Visiting the Hospital

Information for Essential Caregivers during COVID-19

 

ESSENTIAL CAREGIVER REQUIREMENTS

EFFECTIVE at 12:01 am on July 1st, 2022, any Essential Caregiver of an in-patient or attendance with a patient for an out-patient procedure will be required to perform self-screening for the following:

  • Fever/chills
  • New/worse cough
  • New/worse shortness of breath
  • Decrease/loss of smell or taste
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose/nasal congestion
  • Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
  • Tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 10 days
  • Exposure to a COVID-19 positive case in the previous 10 days (without a mask)
  • Have been told to quarantine by a physician, PHAC, CBSA or the Public Health unit

Visitors should be prepared to provide proof of:

  1. Their COVID-19 vaccination evidencing 14 days has passed since their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

    OR
  2. A negative community-based PCR (polymerase chain reaction test) or antigen test result taken within 3 days before their visit.

No visitation is allowed for patients with active confirmed or suspected COVID receiving an aerosol-generating procedure- Resolved cases may have Essential Caregivers as identified below. Limited exemptions are available for parents/guardians of a child with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

 

ESSENTIAL CAREGIVER RESTRICTIONS

EFFECTIVE July 1st, 2022 WRH will allow TWO essential caregivers at the bedside at a time within the allotted visitation.

For palliative patients, 2 essential caregivers at a time, may visit 24/7 4 essential caregivers at a time, 24/7 for a patient that is actively dying/end of life, or having a planned withdrawal of life support. This may include visitors less than 18 years of age when accompanied by an adult.

Some limitations may apply to the number of visitors allowed at one time based on the clinical space restrictions.

All visitors must wear a medical-grade mask at ALL times and in ALL areas of the hospital. If visitors do not have one they will be provided with a medical-grade mask at the entrance. Cloth masks by themselves will not be allowed.

All visitors may be required to eye protection while visiting a patient. Face shields will be provided to visitors on the unit if required. Please refer to our policy regarding these issues.

No visitation is allowed for patients with active confirmed or suspected COVID-19, that are receiving aerosol-generating medical procedures including but not exclusive to non-invasive ventilation (BiPAP, CPAP) or high flow oxygen (AIRVO, Optiflow) due to the extremely high risk to patients, staff, and visitors. Please refer to the nursing unit for clarification. Virtual visits for these patients will be supported using technology such as iPads. Resolved cases may have visitors as identified in this policy.

 

VISITATION HOURS:
  • 10 am to 8 pm (except Critical Care units)
  • 10 am to 6 pm, and 8 pm to 10 pm (Critical Care units only)
  • For Mental Health and Renal Dialysis please see below

 

ESSENTIAL CAREGIVERS WILL BE RESTRICTED IF THEY:
  • Are under the age of 18, unless they are the parent/guardian of the patient or are accompanied by an adult visiting a palliative/end-of-life patient.
  • Are symptomatic
  • Have been outside of Canada in the last 14 days and have been advised to quarantine upon their arrival.
  • Have tested positive for COVID-19 (and are not resolved cases)
  • Have had close contact with a confirmed case or probable case of COVID-19
  • Have had close contact with a person with an acute respiratory illness who has been outside of Canada in the 14 days before their symptom onset

 

