Learn more about COVID-19 in Saskatchewan:

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Care Home Visitor Guidelines

Update to Care Home Visitor Guidelines – Long-term Care and Personal Care Homes

Effective May 30th, residents in Saskatchewan care homes are able to safely see more family members and visitors
These guidelines apply to long-term care homes and personal care homes. Acute care facilities are not included in these guidelines, unless expressly stated for individual acute care sites, within SHA service alerts.  

Beginning Sunday, May 30, all residents of long-term care and personal care homes can welcome an unlimited number of visitors, two at a time, indoors. Up to four family members or support persons at a time are able to visit outdoors. This move aligns with the three steps of Saskatchewan's Re-opening Roadmap. 

The decision to restrict visitor/family presence is not taken lightly. These measures are in place to keep you, your loved ones and health care workers safe. Your support and cooperation will help contain the spread of the virus.

  • Two family members or support persons at a time can visit residents indoors.
  • Up to four family members or support persons at a time can visit outdoors.
  • Family and support persons visiting care homes must continue to follow public health guidelines on masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, temperature screening, and may be offered a rapid antigen test.

Please note that local Medical Health Officers will have discretion to re-introduce or maintain restrictions, depending on local circumstances (e.g. community transmission, cases within a home, etc.). It's recommended you call the home before planning your visit.

More information can be found in the SHA Family Presence Guidelines.

All community, foundation and other public and spiritual gatherings within any SHA-operated facility remain on hold until further notice. Services provided by community volunteers who are 65 years of age or older, in non-essential service areas, are also suspended.

We recognize how difficult this time is for patients and families. The decision to continue to limit visitation is guided by the need to protect our patients and health care teams during COVID-19.

Family members and support people who are identified must undergo a health screening prior to entering the facility. This may include a temperature check and questionnaire. The visitor will be required to perform hand hygiene (hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizer) when entering and leaving the facility and when entering and leaving the patient's room. Visitors will also be required to wear a medical grade mask, if tolerated while inside the facility and potentially additional personal protective equipment if required. Visitors are not permitted to wait in waiting rooms or other common areas.

NOTE: Patients and residents should NOT leave the care facility to visit family or friends or for any other reason unless this is an established outdoor visit. Patient day passes, essential appointments and access to healing centres will be determined in consultation with the care team.

Personal Items

Food and beverages can be delivered to or brought into SHA facilities. The following guidelines need to be followed:

  • Food, beverage and other items are individually packaged in a container which can be wiped down with disinfectant wipes upon entry into the facility;
  • Perform hand hygiene;
  • Make every effort to practice physical distancing when eating (maintain distance of 2 metres); and,
  • Food made in a residential kitchen can be accepted if brought in a container that can easily be wiped down with disinfectant wipes upon entry into the facility/home.

A designated support person or family member can be identified to accompany a certified service animal if needed.

Delivery – Delivery in the form of flowers from a florist or dry paper (i.e. letters, photos, art work) is permitted in LTC homes and acute care sites. In some acute care settings, such as Intensive Care Units (ICU), floral arrangements are not permitted due to possible pollen or plant allergens. Families will be asked to consult with managers or staff prior to placing orders for the delivery of any purchased floral arrangements and to follow existing scent-free policies. Please note that dry paper goods will be held for 24 hours before delivery to patients/clients/residents.

Virtual Visiting

Until we are able to safely return to open family presence in our health care facilities, we encourage you to consider other ways to stay connected with your family members or friends in our hospitals and long-term care facilities, such as phone calls or online means of communication. We encourage families to consider virtual visiting through electronic applications such as FaceTime, Skype and WhatsApp. We are asking families and visitors for their co-operation in following these restrictions.

When Restrictions to Family Presence are Needed:

There may be situations in which Family Presence will need to be temporarily restricted as outline in SHA's family presence policy. These restrictions may occur because of an outbreak at the facility/home or due to a change in the community spread/epidemiology of COVID-19 as decided by the local Medical Health Officer.

