College of Denturists of BC: Oral Health Care in Long Term Care Homes are Assisted Living Centres - July 6, 2020
On June 30th, the BC Minister of Health and the Public Health Officer announced that residents of long term care (LTC) homes and assisted living (AL) centres could once again receive limited visitation by friends and family as well as the provision of essential services and personal care services. The BCCDC posted a document outlining the infection prevention and control parameters for these groups of visitors to access care homes while ensuring specific safety measures are in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 to vulnerable residents.

Given the critical nature of oral health care to citizens in these residences, oral heath care providers have been included in the list of essential services that have been granted access to LTC and AL. With this resumption of care, all oral health care providers are expected to be familiar and in compliance with the guidance set out by the BCCDC, the Public Health Officer, the administration of each facility and their respective oral health colleges. This includes appropriate point of care risk assessment, including self-screening measures for symptoms, pre-screening of patients and deferring care whenever either the care provider or the patient shows any signs of being unwell. Visits should be scheduled in compliance with administration protocols and should be limited to one care provider per patient at a time. All PPE, hand hygiene practices and social distancing guidelines set out by the BCCDC and the BC oral health colleges must be upheld at all times. Oral care should only be provided in residences where there are no active outbreaks of COVID-19.

Given the active and ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, registrants are encouraged to remain apprised of current BC oral health care recommendations as posted by the Public Health Officer, BCCDC and the four BC oral health colleges. Should additional community outbreaks occur, the provision of oral care to vulnerable populations in LTC and AL will be reviewed and revised accordingly.