DEPARTMENT-SPECIFIC EXCEPTIONS:
  • Cancer Program - For scheduled outpatient cancer appointments with a provider, the patient may have two essential caregivers accompany them. For treatment appointments in the systemic therapy suite, for radiation therapy or to attend the Cancer Program Lab or Diagnostic Imaging, the patient may have one essential caregiver accompany them.
  • Emergency Department - 24 hours, one Essential Caregiver per patient- may not enter until the patient has been brought in from the waiting room unless the patient requires support due to cognitive, mobility or other disability or is pediatric- in this event, one Essential Caregiver may accompany in the ED waiting room. Department will contact when Essential Caregivers can enter.
  • Lab and Diagnostic Imaging - Patients with cognitive, mobility, or other disability, is pediatric or their appointment is after 1700 will be allowed one Essential Caregiver who will remain with the patient for the entire visit or in a space designated by the clinical team if a procedure requires it. Obstetrical and Cancer Program patients may have one essential caregiver attend for support.
  • Labour and Delivery/Postpartum care - Two essential caregivers may be at the bedside at a time, including the use of any private support services such as a doula (however, only 1 person is permitted during a C-Section delivery). Only one person (the primary support person) may stay at the bedside overnight in postpartum care (8:00 pm - 8:00 am).
  • Obstetrical Triage - One Essential Caregiver with a mom presenting to OB Triage.
  • Maternal Newborn Clinic/Women's Health Clinic - One Essential Caregiver with a mom going to scheduled appointments at the Maternal Newborn Clinic or Women's Health Clinic.
  • Paediatrics and NICU - For an ill newborn, child, or youth 2 identified Essential Caregivers for inpatients can come and go between 8 am - 8 pm and one of the identified caregivers can stay overnight between 8 pm and 8 am. For outpatients and day surgeries, two identified caregivers can accompany the patient. For inpatient pediatric patients that are COVID-19 positive, 2 identified caregivers may stay with the patient, however, it should be limited to 1 at a time, they must remain isolated in the patient room, and the selected caregivers must be from the same household.
  • Mental Health Department - Two Essential Caregivers may be chosen with 1 Essential Caregiver per patient for 30 minutes between 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm. To avoid overcrowding in common areas, we have limited visitation to a maximum of 4 Essential Caregivers being allowed into 3N and 3S and a maximum of 2 Essential Caregivers into PICU at a time. Visits must take place in the designated common area and are not allowed in patient rooms.
  • Renal Dialysis Program - In-center dialysis - outpatients (Bell/JM/ESHC): 8:30 am - 10:00 am, 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm, and 7:00 - 8:30 pm (1 fully vaccinated Essential Caregiver per patient). In-patients in JM - to follow hospital visitation hours. Home Programs and MCKC - 1 fully vaccinated Essential Caregiver with patient per clinic visit.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR THE ABOVE

If the patient in labour is confirmed or suspected of COVID-19:

  • Only one Essential Caregiver may be with the patient throughout the patient's stay (no alternating Essential Caregivers)
  • The Essential Caregiver remains with the patient in the same physical environment throughout the care delivery
  • The clinical team is able to provide Essential Caregiver with a safe environment and teaching necessary for infection control
  • The Essential Caregiver is masked and reports to Public Health as they may be required to self-isolate, depending on test results
REQUESTS FOR EXCEPTION TO VISITATION POLICY
  • Exceptions are only considered in rare and truly exceptional circumstances.
  • If a family member wishes to seek an exception to the above visitation policy, they should discuss it with the health care team.
  • For any concerns with the visitation policy or if support is required with the exception to the process please contact Patient Relations:
    • Ouellette Campus: Phone: 519-254-5577 Ext. 34404
    • Met Campus: Phone: 519-254-5577 Ext. 52317
    • After Hours: Phone: 519-254-5577 dial zero for switchboard and ask for the After Hours Manager
  • The family member will be contacted once the review process is complete with an answer.

 

STAY CONNECTED WITH PATIENTS

We recognize the impact of isolation on patients and families during this difficult time and we are doing everything we can to help patients and loved ones stay connected.

If you have a family member at WRH, please consider alternatives to in-person visits.

  • WRH's Guest Wi-Fi is available for patients to allow video calls to family and friends. The "Guest" network can be found through your wireless settings and is free of charge.
  • Call your loved one in their room through the switchboard at 519-254-5577.
  • Patients can bring their own devices when possible to stay connected to loved ones through FaceTime, Skype, etc.
  • When patients do not have access to their own personal devices, assistance may be provided to access technology and assist with virtual visitation. Please ask your nurse for assistance.
  • Send an E-card to your loved one. E-cards are a free service enabling you to send a personalized message to your loved one or friend. These are printed and delivered to patients who do not have access to email.