limiting access and in long term care, and all visits will be outside, at least for now.

Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday family and friends will be allowed to visit people living in long term care a minimum of once a week and only outdoors. The visitor will have to have a COVID-19 test to prove they are negative, wear a mask and keep two meters from the family member. The guidelines say the visits may not be less than 30 minutes.

Families will have to sign up for the visiting times and a staff member will have to bring the resident outdoors.

There will be no visits inside long term care homes when there is a COVID-19 outbreak.

And the protocols say families will not be able to come into long term care buildings until one week after the province lifts the Emergency Act Measures. Right now, they are extended to the end of June. One essential caregiver will be allowed inside and up to two people will be allowed scheduled outside visits. All visits will be scheduled and homes have to provide a minimum of one visit per week.

Visiting at retirement homes will be less complicated. The homes can determine how many visitors are allowed per day. Visiting would be permitted inside and outside and physical distancing has to be maintained only “if appropriate.”

Retirement home residents may also go on day-outings with visitors.

Homes have to provide time for at least “one meaningful visit” each week.

In other residential care settings, will be able to allow outdoor visits of two people at time.