Offsite Visits to the Family Home

Please note: As spots in the Atlantic Bubble are experiencing more COVID-19 cases, folks from areas of the Atlantic Bubble that are identified outbreak / orange zones are asked not to enter our facility at this time. If you travel to an identified outbreak / orange zone, please wait 14 days upon your return to Nova Scotia before visiting our facility. Thank you for your help in minimizing risk!


November 10, 2020

At this time, we have made the difficult decision to suspend Offsite Visits to the Family Home due to growing cases of COVID-19 within Nova Scotia.

We are grateful that we had the period of time when we were comfortable allowing this, as we are sure you are as well, but at this time we believe it’s not safe to continue. We hope that things will change in the community and we will feel comfortable allowing this again soon. Thank you for your patience and understanding.


October 16, 2020

We have prepared this information to support families as they prepare to bring residents for an Offsite Visit to the Family Home. It is critically important that you fully understand your role in keeping your loved one – and all residents – safe. 


Why is it so important for families to follow these guidelines?

These guidelines are developed to prevent the risk of COVID-19 transmission to the vulnerable senior population in our facility.

We need you to understand that one resident becoming ill with COVID-19 could result in the cancelling of facility-wide visits of all types, including Designated Caregiver visits, as per Public Health regulations. This could last for many weeks.

Other consequences of failing to follow these guidelines could include:
your loved one becoming ill with a disease which has killed more than 1 million persons worldwide to-date
• other residents – many of them frail and at risk – becoming ill
staff becoming ill, directly impacting staffing numbers and our ability to provide the best quality care to residents
• your loved one needing to self-isolate in their room for an extended period
• the removal of visitation privileges

We need only look across our border to New Brunswick to understand that – although the Atlantic Bubble feels safe for many of us – the risk of COVID-19 for those in long term care still exists, even here.

Each and every frail elderly person in our care is depending on us to ensure you understand your role in keeping them safe. They are also depending on you to follow these guidelines. We are committed to keeping them safe. They need you to be just as committed.

We would like to be very clear that, should we discover that family members are willfully disregarding these guidelines and the safety of our residents, we will be forced to re-examine whether Offsite Visits to the Family Home can continue. We take our responsibility to balance safety and quality of life for all those we serve very seriously.

Offsite Visits to the Family Home GUIDELINES

These guidelines are based on the latest available scientific evidence, epidemiology, and guidance from the Department of Health & Wellness.

You MUST:

• clean and disinfect (wiping down all frequently touched surfaces) the vehicle you will be using to transport the resident before pick-up, with an appropriate hard surface disinfectant / hand sanitizer (https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/disinfectants/covid-19/list.html). If the vehicle used is not driven by you, you must still ensure the vehicle is cleaned/disinfected. You must verify this at pick-up. If using Metro Transit or accessible transportation, you must ensure the resident follows all municipal transit guidelines, maintains safe physical distance, wears a medical mask and frequently uses hand sanitizer after contact with high touch surfaces.

• during transportation, ensure the driver and the resident passenger sit as far apart as possible. You must also minimize the number of passengers in the vehicle, wherever possible.

• wear a non-medical mask (provided by you) while transporting your loved one to your family home.

• wear a non-medical mask (provided by you) during the visit in your home when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

• encourage/remind the resident to wear their medical mask (provided by us) in any situation where physical distancing cannot be maintained while they are offsite with you.

• maintain physical distancing (6 feet / 2 metres) in the home whenever possible. However, during the Offsite Visit to the Family Home, you may choose to have a quick hug or handshake while wearing your non-medical mask, and after doing proper hand hygiene.

• ensure you understand proper physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, and follow these practices.

• follow the gathering and social limits set out by Public Health, and minimize the number of people interacting with the resident at all times while they are offsite with you.

• ensure everyone who will be interacting with the resident is aware of these guidelines and will also follow them.

• book your Offsite Visit to the Family Home in advance.

• truthfully answer all questions asked at booking; pick-up AND drop-off.

• call and cancel your visit if you or any person who will be interacting with the resident has symptoms of COVID-19 or any requirement to self-isolate.

• not bring the resident on an overnight trip or trip outside of the Atlantic Bubble.

• understand that if the resident or anyone they will interact with during the Offsite Visit to the Family Home has symptoms or any requirement to self-isolate, the Offsite Visit will need to be cancelled.

The Offsite Visit to the Family Home Process

• All those who have expressed interest in an Offsite Visit to the Family Home will be contacted directly to attend an Education Session.

• Beginning on Oct. 19th, you will book the Offsite Visit to the Family Home by calling 902-465-6020 ext. 0 after you have completed your Education Session. To book, you must call Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm to book an Offsite Visit for the following weekend.

• Offsite Visits to the Family Home will take place between 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM on Saturdays beginning on Oct. 24th. You must plan for the resident to be back to the facility by 5:00 PM. The schedule may change as things evolve.

• You will pick up and drop off your loved one in the designated area at the times you have booked, respecting physical distancing while doing so. You will park in the Accessible / Loading parking spots in front of our facility and come in front door.

• You will be asked questions at both pick-up AND drop-off regarding your personal details; the home that will be visited; the mode of transportation; COVID-19 symptoms/risks; other persons that the resident interacted with; and confirmation that you have understood/followed these guidelines.

• You must return with the resident at the agreed upon time, at the designated drop-off location. When you return, staff will clean your loved one’s mobility equipment with disinfectant upon re-entry to the facility.

• Should you or anyone who interacted with the resident during the Offsite Visit become ill in the two (2) weeks following, the individual must contact 811 for screening and assessment for testing, and notify us immediately. Should the individual test positive for COVID-19, the individual must inform Public Health during their investigation that they had interaction with a resident of our facility.


Some other things to think about as you’re considering an Offsite Visit to the Family Home:

  • Can your loved one be safely transported to your home? Are they able to get in and out of your vehicle or the other transportation you would be able to coordinate? Not sure? We can chat about this when you get in touch!
  • Is your family home accessible to your loved one? This loosening of restrictions by the government is intended to let folks visit their family at home and DOES NOT include taking your loved one for a leisurely drive or to public spaces to visit at this time. It also doesn’t permit overnight trips or visits outside of the Atlantic provinces.
  • During an Off-Site Visit to the Family Home, residents and their families must follow public health measures and infection prevention measures. We will share a detailed description of some of these with families who want to move forward with this type of off-site visit, however families should also be aware of all publicly available guidelines including those found at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/avoiding-infection/!