Saskatchewan expands guidelines for visiting residents in care home facilities

The Chief Medical Health Officer’s public health order will be amended to expand visitation guidelines to facilities including acute and long-term care, personal care and group home settings starting on Tuesday, July 7.

This standard will be applied across all settings to ensure clarity for patients and residents, family and friends, and the health care staff to ensure that family and support presence can occur in a safe manner as the COVID-19 pandemic event continues.

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“We made several changes early in the pandemic event in order to protect our most at-risk populations, including visitation restrictions, staff and visitor health checks at point of entry, and continuous masking in health care settings,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said.

“As we see more of our economy re-opening and additional health services resuming, we will take the same careful, safe approach to expanding family presence guidelines and ensuring that our loved ones in care continue to be protected remains our number one priority, while supporting the mental and emotional well-being of those in care.”

Starting July 7:

• Two family members or support persons can be identified to support patients and residents.

• Only one family member or support person can be present in the facility at a time.

• Two people can be present at one time if physical distancing can be maintained for critical care/intensive care patients; end of life/palliative care patients or residents; maternal Services Units (Maternal and Postpartum Units, Neonatal Intensive Care Units, Pediatric Intensive Care Units, Pediatric Units).

Family members and support persons must follow safety requirements, including the wearing of a medical grade mask, physical distancing, hand hygiene, limited movement within a facility or home according to current public health orders.

Additional family members or support persons may be identified for end-of-life, palliative and intensive/critical care, as outlined in the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) Family Presence Guidelines.

They can be found online at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/public-health-measures/guidance-for-health-care-facilities.

These guidelines will apply to patients, outpatients, clients and residents in SHA facilities, long-term care homes and affiliate organizations, personal care homes, and Ministry of Social Services Group Homes. Settings that require additional time to ensure adequate supplies of PPE, appropriate and safe visitation spaces, and health screening of visitors may take until July 13 to fully implement the new guidelines.

Before planning any visitation to a care or group home, call ahead to determine the requirements of that facility as they may require a scheduled appointment.