ARCH Bulletin on COVID-19: Visitation Bans in Developmental Services Group Homes – PLAIN LANGUAGE VERSION
This is a plain language summary of “ARCH Bulletin on COVID-19: People Living in Developmental Services Group Homes Need Access to Essential Support Persons”
Many developmental services agencies in Ontario have visitation bans. These bans say that family and friends are not allowed to visit or go into a group home.
Visitation bans are an important way for agencies to keep their staff and residents safe and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
But, some people with disabilities need their family or close friends to come into their group home. These people may have high support needs. Without help from their family or close friend, they won’t get the support they need to stay healthy. For example, some people don’t speak. They communicate using sounds and movements. Without help from their family or close friend, they won’t be able to let group home staff know how they are doing and what they need.
ARCH and some people with disabilities think that it is important for group homes to have an exemption to visitation bans. This means that one family member or close friend would be allowed to go into a group home if a person living there needs support that the group home staff can’t give. This does not mean that everyone living in a group home would be allowed to have a visitor. The exemption would only be for a small number of people who absolutely need support or care that the group home can’t give them.
This already happens in other places like some hospitals and long-term care for seniors. In those places, no visitors are allowed, except for one family member or friend who gives supports that the senior or person in hospital absolutely needs.
If you live in a group home in Ontario and are worried about the visitation ban in your group home, you can call ARCH for free, private legal advice. ARCH’s phone number is 1-866-482-2724.
* Information provided in these materials is not intended to be legal advice. Consult a lawyer or legal worker if you need legal advice on a specific matter. This information is current as of May 4, 2020.