Visitor Information

Updated: April 12, 2021

We know how important it is for patients to have family and friends by their side to support their care and recovery. Until we are back to normal, we are working to ensure that visits with patients will be as often as possible and as safe as possible for all.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns at patient.feedback@grhosp.on.ca. Below is more information that may be helpful to you.

Current visiting rules

GRH will work with patients identify ONE designated Care Partner** who will be approved to visit, by appointment only, for daily visits where possible (see table below for details). Outpatient areas can only support Care Partners for the exceptions noted below.

**Care Partners are individuals identified by patients or substitute decision makers as being essential for their well-being and providing direction in their care, and/or whose presence enhances their stay and contributes positively to their overall healing process. Visitors are those who want to provide well wishes. Visitors are not yet allowed to come into the hospital.

To be able to visit, Care Partners with an appointment must:

  • Present government issued photo ID to screeners at the door
  • Be screened for COVID symptoms/exposure at the door
  • Sanitize their hands and wear - at all times during the visit - a hospital provided mask
  • Not bring food or drink into the hospital
  • Not eat or drink while in hospital
  • Stay in the patient room or designated visiting area until they are leaving the hospital

All care partners will sign a form acknowledging that they understand these rules and will follow them. Care Partners who do not follow these protocols may be asked to leave, and have their visiting privileges revoked.

Why we need to limit visitors/care partners

We are limiting the number of people coming into the hospital to reduce the spread of illness, including COVID-19 to keep patients and staff safe.

Restricting to one care partner with the rules above, supports the safety of patients and staff by reducing the number of potential contacts/exposures. We have taken this measure as a result of the changing COVID-19 situation and the Provincial stay-at-home order currently in effect.

Exceptions

Sometimes there needs to be exceptions to the visiting restrictions currently in place, they are based on the following:

  • Patients at or near end of life or at high risk of last possible meaningful interaction
  • Patients who are critically ill, or receiving palliative care or receiving a potentially traumatic test result/prognosis
  • Partners of women in the childbirth program (women in childbirth are allowed one care partner or support person)
  • Patients experiencing a mental health crisis
  • Individuals providing care to a patient who would be at risk if the personal care provider or care partner were not available. This includes infants, children and adults/seniors with dependencies of some kind (such as communication, physical or cognitive impairments). “At risk” includes but is not limited to the potential for physical/psychological harm, delayed recovery, further decline, prolonged hospitalization and compromised treatment decision-making and care planning.

If you feel your case should be considered an exemption, please ask to speak with the manager of your loved one’s care team. You can also call the hospital at 519-749-4300, ext. 0 and ask to speak with the clinical manager of the area where your loved one is receiving care.

Below is a list of the hospital areas that are NOT yet offering one visit per patient per day with more information. The health and safety of our patients, staff and visitors is our main priority. Check back regularly for updates.

KW CampusCurrent Visiting ProcessWhy can't I visit every day?
Inpatient Surgery UnitWe are currently supporting patients to have two visits per week or more for exceptional circumstances.Not all patient spaces in this area can support physical distancing; we are looking at the spaces that can, and developing a process to stagger visits to reduce the risk of spreading illness.
Inpatient OncologyCare Partners are currently visiting with patients once per week for 30-60 minutes by appointment only. If patients stay longer than two weeks, they will be allowed two pre-scheduled visits per week. Some patients receive more visits due to exceptional circumstanceThis area cares for patients that are immune compromised. The team is planning for how more visits can be accommodated with physical distancing, and in a way that will be safe for these patients.
Freeport CampusCurrent Visiting ProcessWhy can't I visit every day?
GR4 - Geriatric Assessment Unit/Neuro Behavioural UnitCare Partners are visiting 1-2 times per week, more by exceptional circumstanceNot all patient spaces in this area can support physical distancing; we are looking at additional, available spaces and developing a process to stagger visits to reduce the risk of spreading illness.
Complex Continuing CareCare Partners are scheduled to visit based on care needs of the patient in collaboration with patients/familiesNot all patient spaces in this area can support physical distancing; we have a process to stagger visits, based on needs of the patient, to reduce the risk of spreading illness.
Other Hospital AreasCurrent Visiting Process
Medical ImagingWe are allowing patients 18 and under to bring a parent and/or guardian, and those patients who need help: to physically get to their appointment inside the hospital, with toileting and/or translation.
Emergency DepartmentWe are allowing one Care Partner to accompany patients into the emergency department to see the Triage nurse. Care Partners will not be able to remain with patients being seen in the ambulatory area (non-urgent needs) unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Children’s Outpatient ClinicPatients are allowed to bring one parent/guardian with them to appointments.
Pre-Surgical ClinicPatients may request to bring one Care Partner with them to their appointment. The Care Partner must stay in the room with the patient.
Day SurgeryPatients must meet exceptional circumstance criteria to have a Care Partner attend the hospital with them. Patients under the age of 18 may bring one parent or guardian with them. Care Partners of day surgery patients will be asked to leave the hospital and we will contact them at the phone number they provide.


Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect when I come to for my approved, scheduled, care partner visit?

You will be screened for symptoms when you arrive and asked to show government issued photo identification. Staff will ask you to sanitize your hands and provide you with a mask to wear. You must wear a hospital-issued mask at ALL times while in the hospital. At this time, we do not allow visitors to eat at the bedside with the patient they are visiting or bring food into the hospital. We also ask that you stay in the patient's room for the duration of your visit, unless you have been provided with special permission to leave the unit. All of these precautions are to reduce the spread of illness to others.

