Visitors and Care Partners

Care Partners

UPDATE: December 26, 2020

With Ontario entering a province-wide lockdown on December 26 to curb the spread of COVID-19, St. Mary’s has made a very difficult decision to heighten restrictions on inpatient access to Care Partners. By reducing the number of people in our building it will lower the risk of the virus potentially being transmitted to patients and staff.

“While we regret having to make these further adjustments, we must take do all we can to keep those in our care, and those providing care, as safe as possible,” said St. Mary’s President Lee Fairclough. “These measures are temporary and will be evaluated after 28 days with revisions made as we are able.”

On December 26, the following changes to our Care Partner policy come into effect for inpatients:

  • 1 visit for 1 hour every 7 days is permitted.
  • Outbreak units are not permitted any Care Partner visits.
  • Virtual and phone visits will be enhanced to help patients and their loved ones connect.

Our COVID-19 Screeners will track the weekly visit for each inpatient for contact tracing purposes.

In addition, exceptions will be made for the following.

Special Circumstances

Clinical Care teams are empowered to make exceptions to expand or decrease Care Partner presence under special circumstances, with the intention that these are not restrictive or deny patients’ access to essential Care Partners at times. Essential Care Partners are those whose presence is required for the patient to communicate or to make a marked improvement in the patient’s condition.  Special circumstances may include care for patients that are:

  • under the age of 18,
  • terminally ill and near end of life,
  • require specific assistance due to a physical disability or condition of mental impairment (confused, disoriented or cognitively impaired)
  • Unable to communicate effectively with the care team, e.g., require a translator that the phone line translation service is not able to provide

“While we are attempting to reduce traffic in our building at this time, I do want to stress, that anyone needing emergency care should not hesitate to come to our Emergency Department,” said Ms. Fairclough. “Strong infection control measures are in place for patients to safely receive care.”

“We appreciate the support of our families and community as we make every effort to maintain our staffing levels and hospital bed capacity during the challenging weeks ahead in the pandemic,” she added.

If you have questions, please contact Patient Experience at 519-749-6578, ext. 6867.

To ensure you are able to connect with your loved ones, we will be assisting in virtual and phone visits. 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


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