BC’s long term care homes and assisted living facilities are busy making preparations to once again allow family members to visit.

Before they can allow people in each facility must have an approved plan in place.

Mike Old, the Co-ordinator of Planning with the Hospital Employees Union says people will need to be patient as they wait to learn when they can visit loved ones.

“For the larger care homes it will be a bit more complicated, there’s going to be a lot of scheduling that has to take place in order to ensure that all residents can receive visitors.”

Old is confident that everyone in the facilities is working as hard as possible to ensure family members can once again visit.

“Nobody understands more than our members who work in care facilities how important it is that residents have an opportunity to visit with their loved ones.”

However, he also says, “We also understand that the stakes are extremely high.”

Old says they don’t want to give up any of the progress that they have made.

He says the province is making sure extra staff is available to manage visitors and that care home employees can only work at a single site.

The HEU says it will hold facility operators to account for abiding by new requirements to ensure safe conditions for residents and staff.

Facilities can receive visitors once they have submitted clear plans on how they will meet the new requirements.

Residents will be allowed to have one visitor per resident in designated indoor or outdoor locations. Visitors will be screened and required to bring and wear masks.

Under the plan, the province will fund more than 2,000 additional staff  – up to three per site – to help ensure infection control measures are followed, including screening, and to help schedule and orient visitors.

It’s expected the new visitation policy will be reviewed monthly.