The BC Liberals are calling on the NDP government to deliver on their commitment to make sure that every long-term care (LTC) resident in British Columbia be permitted to have at least one essential visitor.
“The NDP government told B.C. families with loved ones in long-term care that they would be guaranteed at least one essential visitor. But weeks later, there is still confusion and inconsistency when it comes to the important connections that vulnerable seniors need,” said Shirley Bond, Interim Leader of the Official Opposition.
“Advocates and families across the province, including Dr. Bonnie Henry, have spoken about the importance of designated visitors as being critical to LTC residents’ mental and physical health. Why have clear guidelines and directions not been put in place to allow seniors to be supported in the best possible way?”
According to BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie, only about 20 per cent of LTC residents have designated essential visitors. A survey from Mackenzie’s office found that some LTC residents said they would have preferred COVID-19 to the isolation they experienced not being able to have visitors, demonstrating the profound impact isolation has had on seniors’ mental health and emotional well-being.
“Many families have struggled throughout the pandemic to obtain essential visitor status and have been unable to visit and care for their loved ones. This government vowed to do better and guaranteed that every resident in long-term care would have one essential visitor,” added Bond.
“There can’t be a patchwork approach, all seniors deserve the same levels of care and support from loved ones. That’s why we continue to call on the Minister of Health to implement this change immediately to ensure the mental well-being of our vulnerable seniors as we continue to fight COVID-19.”