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An update on visiting residents in Ontario long-term care homes

August 06, 2020

Guest Blog Written by: Stacey Guy and Michelle Fleming from Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (CLRI)

The pandemic has made life difficult for everyone, but particularly for those who live, work or love someone in long-term care. It can be overwhelming for families, residents, and team members to keep up with changing healthcare recommendations for long-term care services these days. It’s no surprise that confusion and uncertainty exists around visiting guidelines. As of July 15, the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care has updated the recommendations for home administrators. Here is a list of some useful things to know before you go.

  1. Did you know? Up to two family members, close friends, or neighbors may visit with a resident at the same time. This applies to both indoor and outdoor visits.
  2. Did you know? A team member will ask indoor visitors to complete a screening questionnaire and take your temperature.
  3. Did you know? Before visiting a resident indoors, a family member, close friend, or neighbor will need to confirm with a team member that he/she/they tested negative to COVID-19 within 14 days of the date of the visit.
  4. Did you know? Outdoor visits are still available. Some homes are also continuing with virtual and window visits.
  5. Did you know? A visitor does not need to confirm with a team member that he/she/they took a recent COVID-19 test for outdoor visits.
  6. Did you know? Physical distancing is still in place for outdoor visits.
  7. Did you know? You will need to bring your own face covering, such as a cloth mask, for outdoor visits.
  8. Did you know? A visitor needs to practice what team members call infection prevention and control. Before, during, and after visits you will need to wash your hands, wear a mask or face covering, and keep physical distance. 
  9. Did you know? Homes have been encouraged to only have one visit each week per resident to allow all residents a chance to see their families and friends.
  10. Did you know? If a home is having a COVID-19 outbreak, visits with residents will be put on hold for everyone's safety.
  11. Did you know? There is no time limit set for visits but visits must not be less than 30 minutes.
  12. Did you know? Physical contact is possible during your indoor visit, however you cannot hug your loved one when facing them directly (looking eye-to-eye).
  13. Did you know? It is possible to have in-room visits with a resident, provided that the home can accommodate your request and that there is adequate space in the room to promote physical distancing.
  14. Did you know? Learning what is required of you by the home and following these rules means future visits with the resident.

There will be some differences in how long-term care homes apply the directives from the government. This might be because of staffing resources, available spaces, rates of COVID-19 in the local community, and guidance from the local public health units. If you have questions about the procedures at your loved ones' home, contact the team at the home.

Here is a link to curated resources on the topic of visiting that you might find helpful:



Ministry of Long-Term Care. Update To Visits At Long-Term Care Homes. July 15 2020.

This work is supported in part with funding from the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care.  The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the province.