Visiting during the COVID-19 pandemic

Visitation summary for visitors/support persons who are visiting a patient/resident or accompanying a loved one to an appointment/hospital.

Visitation Summary Chart

Patient presenting to the emergency room for care

One (1) person may accompany the patient/client.

Note: The clinical care team will accommodate one support person in the treatment area when requested by the patient and if sufficient space is available to do so safely.

Patient/client attending outpatient appointments (e.g. clinic or hospital)

One (1) person may accompany the patient/client.

Note: The clinical care team will accommodate one support person in the treatment area when requested by the patient and if sufficient space is available to do so safely.

Inpatient
in hospital

Two (2) people may visit at the same time.

Note: Some areas/units may not be able to accommodate two visitors at the same time due to the space available and physical distancing requirements.

Resident in
long-term care

Two (2) people may visit at the same time.

Note: Some areas/units may not be able to accommodate two visitors at the same time due to the space available and physical distancing requirements.

COVID-19 screening: Visitors/support persons are directed to self-screen for COVID-19. Patients and clients are screened at registration.

Limited visitation: Visitation may be limited in areas of COVID-19 outbreak depending on the circumstances and severity.

Mandatory masking: Wear a well-fitted medical mask upon entry to all health-care facilities and in all patient/resident care areas (including while visiting patient/resident rooms, hallways, and lobby/waiting areas). Cloth masks and masks with exhalation valves are not permitted.

Physical distancing: Whenever possible, please maintain physical distancing from others while in all Eastern Health facilities. Please also follow any signage for physical distancing in cafeterias and other common areas.

Hand hygiene: Wash hands regularly.

There is currently temporary limited visitation or visitor restrictions in place at the following sites/units/areas. While temporary visitor restrictions are in place, each resident/patient on the impacted unit or facility is permitted to have one designated visitor, unless otherwise communicated by the care team. Palliative care and end-of-life visitation should be discussed with the health-care team.

Please note that additional areas/units may be impacted by limited visitation or visitor restrictions due to COVID-19 or other outbreaks. In these circumstances, immediate family members will be notified directly.

COVID-19 screening for visitors/support persons:

  • Visitors/support persons are directed to self-screen for COVID-19.
  • Visitors/support persons are directed to follow signage at health-care facilities and must meet the self-screening requirements before proceeding inside of the health-care facility. In addition, visitors/support persons can complete self-screening prior to arrival at the facility by visiting Eastern Health’s ‘Screening and COVID-19 Testing’ webpage at https://www.easternhealth.ca/covid19/screening-and-covid-19-testing/.
  • Visitation is not permitted if the support person/visitor is symptomatic (i.e. experiencing any one or more symptoms of COVID-19) or self-isolating (except in specific situations such as labour and delivery and end-of-life visitation and only in consultation with the patient/resident’s clinical care team).

Mandatory masking:

  • Visitors/support persons must wear a well-fitted medical mask upon entry to our hospitals and other health-care facilities and while in all patient/resident care areas, including while visiting patient/resident rooms and in hallways and lobby/waiting areas that are accessible to patients, residents, or clients who are there for care or services.
  • Visitors/support persons can wear their own medical mask or wear a mask provided at the health-care facility. Cloth masks and masks with exhalation valves are not permitted.
  • Individuals who require a new medical mask are directed to take a mask from a masking station at the facility.

Visitation guidelines and additional protocols

  • Inpatients in a hospital setting and residents of long-term care homes, personal care homes, community care homes and assisted living facilities can have two visitors at the same time.
  • Patients and residents are no longer required to identify designated visitors and support persons for visitation. Visitors/support persons are permitted with no more than two visitors at the same time. A support person is included as one of the two visitors during visiting hours. If a patient, resident or loved one feels that a support person is required for additional support or assistance outside of regular visiting hours, they should discuss their request with the clinical care team.
  • Please note that some areas/units may not be able to accommodate two visitors at the same time due to the space available and the need to maintain physical distancing requirements. In these cases, clinical care teams will work with families to identify visitation options.
  • Perform hand hygiene: Clean your hands with hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Physical distancing is recommended: Whenever possible, please maintain physical distancing from others while in all Eastern Health facilities. Please also follow any signage for physical distancing in cafeterias and other common areas.
  • Limited visitation, in consultation with the care team, can occur at sites where a COVID-19 outbreak has been declared, including visiting a COVID-19 positive patient/resident; in these circumstances, personal protective equipment must be worn for the visit as per protocol. In addition, visitation may be limited in areas of COVID-19 outbreak depending on the site circumstances and severity of the outbreak. Families will be advised in the event visitation is restricted.
  • Support persons/visitors must follow all precautions as instructed by staff and physicians as well as COVID-19 safety protocols in place at health-care facilities (e.g. screening, mask requirements, and appropriate use of additional personal protective equipment, as required).
  • Labour and delivery patients may have one support person and one doula attend labour and delivery.
  • Virtual visitation can be an alternate way to connect with loved ones during these visitor restrictions. To arrange for a virtual visit, please discuss your request with the care team.

Resident absences from homes/facilities 

Residents of long-term care homes, personal care homes, community care homes and assisted living facilities are able to leave the home/facility under the following circumstances: 

  • essential shopping, banking and medical appointments; 
  • visit family at home; and, 
  • outings such as a drive or dinner.  

It is recommended that residents limit interactions with large groups of people, wear a mask and follow infection prevention and control guidance when in the community.

Out-patients appointments and Emergency Department patients: Patients attending outpatient clinics and emergency departments can have one support person accompany them to hospital. In keeping with public health guidance to reduce the number of contacts wherever possible, patients are asked to carefully consider the necessity of bringing a support person for appointments at ambulatory clinics (e.g. appointments at hospitals and chemotherapy/radiation appointments) or when presenting to an emergency room. To support that guidance, patients who can safely manage their interaction for out-patient care without assistance/support should attend unaccompanied. Patients who are accompanied by a support person should be aware that during peak times, support persons who have remained in the waiting area may be asked to wait outside the facility, if possible, to ensure adequate space is available in the waiting area for patients. The clinical care team will accommodate one support person in the treatment area when requested by the patient and if sufficient space is available to do so safely.

Public health guidance

  • All visitors/support persons will be required to adhere to public health guidance at health-care facilities to ensure the safety of patients/residents and staff.
  • Those who are required to self-isolate are permitted to visit/provide support in certain situations for obstetrics and end-of life care and are asked to discuss visitation with the patient/resident’s health-care team before visiting.

Precautions around confirmed/suspect cases of COVID-19

  • Patients/residents who are suspected to have COVID-19 must wear personal protective equipment for the visit as per protocol.
  • If a patient/resident is confirmed COVID-19 positive, limited visitation can occur in consultation with the care team.
  • As well, anyone who is feeling unwell or sick should not visit patients/residents.

Other details

Visitor restrictions during the pandemic have been critically important to the safety of our patients, staff and physicians. We would like to thank the public for their understanding and co-operation during this time.

For more information, please see our Public Service Announcements:

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Last updated: 2022-11-18