Throughout their time in various living or health care facilities, a person at the end of life can have informal caregivers or visitors present to provide significant support.

A person may visit their loved one more than once a day, and there are no restrictions on the length of each visit, provided the instructions for the general public are followed.

Informal and family caregivers are defined as follows:

Anyone who provides support on an occasional or ongoing basis to a family member or other loved one who is temporarily or permanently incapacitated. The support is provided informally on a non-professional basis, regardless of the recipient’s age, their living situation, or the nature of their incapacity (physical, psychological, psychosocial, or other). It can take different forms, such as help with personal care, emotional support, or coordination of care and services.

This means that close and immediate family must be able to access their loved one’s residential facility just as informal or family caregivers can.

Palliative and end-of-life care (ELC) patients may receive visitors in all settings. Visitors are defined as:

Anyone who visits a client and is neither a family member nor an informal caregiver as defined above. This includes people the patient knows and with whom they have occasional contact that is not essential to their physical or psychological well-being. It also includes people the patient doesn’t know.

The vaccination passport is not required for anyone visiting a loved one in end-of-life care.

The following guidelines apply:

  • Screen informal and family caregivers and visitors using the following exclusion criteria:
    • People who have had a positive COVID-19 test result or have been confirmed positive by epidemiological link and have not recovered
    • People suspected of having COVID-19 due to compatible symptoms
    • People who have symptoms and are waiting for COVID-19 test results
    • People who have been in close contact with a confirmed case in the past 14 days or as indicated in the current directive on case and contact management
    • People exposed to a symptomatic person who lives in the same home, is awaiting a test result, and is considered a person under investigation (PUI)
    • People who have been instructed by a public health authority to self-isolate
    • People who have returned from a trip outside Canada in the past 14 days or as indicated in the federal government guidelines for self-isolation after travel

Anyone meeting any of these criteria will not be permitted to visit.

  • Informal and family caregivers of people in ELC who are housed in oncology units with immunocompromised patients are subject to additional screening and precautionary measures because of those patients’ greater vulnerability.

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