Lunch + Learn wrap up: the how and why on using rapid point-of-care screening in B.C. care homes

BC Care Providers Association and SafeCare BC  held an informative Lunch + Learn online forum on Thursday titled Screening for COVID-19: Using Rapid Tests in Continuing Care Settings with representation from Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) — who manage B.C.’s rapid testing program on behalf of Public Health — and a panel of healthcare experts with experience with point-of-care rapid testing in long-term care and assisted living residences.

The online forum was moderated by Mike Klassen, BCCPA VP Public Affairs, who set the stage by explaining the history of B.C.’s nascent rapid testing program. The panel included PHSA’s Director of Pandemic Response Zahida Esmail, CEO of Langley Lodge Debra Hauptman, Medical Microbiolgist Dr. Nancy Matic from Providence Health Care, Clinical Nurse Specialist of Long-Term Care and Assisted Living Professional Practice Team Siân Roberts from Vancouver Coastal Health, and Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control Physician Lead, Antimicrobial Stewardship Dr. Victor Leung, also from Providence Health Care.

The forum provided knowledge and tips on how rapid testing can happen in our LTC, AL and independent living settings with the support of PHSA and B.C.’s health authorities. Discussion topics included first-hand experience in piloting COVID-19 testing, opinions on implementing rapid testing for staff at long term care homes, new data collection technology involving QR codes for facilities to record staff test reports, and how rapid testing should be implemented to optimize its results.

Ms. Esmail provided an overview of Point-of-Care (POC) test kits and how these tests can be used as a screening tool, informational resources were also provided to the audience. She specified that PHSA designed the kits for workplace settings to screen staff members who may have a high risk of COVID-19 exposure and that test kits are to be used on individuals without symptoms for screening purposes and not for diagnostic reasons. During her presentation she included an instructional video (shared below). Her entire slide presentation is featured in the Video Replay shared here.

Visit the BC CDC page on rapid testing here. Email to inquire about getting a rapid testing program going in a care home. Fraser Health Authority has its own email for rapid testing inquiries —

Performing the Panbio test

BCCPA Lunch + Learn Tweets

Click below to read our live tweets from the Lunch + Learn online forum on rapid testing.

Questions & Answers

A few additional questions asked by our audience were responded to by our panelists after the meeting.

  1. What about frequency of testing. Does the tester test all families and visitors daily or on every entry? And can the tester be a door screener in LTC?Answer: Frequency depends on many factors related to logistics and the context of the screening.  Some places choose to do this twice/week. Others do it daily. There is no set frequency. Also, the tester does not have to be a health professional. They just need training.
  2. Will vaccination interfere with rapid test results?Answer: No.  Vaccination will decrease the changes of infection. But if a person is infected, rapid antigen test results are not affected by having a vaccination.
  3. Is it only the Abbott PanBio available, out of the 3 different tests are Health Canada approved?Answer: Abbot Panbio is what has been used in various facilities (response via Dr. Victor Leung).
  4. Will the self-test training videos be translated to be suitable for the public so they can administer the self tests?Answer: The facility can also make their own video. Several videos were posted on TikTok in different languages during the VCH pilot program.

Video Replay — Screening for COVID-19: Using Rapid Tests in Continuing Care Settings

For those who were unable to attend this special free Lunch + Learn webinar co-hosted by BCCPA and SafeCare BC, the whole 1-hour program is available via YouTube. Have you subscribed yet for our YouTube channel? –> Please click here to SUBSCRIBE.

Resources for Point-of-Care Test Kits:

SafeCare BC: Rapid Testing as a Screening Tool in Long Term Care

BC Centre for Disease Control: Rapid COVID-19 Point of Care Screening Program

Fraserhealth Contact for POC inquires


Don’t forget to join us for our upcoming Lunch + Learn on May 12th which will be moderated by BCCPA CEO Terry Lake, topic will be on Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations for Seniors Living and Care Staff.