New Resources to Support Essential Visits and Decision Making

During these uncertain times of COVID-19's second wave we are balancing safety with the need for connection between individuals (patients/clients) and their families. Our goal is to implement a fair and consistent approach to essential visit decision making across all our acute care sites.

Essential Visit Decisions

A designated family/support person is determined by the individual. This family/support person is involved in care and decision making (in collaboration with the care team to the extent that the individual desires.

Eligibility for visits will be based on the following:

  • essential care needs of the individual (compassionate care needs and/or those that are essential to physical, mental, spiritual, or cultural well-being),
  • care environment (i.e.: number of people the physical space can safely accommodate at one time)
  • current risks of COVID-19 transmission, and availability of PPE.

Essential visit decisions are based on balancing the safest number of visits possible to protect the health and safety of all, with meeting the needs of individuals and their family member/support person. While limiting visits is an important precaution to ensure the safety of all, the risks of loneliness and isolation must be considered, as well as the potential impacts on Indigenous people and their families who may have past experiences of racism and discrimination in health-care environments.

These new resources linked below have been created to help the decision making and care planning processes involved in supporting essential visits to occur safely across all care settings  and can also be found under the Visitors to Island Health Facilities tab on the COVID-19 Intranet Site (***Please note: Island Health Log-in Required***):


Island Health Framework for Essential Visits

Determining if Care Needs are Essential: Acute Care Settings - Decision Support Tool for Clinicians in Acute Care Settings

Essential Visits in Acute Care Settings: Flow Diagram for Clinicians to support Essential Visits in Acute Care Settings

Palliative and End of Life Care: Essential Visits Across ALL Care Settings

Exceptions/Considerations for Essential Visits at End-of-Life: Algorithm