Long-term care home residents can now venture out on day trips or longer

Those spending the night elsewhere will be required to self-isolate for 14 days

Long-term care residents can now get out and stretch their legs, and even have sleepovers.

The Ontario Government announced on Friday residents of the province’s long-term care homes can now spend time away, in day trips or even overnight absences.

The long-term care home will be responsible for providing residents medical masks to be worn at all times while outside the facility on shorter outings. Those venturing out will be reminded of the importance of health and safety measures including physical distancing. When the outing is done, residents will be actively screened but are not required to be tested or isolated.

Those residents venturing out for the night or longer but will be required to self-isolate from other residents for 14 days upon return. These temporary absences will be at the discretion of the home and will be decided on a case-by-case basis based on safety factors like risks associated with the outing, and the ability to self-isolate upon return.

“This is a day we have all looked forward to, and it is my hope that these welcome changes will improve our residents’ quality of life, while keeping them safe,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “As Ontarians begin to resume their pre-COVID activities, residents in long-term care will be able to get out and about in their communities and spend time with loved ones again.”

The province is expected to release an updated policy for visits to long-term care homes next week.