During these times, compassionate care reasons may include, but are not limited to, family or support persons during end-of-life care, major surgery, intensive care/critical care, maternal/pediatrics, or a care partner aiding in clinical care (at the discretion of the patient's care provider). Please refer to the SHA's Familiy Presence During a Pandemic Policy for more information.

Understanding that it is difficult for families to have loved ones in hospital or other care areas, we are working to support families with virtual visitation options, including making phones available in hospitals and iPads more accessible to long-term care residents to assist with virtual visiting.

Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.

Guidance on Mitigating Measures for COVID-19 for Food Service in Care Facilities (including Long-Term and Seniors' Care)

Best Practice Guidance for Food Service Long-Term Care and Seniors’ Facilities on Mitigating Measures for COVID-19
Location Category Requirements
Dining Room
(only when approved by
Public Health Officials)
Entrance and Screening
  • Encourage proper hand hygiene is to be followed prior to entering the dining room.
    • Hand sanitizer (with DIN or NPN) shall be made available prior to entering the dining room, or if necessary, dispensed by staff to incoming residents (depending on expected compliance of residents).
  • Screening of residents for symptoms of COVID19 prior entering the dining room shall be implemented. Any cases or symptomatic residents must stay in rooms and receive tray service.
  • Promote good respiratory hygiene (cover all coughs and sneezes)
Physical Distancing
  • No guests allowed in the dining room. Visitors are allowed in the facility if they meet the requirements related to compassionate reasons, and the COVID screening checklist.
  • Physical distancing of 3 meters should be applied between residents.  People should maintain 3 meter distance from others except when seated as below:
    • Diners sharing a residence may share a table and be within 3 meters of each other. 
    • Consider allowing healthy residents to have a “buddy or buddies” for meal times in dining room where applicable, who may be within 3 meters of each other. This pair/group would be set for the duration of the mitigation measures and cannot be changed. It allows people to have a dining partner and some socialization.
  • Persons per room is limited to the number where physical distancing, as described above, can be maintained.
    • If dining occurs in more than one shift, persons in each shift cohort should remain consistent.
    • If dividers are used consideration shall be given as to how they can be properly cleaned and disinfected after each meal sitting. Additional consideration should be given to ensure divider are not interfering with airflow or posing a hazard to residents and staff.
  • Measures are to be implemented to ensure residents:
    • Go directly to their table and don't congregate in the entrance area, and
    • Encourage residents to limit interactions with persons outside of their dining group. Minimize loitering. 
Food Service
  • All communal food (fruit bowl, snacks, coffee, etc.) shall be removed from self-serve unless served by staff only.
  • Commonly touched items should be removed from tables (e.g. salt and pepper, napkins, vases, etc.).
    • Single-service packets of condiments can be used if packets are provided directly to each patient/resident, rather than self-serve in a bulk container. Staff may also portion or serve condiments to residents.
    • Unused packets served to residents should be discarded.
  • If staff are assisting any resident in eating, where possible, it is recommended they wash their hands with soap and water before assisting any other resident. Hand sanitizer may also be used if hands are not visible soiled.
  • Where possible, pre-set tableware to minimize resident contact with multiple sets of cutlery and plates.
Other Precautions
  • Facilities must adhere to the current Public Health Orders, including wearing masks upon entering, exiting, and while in the dining rooms and in all common areas. Masks may be removed while eating or drinking.
  • Dining rooms may be used for other purposes outside of dining times such as for guest visits. It is recommended that food and drink be prohibited during these non dining activities. Other mitigation measures must be in place including physical distancing between non-household members and appropriate mask use.
  • Surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected following each meal service, including chairs (including the underneath edge of the chair seat), tables, and railings.
  • Common washrooms in dining areas may be open. Frequent cleaning and disinfection must be completed.
  • Staggered meal times according to cohort (i.e. staggered to let a single wing or floor eat at one time so if someone becomes ill, it is easier to identify cohorts, isolate, and contact residents).

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