Visitors and Care Partners

Care Partners

As we continue to resume outpatient activity in hospital, combined with a decreasing level of COVID activity in the community, care partners will be allowed to be present with patients. The care partner will be an essential partner in the patient’s care and will be present to actively support them while they are admitted to hospital and/or attending an appointment or having a procedure. Please take the time to read through the guidelines below. For a quick overview, see the SMGH Care Partners One-Pager here.

A patient can name up to 2 care partners. Only 1 care partner will be permitted in the building and at the bedside at a time. When a patient is admitted to St. Mary’s, they will identify their 2 care partners.

In an outpatient, surgical or procedural area, a patient may bring with them 1 care partner, if criteria is met.

Inpatient and Emergency Room Guidelines

Each inpatient will be permitted up to 2 care partner visits, per day. Only 1 care partner may be at the bedside at a time.

A Care partner supports physical care and mental well being for:

  • Assistance with meals, mobility or personal care
  • Communication assistance with hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual or memory impairment
  • Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities
  • Provision of emotional support
  • Supported decision making
  • Supporting discharge if needed

 

Out Patient Settings/Surgical/Procedural Area Guidelines

For patients attending an outpatient procedure or surgical procedure, the need for a care partner will be confirmed during the pre-screening telephone call.

Our main priority is keeping our patients, care partners, staff and physicians safe. If we have the space to maintain proper distance and safety, care partners will be allowed to stay. If there is not adequate space, we ask that care partners bring the patient to the appointment and then leave while the appointment/procedure is taking place.

A care partner supports physical care and mental well-being for:

  • Assistance with mobility or personal care
  • Communication assistance with hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual or memory impairment
  • Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities
  • Provision of emotional support
  • Supported decision making

If criteria above is not met, then the patient coming to hospital for a procedure or diagnostic test will be dropped off at the door and the care provider will wait for a call from the hospital for instructions of when to pick up the patient. The care partner will have access to a washroom but will not remain on site while they wait for the patient.

 

Care Partner Entry & Screening

Upon entry to St. Mary’s General Hospital, care partners must identify themselves and the patient they are here to see. Screening staff will verify the location of the patient and collect your name and phone number for contact tracing purposes. Care partners must pass screening and then may proceed to the unit or appointment.

If more than one care partner arrives at the same time to see the same patient, we ask that you designate one care partner to visit at a time and exchange care partner roles outside of the hospital.

Once you complete screening, you will receive a sticker badge for you to wear while in hospital that will identify you as a care partner support person.

Upon arrival, care partners must answer the following COVID-19 screening questions below:

  1. Do you have a fever, new or worsening cough or difficulty breathing?
  2. Do you have a runny nose, sneezing or congestion?
  3. Do you have diarrhea or vomiting?
  4. Have you been advised by public health to self-isolate?

Once screening is complete:

  • If you pass screening, you will be asked to sanitize your hands, put on a care partner name tag, and put on a hospital-issued mask. Any masks from home will not be permitted. For more information on how to safely wear a mask, click here.
  • If a care partner does not pass screening, they will not be allowed to enter the hospital. A patient can identify an alternate care partner, if required. Exceptional circumstances may be granted for patients at end-of-life or the parent of a child under age 18 in the Emergency Department.
  • Care partners should enter the main entrance between 7:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Before 7:00 a.m. or after 6:30 p.m., care partners should enter St. Mary’s through the Emergency Department.

Care Partner Expectations In Hospital

  • Care partners will go directly to the patient’s room and will attempt to limit all over movements within the hospital.
  • Subway or Tim Hortons inside St. Mary’s are available for quick pick up. If you make a purchase, please proceed directly back to the patient’s room, or to a designated waiting area. Use of cafeteria seating is discouraged.
  • Care partners are permitted to use the public restrooms on the patient’s floor only.
  • Please refrain from leaving the patient’s room for cigarette breaks.
  • Please wear your hospital approved mask at all times. For more information, see the Universal Masking tab here.
  • Sanitize your hands often, including when you enter and exit the hospital and a patient’s room.

 

Virtual Visits

A virtual visit is an alternative to visitors physically coming into the hospital. Those who are not able to use their own device to communicate through audio or video calls can receive assistance. It is a free service and involves a SMGH facilitator helping to set up the visit using an iPad/android device provided by SMGH. Virtual visits can be initiated by the patient, anyone connected to the patient or a care provider within the hospital. Virtual visits are not intended for clinical use.

Contact Information

If you have any questions, please contact our Patient Experience Office at 519-749-6578 ext. 6867 or patientrelations@smgh.ca.

Other Visitor Information

St. Mary’s continues to have restrictions in place on visitors to the hospital. General visitors are not permitted at this time in order to  keep our patients, staff and hospital environment safe, and to control the spread of COVID-19.

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.

Parking

Effective July 1, the usual parking charges will apply to all patients, visitors and staff.

During April, May and June St. Mary’s offered free parking to all visitors and patients. As we begin to slowly and very gradually resume services, we will also resume normal parking operations across all sites.

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.