Safe Outings Now Possible for Long-Term Care Home Residents

Published on September 01, 2020

Thanks to the continuing efforts of all Ontarians to stop the spread of COVID-19, long-term care home residents will now be able to leave their homes for day trips and overnight stays. This is effective immediately.


For a ‘short-stay’ absence — a day trip that does not include an overnight stay —homes must provide residents with a medical mask to be worn at all times when outside of the home, if tolerated, and remind them of the importance of public health measures, including physical distancing. When they return, residents must be actively screened but are not required to be tested or self-isolate.


Residents may also leave their long-term care homes for ‘temporary’ absences of one or more nights. Temporary absences will be at the discretion of the home and decided on a case-by-case basis based on safety factors such as the risk associated with the absence (e.g., for a family weekend vs. a large gathering) and ability of the home to help residents self-isolate upon return. For the protection of their neighbours, residents who leave on a temporary absence will be required to self-isolate for 14 days when they return to the home.


If a home makes the decision to deny a temporary absence request, they must communicate their rationale in writing to the resident and/or substitute decision-maker.


Direction on safety in long-term care homes will continue to be updated as Ontario's experience with COVID-19 evolves. The government will continue to make every effort to support the safety and emotional wellbeing of residents and the staff who care for them.


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