Visitors and Care Partners

Care Partners

As we continue to resume activity in the in hospital, care partners will be allowed to be present with patients. A care partner is an essential partner in the patient’s care and will 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.

visual showing one care partner. the rule is that one care partner is allowed in hospital at one time.Inpatients and those in the Emergency Department may have up to two Care Partners with them per day. Please note, only one Care Partner will be permitted in the building and at the bedside at a time. Care Partners must exchange roles outside the hospital. General visiting is not permitted at this time.

In an outpatient, surgical or procedural area, a patient may bring with them one 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 Expectations In Hospital

  • Understand that a patient can receive visits from up to two care partners each day but only one care partner can be in the hospital at a time. Care partner exchanges must be made outside the hospital.
  • Wear the mask at the door at all times. For more information, see the Universal Masking tab here.
  • Food and drink must be consumed in the cafeteria or taken outside. Food or drink cannot be consumed in the lobby or in waiting areas. If you need to get a drink or snack, Subway and Tim Hortons are available.
  • Sanitize hands often, including when entering and exiting the hospital and a patient’s room.
  • Maintain physical distance of two metres/six feet from other people where possible.
  • Reduce your travels in the hospital. Proceed directly to the patient room or to the department for the outpatient appointment. Plan to stay in the patient room for your entire stay.
  • Use the public restroom on the patient’s floor only or the public restroom in outpatient areas.
  • Please ensure your role as Care Partner focuses on your loved one only. If there are needs expressed by a roommate to your loved one, please reach out to the care team rather than become involved in the roommate’s care.
  • Care Partner presence, duration and involvement may be re-evaluated by the clinical team in an effort to support patients and ensure everyone’s safety. You may be asked to leave your loved one’s room and hospital during times of patient care or other periods where your presence may interfere with all patient needs.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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