Visitors and Care Partners

Starting on Monday, May 3, St. Mary’s General Hospital will be increasing the frequency with which patients can receive visitors. Earlier this year, as a result of the spread of COVID-19, the hospital restricted these visits substantially.

We’ve heard from staff, patients and their families about the importance of balancing safety and compassion, and have decided to make the following changes:

  • Inpatients are permitted 1 visitor once every 3 days for 1 hour, starting on the day of their admission. The visitor should remain the same person for the length of the admission where possible;
  • ICU patients (except ICU “C”) are permitted 1 visit every second day, for 1 hour. Visitors can change every week, or after 3 visits;
  • ICU “C” patients are permitted 1 visit for 1 hour during the ICU “C” admission; and
  • Generally, one support person will be permitted in the Emergency Room. At times, due to space limitations, staff may request support people exit the hospital until the patient is in a space with better ability to have the support person return.

Please note that active outbreaks may cause the hospital to temporarily suspend visits if needed.

Safety Measures in Place

Make no mistake: the third wave is here and it has added pressure to our hospital along with the rest of Ontario. That’s why we’re implementing a number of new safety measures to go along with our new visitor policy. These include:

  • Creation of new Wayfinder positions which will ensure:
    • That interaction between busy clinical staff and visitors is reduced;
    • That visitors don’t wander or get lost and that they wear appropriate PPE;
    • That visitors don’t overstay beyond their designated time; and
    • That visitors understand the reasoning for the new policies.
  • Maintaining clear documentation and communication for visitors
  • Limiting the time and number of people who can visit in a designated period of time

We also continue to encourage virtual inpatient visits, which can be arranged by contacting our Patient Experience Guides at ext. 1184 or patientrelations@smgh.ca.

We thank you for your continued flexibility as we work to continue accommodating everyone’s needs.

Special Circumstances

Clinical Care teams are empowered to make exceptions to expand or decrease in-person presence under special circumstances and for Essential Care Partners. Special circumstances include:

  • If the care team feels changes to in-person presence are required by the patient to make a marked improvement in the patient’s condition;
  • Patients that are in their final days of life; or
  • For patients that are suspect positive or COVID-19-positive, generally in-person presence is discouraged. If the health-care team deems a visit necessary, a planned visit will be coordinated with the care team prior to in-person presence in the hospital.

Essential Care Partners are those whose presence is required for the patient to communicate or for specific assistance. This may include care for patients that:

  • Are under the age of 18;
  • Require specific assistance due to a physical disability or condition of mental impairment (confused, disoriented or cognitively impaired); or
  • Are unable to communicate effectively with the care team, e.g., require a translator that the phone line translation service is not able to provide.

If you have questions, please contact Patient Experience at 519-749-6578, ext. 6867. You can also contact the Wayfinder Team at 519-744-3311 ext. 2128 or 2127.

Do you want to set up a virtual visit?

To ensure you are able to connect with your loved ones, we will be assisting in virtual and phone visits. To set up a virtual visit, please contact our Patient Experience Guide Team directly at 519-744-3311 ext. 1184 or email patientrelations@smgh.ca.

Families can also drop off new magazine/crossword puzzles for their loved ones at the screening station in the main lobby of the hospital. Please make a note of the patient name who is to receive the items.

Thank you for your patience and support as we work hard to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to check this page as well as our Twitter and Facebook pages for updates.

Elevator Safety

For safe use, the following guidelines are in place when using elevators:

  • Masks must be worn at all times
  • Maximum of six people in the elevator at a time
  • Maximum of two people with a stretcher patient
  • Spread out as much as possible
  • If elevator is full, please wait for the next one or take the stairs

Contact

For questions about our care partner policy, please contact Patient Experience at 519-749-6578, ext. 6867 or by email at patientrelations@smgh.ca.