Tanya Snow, director of Bria Communities, welcomes Tuesday’s visitation announcement but said there are still a lot of unknowns. (Janice Miller/Bria Communities)

Tanya Snow, director of Bria Communities, welcomes Tuesday’s visitation announcement but said there are still a lot of unknowns. (Janice Miller/Bria Communities)

Seniors homes in Langley preparing to re-open for visitors

On Tuesday, B.C.’s top doctor announced new visitation guidelines for long-term care facilities

Family members will soon be able to visit loved ones in long-term care facilities around Langley, after a provincial government announcement Tuesday afternoon.

The proclamation has senior staff at local facilities frantically reviewing the announcement and getting plans in place to meet provincial requirements. That included Tanya Snow, director of Bria Communities – the parent company of Langley’s Magnolia and Sunridge Gardens – who is anxious to facilitate the reunions as soon as possible.

In the meantime, however, Snow is pleading for a little more patience from families and residents alike.

”We look forward to familes and residents reuniting in a meaningful way, very soon. But, we have to do it safely and with caution to ensure we remain COVID free,” said Snow, who promises to try to keep all parties informed of the progress.

The province imposed a lockdown of all long-term care facilities in March, after COVID-19 started spreading in B.C. care homes and killing some of their residents. Langley Lodge, for example, lost 24 people due to the coronavirus.

Now, in accordance with the new provincial guidelines announced Tuesday, residents will be able to have a single, designated visitor in a specific visiting area. But the details of what this will look like are still unclear, Snow emphasized, having been assured more details are forthcoming in the next few days.

“It is important that the public be aware that long-term care and senior living operators were not provided [ahead of time] with any of the information presented [Tuesday]… We heard about it the same time as the general public did, and it has raised many questions amongst the operators that we will need to get answered,” she said, listing staffing, equipment, and PPE requirements among the unknowns.

Reviewing the 36-page updated documents from the Ministry of Health and developing new processes and health and safety plans will take time, Snow added, anxious to collaborate with families and residents on how best to implement the next steps at the two local care facilities.

“We look forward to getting as much clarity as possible, as we look to find a healthy balance between safety and quality of life,” Snow said, fearing an onslaught of people will want to start seeing their aged loved ones immediately.

“We ask that families please not rush over to the LTC and Senior Living communities expecting to be let in,” Snow said.

She can say for sure already that there will be set visitation appointments; visits will be scheduled in advance and within a set time period; visitors will be expected to comply with prescreening and PPE requirements; a defined visitation area will need to be clearly established; and there will be close monitoring and cleaning that will be required before, during, and after every visit.

RELATED – VIDEO: Langley seniors send big thanks to Dr. Henry

Meanwhile, across town at Langley Lodge, safety plans are also in the works to facilitate reunions.

Anticipating that the outbreak status in the Langley City facility will end Friday, next week will be spent developing a required plans for approval by the medical health officer, said the Lodge’s chief executive officer, Debra Hauptman.

It will define the infection prevention and control protocols for family, resident, and staff safety, she explained.

“This is a welcomed announcement for our residents, families and care providers,” Hauptman added. “We look forward to having families reconnect with their loved ones and look forward to this positive step moving forward during this pandemic.”


The new approach for long-term care visits will be monitors through July, and if it allows visits while keeping the spread of COVID-19 in check, it could be expanded in August, according to provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“We know how important it is for our family members in long-term care to receive visits from family, friends, and supporters. We also know that’s a risk when we have COVID-19 in the community,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer.

“Once long-term care homes have plans in place, and they’re taking the extra precautions needed, I’m so happy to say that we can safely move towards allowing visitors again.”

Updated provincial requirements will ease the current visitor restrictions for long-term care homes and seniors’ assisted-living residences with clear guidance on required precautions. And, before any visitors can set foot in buildings, sites must have visitation plans approved by the provincial government, emphasized Henry.

Essential visitor restrictions remain in place for other healthcare settings, the top doctor said. And the provincial government is providing funding to hire extra staff at B.C.’s 680 long-term care homes and assisted-living facilities to help with infection prevention and control measures.

Snow did hear Tuesday’s announcement allude to additional funding being available to help with the transition.

But, she’s unclear who gets the money or how it will be distributed.

“As you may know, as private operators, our frontline/essential services care and hospitality staff were left out of the federal pandemic pay – or hero pay – despite doing the exact same work, and only choosing a private employer versus a publicly funded employer. Will we be excluded again?” Snow wondered.

For now, she reiterated her plea for understanding.

“We ask residents and families for their patience and support as we start to ‘open our doors’ a little more,” Snow concluded. “We will notifiy residents and families as soon as we are ready to start safe visiting in the very near future.”

• READ more about the provincial announcement


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The CubicFarm System moves rows of leafy greens through a system calibrated to grow the perfect crop. (cubicfarms.com)
Veritcal farm company based in Pitt Meadows, Langley raises millions

The company has raised more than $15 million from investors

A woman uses her computer keyboard to type while surfing the internet in North Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Township of Langley says coding matters

Registration open for virtual codathon hosted in conjunction with the Intelligent Community Forum

The Fraser Valley Regional Library board of directors recently finalized its budget. (Black Press Media files)
Fraser Valley Regional Library budget not enough to keep up with booming population

Almost $5 million of books, DVDs, and ebooks to be purchased in 2021

A fuel leak at the Walnut Grove Community Centre resulted in fumes getting into Walnut Grove Secondary so the start of the school day was delayed as the building was ventilated on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: High school in North Langley shut down over fuel leak in nearby parking lot

Walnut Grove Secondary students were told instruction will be online for the remainder of the day

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

The Delta Hospice Society operates the Harold & Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care (pictured) and the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner. (The Canadian Press photo)
Fraser Health to evict Delta Hospice Society, open new hospice beds next door

Health authority will serve DHS 30 days’ notice when service agreement expires Feb. 25

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Most Read