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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.

In an effort to continue to take steps to keep our patients and staff safe within our facilities, St. Mary’s General Hospital has decided collaboratively with other hospitals within Waterloo-Wellington to maintain our mask mandates for all staff, visitors, and patients indefinitely at this time.

Even as many of the remaining masking mandates were lifted on June 11th, we will continue to provide masks to everyone upon entry to the hospital that must be worn for the duration of their time in the building. Patients as well will continue to be asked to wear a mask whenever they are not in their room, if they can tolerate.

Care Partners will be required to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing. Inpatients can have up two Care Partners visit per day who can visit one at a time or together. Care Partners will have in and out privileges but cannot eat or drink in the hospital. We ask that you try to avoid visiting during meal times (Breakfast 7:45am-8:30am; Lunch 11:45am-12:30pm; Dinner 4:45pm-5:30pm) unless assisting a patient. Patients that are in units with an ongoing outbreak will not be permitted Care Partner visits. 

One Care Partner will be permitted to accompany patients in the Emergency Department.

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.

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:

  • Maintaining clear documentation and communication for visitors
  • Limiting the 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. 

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.