Surrey’s Jude Hannah, right, with her mother in a photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic and posted to Twitter on March 25, the day B.C.’s rules for long-term care visitation were changed. (Photo:

No joke: On April 1, Surrey woman hopes to hold mother’s hand for first time in more than a year

'The irony of the April 1st date hasn't been lost on families,' Jude Hannah says

  • Mar. 26, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Jude Hannah hopes the joke is not on her and others this April Fool’s Day, when she’s “penciled in” to hold her 97-year-old mother’s hand for the first time in more than a year.

The Surrey resident is among those happy with the B.C. government’s relaxation of long-term care visitation rules starting Thursday, April 1.

That day, residents in long-term care and assisted living will be able to have frequent, routine opportunities for social visitation, according to a news release.

With care-home staff and residents now vaccinated, the rule changes were announced Thursday (March 25), and Hannah took to social media to proclaim joy and also cautious optimism.

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The eased restrictions include removing the requirement for a single designated social visitor to allow for additional family and friends to visit, and expanding the number of visitors allowed in, to two, plus a child. Visitors will also be allowed in residents’ rooms without staff present, and physical touching is also OK’d, as long as “appropriate infection prevention and control measures,” such as masks and hand hygiene, are in place.

“My main concern is that LTC (long-term care) facilities will try to find a loophole in the very clear and direct statement by Dr. Henry. We can’t let that happen again,” Hannah told the Now-Leader.

She said some LTC operators have not followed the guidelines in place since July.

“They’ve gone too far in restricting access to our most vulnerable loved ones in care,” charged Hannah, who lives in Newton.

“The irony of the April 1st date hasn’t been lost on families. We all want to be reunited with our parents, spouses, children in care. Let’s hope it’s no joke. Those of us who have been advocating for changes in long term care have become a bit cynical over the past 12 months.”

“Honestly,” Hannah added, “I will not believe it’s real until I’m holding my dear 97-year-old mom’s hand and giving her what she’s been missing for over a year: a big hug from a daughter who adores her.”

According to B.C.’s rule changes, social visitation will continue to be suspended during outbreaks and will continue to require advanced booking, visitor health screening, use of medical masks and frequent hand hygiene.

Early in the pandemic, public health officials identified people living in long-term care and assisted living as particularly vulnerable to severe outcomes from COVID-19. When the province acted to limit visitors at such facilities, Hannah and others formed or joined Facebook groups such as “Families for Change – Stories From Longterm Care” and “Let Love In To Long Term Care-Fraser Health/VanCoastal,” to voice concerns about the rules.

In January, Hannah launched a Twitter account dubbed Kiss My Confusion, dedicated to “the journey along the dementia road,” she says.

“Maybe a book and podcast,” Hannah said. “After 10 years with my mother in long-term care, I have seen and learned so much. I want to pass my experience onto others who may benefit.”

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