I’d like to visit a patient in the hospital and have just returned from travel outside of Canada, OR I live outside of Canada and have come to visit a patient in hospital:

All travelers from outside of Canada are required to self quarantine for 14 days on arrival to Canada as per the Quarantine Act.

For travelers coming back to Canada to visit an ill family member there is an exemption form that you must complete before your visit or after entering Canada that can exempt you from having to quarantine. Both a letter of support (from a doctor) and permission from a member of our senior team (VP/CEO) is required and must be approved by the Public health agency of Canada through Canadian Border Services Agency who will send a document back to the traveller to state they have limited release from the mandatory 14 days quarantine for the visit to the hospital. The hospital will need to see this proof of exemption from the Government of Canada with the name of the visitor, passport number, etc.

Am I required to wear a mask when I enter the hospital?

Yes. All patients and Care Partners, and staff and physicians who work in care areas are required to wear masks when they enter the hospital, and in clinical areas where physical distancing is not possible.

Can I visit if I wear my own mask?

At this time, no. Care Partners can visit by appointment only and must wear a hospital-provided mask. This is because we are not able to tell if masks that are sourced elsewhere have the same level of protection that our hospital grade masks provide.

I believe I qualify as an “exceptional circumstance” and should be allowed inside the hospital to accompany, or visit my loved one.

If you believe this is the case, please call the hospital at 519-749-4300, ext. 0 and ask to speak with the clinical manager of the area where your loved one is receiving care. If you have had your status reviewed and disagree with the outcome, please contact our patient relations department at patient.feedback@grhosp.on.ca.

I have an appointment at a hospital clinic. Can my friend/family accompany me?

No, not unless the criteria for an exceptional circumstance has been met (see above) and you have arranged this with the clinical area ahead of time. Most clinic area spaces are smaller and cannot easily support additional people and physical distancing. Please make arrangements with the clinic you are visiting before your scheduled appointment.

I believe I qualify as a Care Partner. How can I be allowed to visit?

Staff are working with patients in areas where we can accommodate visiting to identify Care Partners that can attend a scheduled visit. As we work through this process, staff will reach out by phone to discuss options with that individual. If you have questions, you may contact the care area of your loved one to discuss further

Since visitors restrictions are in place, how can I connect with my loved one?

None of us wants physical distance to become isolating for patients. Our staff will do what they can to help patients and families connect virtually and by telephone.

In an effort to help patients and families connect virtually and by telephone we are now offering free WIFI to our patients and caregivers. This network is “GRH-Guest-Wifi” and is now visible under your wireless settings for mobile devices and tablets.

Patients are encouraged to have their mobile phones with them. We have a limited number of bedside phones available which will be reserved for patients who do not have access to a mobile phone. There will be no charge for their use.

Please speak to your loved one's care team for more information.

When will you allow visitors back at the hospital?

We are working through processes with each area of the hospital to ensure that we have protocols and supports in place to accommodate visitors and ensure the health and wellness of all. Please check this page for updates.

If long-term care homes can accommodate visitors, why can’t you?

Many long-term care homes have been able to invite visitors to see their loved ones outside. This isn’t always possible in the hospital. Currently, we are still trying to reduce the number of people coming into our buildings to reduce the spread of illness to our staff and patients.

I have a surgery and was told to arrange for a family or friend to drive me home. Can they come into the hospital with me?

No. Staff will call your ride to let them know that you are ready and arrange a time to meet at the main entrance. Surgery staff will bring patients to the main entrance and outside the hospital where your ride will be waiting.


Childbirth

With the new COVID-19 restrictions who’s allowed to be with the mother during childbirth?

Expectant mothers are allowed one (1) designated support person that is healthy.

Is my midwife allowed as well as my partner?

Whether you have a doctor or a midwife, he or she is your health care provider and you are still allowed your 1 designated support person.

Please note: Doulas will not be permitted in the hospital unless chosen as the designated support person by the patient.

Would my mom and my partner be allowed to switch back and forth as my designated support person?

No, you are allowed one designated support person. Support people will be screened for COVID symptoms every time they enter the hospital. No other visitors will be permitted into the hospital. We also ask that you please plan ahead and bring everything to the hospital that the both of you will need for your entire stay to reduce the amount of times people come back and forth through the hospital.

What happens if my designated support person is sick/fails the screening?

They will not be permitted in the hospital. They will need to stay home and a healthy individual may be your support person.

What happens if I’m sick?

You will be cared for in isolation in the hospital.

Am I required to wear a mask while giving birth?

Yes. All staff, patients, and designated caregivers/support person are now required to wear a mask while in hospital. If you are unable to keep your mask on while giving birth, your care team will need to apply additional personal protective equipment.

Where can I get more information about having a baby at GRH?

Please visit our Childbirth program webpage.

Paying a bill

I need to pay a hospital bill. How do I do this if I am not allowed into the hospital?

Our patient accounts office in the Kaufman Building is now closed. Please contact our patient accounts team at the following numbers to arrange payment or for general inquiries 519-749-4300:

General Inquires: Ext 2352

Payments by Credit Card: Ext 7082

Payment Arrangements: Ext 3718