General Visiting Guideline

Based on guidance from Public Health Ontario (Interim Infection Prevention and Control Measures based on Covid-19 Transmission Risks in Health Care Settings) our region currently meets criteria for a “low risk phase” for COVID-19 transmission.

  • June 28: Care Partners are no longer required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Inpatients are invited to have two vaccinated visitors (visitors must be 18+;no children are permitted at this time ) visit them each day, either together or one at a time.
  • Visiting hours are from 9 am - 9 pm, during the week and on weekends.
  • Inpatients no longer have to have only designated Care Partners visit.
  • Patients in ambulatory care areas are invited to select one vaccinated Care Partner to accompany them.
  • We will continue to accommodate visits within standard visiting hours, without a time limit. Care Partners/visitors may have in and out privileges during the day.
  • All other COVID protocols will remain in place, in alignment with our regional hospital partners.

Care Partners/visitors must:

  • Review a care partner visiting agreement. This agreement outlines steps care partners must follow for the safety and wellness of all (masking, physical distancing, full vaccination);
  • Pass COVID screening; you can view screening questions here.
  • Check in with the patient's care team before visiting to ensure the patient is currently able to have visitors. You may have to arrange an appointment time to visit, depending on the patient's care needs; and
  • Be patient with and kind to our staff, we are doing our best to support visiting as quickly as possible AND keep patients and staff safe. Abuse will not be tolerated and may result in visiting privileges being revoked.

Care Partner outdoor visiting guidelines

Now that the weather is getting warmer, we understand that you may want to visit with your loved one outdoors.

If you choose to visit with a patient outside of the hospital, please ensure that you follow the same guidelines as above. Do not visit outdoors if you are feeling unwell, have tested positive for COVID-19, are awaiting COVID test results or have been exposed to COVID-19 within the last 10 days.

As a reminder, smoking is not permitted on hospital property.

Exceptions: We recognize that each patient’s circumstance and needs are different and may allow for exemptions to our guidelines. Exemptions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the manager of the area where the patient is receiving care. For more information about this, please review the information included below, or call 519-742-3611 and ask to speak to the manager of your loved one’s care area to discuss. We continue to look at ways to safely expand visiting.

Information for patients coming to ambulatory (outpatient) clinic appointments:

To protect our patients as much as possible, we need to maintain physical distancing where possible. In many outpatient areas, we have smaller waiting rooms, which make this a challenge. Below are guidelines for visiting our outpatient units.

· Medical Imaging: Patients may bring one Care Partner. Please call the department at 519-749-4262 in advance of your appointment to make these arrangements of if you have questions.

· Emergency Department: All patients are allowed to bring one Care Partner to accompany them.

· Children’s Outpatient Clinics: Children may be accompanied by two Care Partners (e.g. parent or guardian). No siblings or other children are permitted at this time unless an exception is requested and approved.

· Inpatient Children's Programs (including Neonatal Intensive Care Unit): Two Care Partners/parents can be present together at the baby’s bedside during the day but only one can stay overnight (Based on availability for NICU, as we have a limited number of sleep rooms).

· Pre-surgical clinic: Please call the hospital at 519-742-3611 and ask to speak to the pre-surgical clinic manager to request a Care Partner for your visit to the pre-surgical clinic.

· Day surgery: Patients may have one Care Partner accompany them. While the patient is in surgery, Care Partners will be asked to wait outside of the hospital.

Grand River Regional Cancer Centre: All patients are allowed to bring one Care Partner to accompany them. If more than one Care Partner wishes to participate in appointments with clinicians (e.g. consultation or follow up appointment with physician, social work, dietitian etc.), we ask the additional Care Partner(s) participate via the patient or attending Care Partner’s cell phone. Flip phones are available at the cancer centre for those without access to personal cell phones.

Exceptions for Care Partners of patients coming to the Childbirth Program

· Childbirth patients may identify two Care Partners to support them during labour, birth and postpartum.

· After the baby is born, only one Care Partner will be allowed to stay overnight.

· During obstetric triage visits, one Care Partner may accompany the patient.

· Two Care Partner may accompany the patient for outpatient visits. This includes obstetric appointments and newborn appointments (no siblings are permitted at this time).

· If the patient is suspected of having COVID-19 or is COVID positive, their Care Partner must remain in the room with the patient in isolation. Meals will be provided.

Please note that midwives are registered health care professionals. You do not need to designate your midwife as a ‘Care Partner’; they will be able to join you in hospital just like the rest of our GRH childbirth team. Doulas, however, are unregistered support people. If you wish to have a doula, they must be chosen as your ‘Care Partner’.

Exceptions for COVID-19 positive or COVID-19 suspect patients, and for patients on any unit that is currently in COVID-19 outbreak

Patients who have COVID-19, or are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test cannot have in-person visits, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

We do not allow in-person visits on units that have a current COVID outbreak, for the safety of patients and care partners. If you believe you are an exceptional circumstance, please call 519-742-3611 and ask to speak with the manager of the unit where your loved one is receiving care

We know that not every case is the same. “Exceptional circumstances” generally include:

· Patients 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;

· Patients experiencing a mental health crisis; and/or

· 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 warrants an exemption from our Care Partner guidelines, please call 519-742-3611 and ask to speak with the manager of the area where your loved one is receiving care.

Virtual visiting

In situations where an in-person Care Partner visit is not possible, our staff can support patients and families to connect virtually and/or by phone.

GRH offers free wireless internet (“GrandServe – Free patient Wifi”) inside the hospital to support virtual visiting.

Patients are encouraged to have their mobile phones with them. We have a limited number of bedside phones available which are reserved for patients who do not have access to a mobile phone.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Everyone coming to the hospital must sanitize their hands and wear a hospital provided mask at all times. When possible, please maintain a safe 2 metre distance from others.

If you are visiting a patient and have any signs or symptoms of illness, we ask that you stay home and do not visit.

At this time, we do not allow visitors to eat in hospital buildings 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.