VANCOUVER — It’s been a long time since Brenda Howard has been able to visit her 96-year-old mom at her care home without wearing a mask.
But starting on Monday, families will be allowed to visit loved ones in B.C.’s care homes without strict scheduling and time limits, and with more relaxed mask rules.
“She diminished over lock down of (the) 16 or 17 months that we weren’t allowed inside. She lost almost 35 pounds, she lost her mobility,” said Howard. “The cognitive decline was severe from lack of stimulation.”
This week’s change marks the third time since the start of the pandemic that visiting rules in B.C. have been eased.
“We’re overjoyed to be back inside and we’re overjoyed to be such a big part of her care plan now,” she said. “(The new rules) give us free access to our loved ones which is what these seniors have the right to. We don’t have to make an appointment.”
Greeters will remain at the front doors to check visitors in, and to make sure they are fully vaccinated, and have proof of it. Visitors will have to wear masks while walking through all common areas, but can remove them once in their loved one’s room.
Seniors advocates say the new rules are a step in the right direction, but there are some peculiarities.
“We know some people are still being asked to wear masks even though they’ve been doubly vaccinated and we know that some staff are not,” said Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of Canage, a seniors advocacy organization.