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The golden ticket: gaining in-person access to relatives in long-term care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic

Wu, Sarah A., Kervin, Lucy, Cooke, Heather A., Puurveen, Gloria, Bourbonnais, Anne and Baumbusch, Jennifer (2024) The golden ticket: gaining in-person access to relatives in long-term care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic. Journal of Long-Term Care, 2024. 62 – 76. ISSN 2516-9122

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Identification Number: 10.31389/jltc.221


Context: Governments made emergency declarations to restrict the presence of family carers in long-term care homes (LTCHs) as part of infection control measures during the pandemic. Within Canada, two visitor statuses were created: ‘essential’ to the health of the resident and ‘non-essential’ or ‘social visitor’, who were subject to additional restrictions. Objective: This study explored family carers’ experiences navigating in-person access to their relatives in LTCH during the pandemic. Methods: Using interpretive description, a sample of 14 family carers (nine daughters, five spouses) living in British Columbia, Canada, participated in in-depth interviews via video call about their experiences between March 2020 and June 2021. Findings: Analyses illustrated variability in carers’ visitor status across families and over time. Two key themes were identified: 1) “Fighting a Losing Battle” describes how reductionist attitudes and policies minimized the role of caregiving and resulted in traumatic disruptions in familial relationships; 2) “Who’s In and Who’s Out” captures inequities in how visitor status policies were applied. Limitations: Restrictions on conducting research during the pandemic resulted in a smaller sample of family carer participants. Implications: Findings highlight the patchwork implementation of visitor policies over the initial 17 months of the pandemic and the precarious space family carers continue to occupy within the LTC sector. Future research should focus on formalising support for family presence during public health emergencies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2024 16:39
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 02:33

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