ACCA Statement: Mandatory Vaccination of Visitors to Continuing Care HomesOct 07, 2021
The Alberta Continuing Care Association (ACCA) supports the implementation of mandatory immunization policies for Continuing Care (CC) visitors, to safeguard residents and staff.
Community infection rates continue to remain high. These rates place our residents and staff at risk of the virus being brought into the sites. The government has provided support to CC Providers implementing site-based vaccination screening processes to address the current high COVID-19 numbers in our province. The majority of CC residents are fully immunized, including a 3rd booster dose, dramatically reducing the severity of outcomes of COVID-19 outbreaks among residents. CC staff have additionally been mandated to be fully immunized, leaving visitors as the only group regularly accessing CC homes with no restriction or current requirement to show proof of vaccination.
ACCA recognizes the integral role of visitors and Designated Family/Support Persons (DFSPs) as part of the care team and in promoting the wellbeing of CC residents. Provincial health orders permit CC providers to introduce policies that reflect the needs and risks within their communities in consultation with resident and family councils. In order to sustain safer visitor access to CC sites, ACCA supports mandatory DFSP and social visitor vaccination.
The ACCA supports the following Visitor Guideline Recommendations:
- Mandatory vaccination policies for all CC visitors, including DFSPs, are recommended, requiring proof of full vaccination for site access (two doses received at least 2 weeks prior to visits).
- Given the essential role of DFSPs in care provision and resident support, the ACCA supports policies that include accommodations for unvaccinated DFSP’s, such as requiring COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Screening (rapid testing) prior to visits or testing onsite should capacity be available.
Contact: Wayne Morishita, ACCA Executive Director - firstname.lastname@example.org