Visiting the Hospital

Information for Essential Caregivers during COVID-19



EFFECTIVE at 12:01 am on March 21st, 2022, any Essential Caregiver of an in-patient or attendance with a patient for an out-patient procedure will be required to provide:

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

  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.

Virtual visits for patients will be supported using technology such as iPads.



EFFECTIVE March 21st, 2022 WRH will allow FOUR essential visitors for each patient, with some exceptions. A maximum of FOUR essential visitors may be chosen by the patient to rotate over the patient's stay in the hospital, however, only ONE of the essential visitors may be at the bedside at a time within the allotted visitation.

Eight visitors may rotate, 2 visitors at a time, 24/7 for palliative patients and 4 visitors 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 and eye protection 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 are required to wear a face shield in addition to a mask and eye protection while visiting a patient. Face shields will be provided to visitors on entry to the hospital or on the unit. Please refer to our policy regarding these issues and limited exemptions for patients/visitors not to wear a mask.

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.


  • 8 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


  • 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


  • Cancer Program - For scheduled outpatient cancer appointments with a provider, the patient may have one essential visitor accompany them. This does not include appointments for lab work or diagnostic imaging.
  • 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.
  • 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 out-patients 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.



If the patient in labour is confirmed or suspected 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


  • 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.



The following items are eligible to be dropped off for delivery to a patient's room:

  • Food or other personal items may not be dropped off for delivery to a patient's room.
  • Glasses, hearing aids, dentures, one personal cell phone/tablet, or clothing required for patients who are being imminently discharged may be dropped off at a hospital entrance and it will be taken to a patient's room.

Note that all personal items must be bagged and room tagged prior to delivery.



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.

  • The hospital supports the use of technology to connect with your loved ones through virtual options, like FaceTime, or telephone calls. Request a virtual visit HERE.
  • 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 to technology and assist with virtual visitation.
  • 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.