December 24th, 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.
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.