UPDATED DECEMBER 17, 2021
Information for Patients & Families: Updated Guidelines for Visiting and Leaves of Absence
Due to the rising COVID-19 case counts and the highly transmissible Omicron variant in the province, Ontario Health has issued updated guidance directing hospitals to reinstate earlier restrictions on the number visitors in hospitals.
As of December 22, the following guidelines will be in effect for visiting, reflecting a reduction in the number of designated and designated alternate Essential Visitors/Care Partners permitted, as well as the number of visitors who may come to the Centre at one time.
• All patients may designate 1 Essential Visitor/Care Partner, and 1 designated alternate Essential Visitor/Care Partner.
• Children under 12 years of age will not be permitted to visit at this time.
• All patients may continue to have 1 scheduled daily visit for 1 hour with an Essential Visitor, or up to 3 hours with an Essential Care Partner (depending on the care being provided and unit capacity).
• Patients who are at the end of life (high risk of dying in the next 2 weeks) may have 2 Essential Visitors/Care Partners at the bedside, and may designate more than 1 alternate visitor.
• 1 Essential Visitor/Care Partner is permitted to accompany a patient attending an outpatient appointment if support is required related to cognitive, physical or communication-related challenges.
• Outdoor visits: Unfortunately, as we have very limited accessible outdoor space on our property due to the construction and patio closures over the winter months, we are unable to support outdoor visits.
• All Essential Visitors/Care Partners must show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. In order to be considered fully vaccinated, it must be at least 14 days since you received your second dose of a Health Canada-approved vaccine. All eligible patients and essential visitors/care partners are encouraged to get a third booster vaccine..
Proof of Vaccination
You can download your proof of vaccine QR code from covid19.ontariohealth.ca. You will need to show our screeners a digital or print copy of your QR code, along with proof of identity. You will need your OHIP card to download the QR code. Allow extra time for this process. If you haven’t downloaded your QR code, we will also accept digital or print copies of your original vaccine receipt, along with proof of identity.
Exceptions for unvaccinated visitors may be made under the following conditions:
• The visitor has an approved medical exemption
• The visitor is supporting a patient who is near end-of-life (i.e. actively dying, death expected within two weeks)
• The visitor is supporting a patient experiencing an urgent/time limited life-altering event, i.e. critical illness, mental health crisis; (note: patients who require long-term mechanical ventilation, through a tracheostomy or non-invasively, who are medically stable, do not meet the criteria of critical illness)
• The visitor is accompanying a patient attending an outpatient appointment for support related to cognitive, physical or communication-related challenges
Exceptions must meet the criteria above and be approved by the clinical care team, in advance of any scheduled visits. Proof of a medical exemption will be reviewed by our Appeals Committee. If an exception is approved, a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, received within 48 hours before the visit, is required. Rapid antigen tests are available at the entrances ONLY for visitors who meet the vaccination exception criteria AND have a special circumstance or emergency.
All visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to adhere to the following Infection Prevention Measures:
- All visitors must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival to the Centre. Visitors who do not pass WPHC screening tool, will not be allowed admission into the Centre.
- Patients and visitors are required to wear a medical mask at all times during the visit. A medical mask will be provided to visitors upon entering the building at screening.
- No In and Out privileges - when the essential visitor/care partner leaves the hospital they cannot return to the hospital on the same day.
- Social distancing (2m or 6 ft) must be maintained between patients and visitors during the visit.
- Hand Hygiene must be practiced upon entering the Centre, and during visit.
- No Eating is permitted during the visit.
Visiting Hours: 10:00am to 8:00pm, Monday to Sunday (including statutory holidays).
Scheduling visits: All Essential Visitors/Care Partners and alternate visitors must be approved by the care team, and visits scheduled at least 48 hours in advance
Designated Visiting Areas: Visits may take place at the bedside (1 visitor per room) or in one of the following designated areas, ensuring social distancing of 2m (6 ft) is maintained:
• Unit rotunda - maximum 4 patients & their visitors at one time.
• Auditorium - as group patient activities are resuming in the auditorium, we will make use of the space to accommodate visits around the patient activity calendar. A schedule will be posted at the main entrance weekly so visitors will know when the space is available.
• Cafeteria - may be accessed for visiting during “non-peak” hours (i.e. not between 11am-2pm Monday to Friday); NOTE: food is not to be consumed during the visit
Leaves of Absence
Patients may continue to leave the Centre to attend both essential and non-essential medical appointments, but other types of leaves may or may not be permitted, and will require approval by the clinical team. Leaves that may be considered include a day pass of < 5 hours for a family visit to a private home setting; or an outing of < 8 hours for a home/community visit to support or facilitate discharge. The patient will be required to follow enhanced infection control measures that include masking, maintaining social distancing, only visiting with vaccinated persons, following provincial limits to indoor gatherings (<10), and will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 upon return.
Outings to public indoor settings and overnight leaves will not be permitted at this time.
Please note: Guidelines will be updated upon receipt of new guidance which may occur on short notice.
To appeal any decision made regarding visitor access or vaccine proof requirement, please contact our Patient Experience Coordinator by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 416-243-3600 ext. 2337.