Text size
Home / Patients & Visitors/ Visitors & Care Partners

Visitors & Care Partners

Care Partners play an important role in a patient’s healing journey. St. Mary’s must balance the needs of our patients with the responsibility to do everything we can to keep our patients and staff safe.

There are many patients in our hospital who are very ill and at a much higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19. As a hospital, it is our responsibility to do everything we possible can to protect everyone in our care.

Public Health Ontario has extended mandates and guidelines for higher-risk settings, such as hospitals. Care Partners will be required to continue to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination and show their enhanced vaccine certificate, wear a mask and maintain physical distancing. Patients can identify up two Care Partners, but only one person can visit each day for up to two hours. Patients that are in units with an ongoing outbreak will not be permitted Care Partner visits. These mandates apply to all regional hospitals as we continue to follow the provincial guidelines to keep everyone safe.

We appreciate your cooperation, patience and understanding as we each do everything we can to protect those we care for and work with during these very challenging times.


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 translation service St. Mary’s is unable to provide.)

If as a Care Partner you are feeling unwell, please stay home. This will help us continue to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, patients and community.

Enhanced Vaccine Certificates

Ontario’s enhanced vaccine certificates contain a QR code that tells us if a person is fully vaccinated or has an active exemption. Your information is not tracked or saved. They are required for Care Partners to enter St. Mary’s.

How to get your enhanced vaccine certificate:

How to show your QR code:

  • Download your enhanced vaccine certificate to your phone and have it ready on your screen to be scanned by St. Mary’s Screening Team or
  • Print a copy of your QR code and present your paper copy to be scanned.

Don’t have a mobile phone or printer?

If you don’t have a mobile phone, a printed copy of your enhanced vaccine certificate can be used. If you don’t have a printer, the following can help print this for you:

  • Your local library
  • ServiceOntario locations
  • A trusted friend or family member

Need assistance?

Follow these step-by-step instructions on how to download, save and/or print your enhanced vaccine certificate.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Required at All Times

It is imperative that visitors keep their masks on at all times and refrain from eating or drinking during their visit. These important steps keep our hospital safe for our staff, patients and their families by reducing the spread of COVID-19.

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

Safety Measures in Place

COVID-19 has added additional pressures 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

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.

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 patientrelations@smgh.ca.