Throughout their time in various living or health care facilities, a person at the end of life has the right to have an informal caregiver present to provide significant support.

People who are in palliative and end-of-life care are also allowed to have visitors. Visitor guidelines apply in all settings, including hospitals, living facilities, rehabilitation centres and palliative care hospices. They also apply to people in palliative and end-of-life care who were admitted outside a unit dedicated to this type of care. However, visits to units with immunosuppressed patients are restricted to protect this particularly vulnerable clientele. In these cases, individualized measures will have to be applied.

During visits, the following rules apply:

  • In general, the partner and children of a person who is in palliative and end-of-life care may visit them without any restriction on the number of people. Otherwise, a person who is in palliative and end-of-life care may have up to 2 significant visitors at a time. The same applies in situations where the person is receiving continuous palliative sedation.
  • Minors are allowed to visit people in palliative and end-of-life care. They must be accompanied by an adult during the visit.
  • Only one informal caregiver may accompany the person to the day centre.
  • Informal caregivers of people in palliative and end-of-life care who are hospitalized in oncology units with immunosuppressed patients are triaged and must take additional precautions.
  • Personal protective equipment is mandatory and must be used in accordance with public health recommendations.

In addition, the following people will not be allowed to visit a loved one who is in palliative or end-of-life care:

  • a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 10 days and who does not meet the other criteria for ending self-isolation;
  • a person who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19;
  • a person who has been advised to self-isolate because they are suspected of being infected, because they are waiting to get tested or for a test result or because they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19;
  • a person who has been instructed to self-isolate because they have returned from travel outside Canada.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, palliative and end-of-life care at home is preferable. If this is not possible, people will be referred to facilities identified as having suitable containment areas.

The person is encouraged to keep in touch with family and friends by telephone and by means of various communications technologies.