Visitor and Family Presence Restrictions

Due to the province-wide shutdown to curb the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are changing our visiting policy to permit fewer registered visitors to our hospital sites.

We know that for some patients and families, this is upsetting news.  However, this temporary step is necessary to help protect our very sick patients and our staff who provide care.  We must all work to keep our hospital and our community safe from COVID-19 so that we can provide highly specialized care in our region.  In some cases, we are the only hospital between Ottawa and Toronto that delivers that level of acute care.

During the shutdown, most visits from registered family members are paused.  

ONLY the following patients can be attended/accompanied by a registered adult visitor/caregiver:


  • Patients at end of life (including patients who have tested positive for COVID-19):  These patients may have 2 registered family members. 
  • Patients who are palliative (death is not imminent): The patient may have 1 registered daily visitor.
  • Surgical patients:  Admitted patients can have 1 registered family member with them on their day of surgery. 
  • Women in labour:  Women in active labour may have 1 registered adult family member with them for the duration of labour and delivery.
  • Pediatric patients: Paediatric patients on all inpatient units, including children/youth in the mental health program, may have 1 parent visit at a time; up to 2 adults can be registered to visit. 
  • NICU patients:  Babies in the NICU may have 2 parents registered (please consult with the Charge Nurse for the latest information). 
  • Critical care patients: 
    • A patient on quarantine or awaiting test results due to COVID-19 may not have family presence unless the patient is imminently dying.
    • A non-COVID patient is allowed 1 daily registered visitor.
  • Patients from or awaiting long-term care homes:  Allowed 1 registered daily visitor.
  • Patients on the mental health units: Allowed 1 registered daily visitor.
  • Patients who have specific clinical diagnoses or conditions (e.g. dementia or significant disabilities):  Allowed 1 registered daily visitor as reviewed and approved by care team.


  • Emergency Department or Urgent Care Centre patients:  Patients who are particularly vulnerable (e.g., those with intellectual/developmental disability or limitations, severe frailty, acute mental crisis, critical/palliative illness) may be accompanied by 1 person as reviewed and approved by care team. Pediatric patients coming to the ED, UCC or Children’s Outpatient Centre may be accompanied by 1 adult caregiver. Please note that some flexibility around family presence may be required to ensure that the clinical team can maintain appropriate physical distancing for safe care.
  • Adult outpatients:  If particularly vulnerable (as defined above and as reviewed/approved by care team), the patient may be accompanied by 1 adult caregiver.
  • Day surgery patients:  The patient may be attended by 1 adult caregiver.  NOTE: This does not include Mohs or endoscopy patients at the Hotel Dieu Hospital site.

What can you do at this time of increased visiting restrictions?

  • If you have questions, please talk to your nurse or doctor.
  • If you have a cell phone or other device, we encourage you to stay in touch through phone calls and virtual visits.  If you need help with this, we have a free Staying Connected program where a trained staff member or volunteer will bring a cleaned, charged device to a patient and help facilitate a virtual visit.
  • Continue checking this website for the latest updates and review the Frequently Asked Questions below.

Thank you for helping us to keep our patients, staff and community safe.


I am having surgery while I am a patient.  May I have a loved one come to visit?
A patient may have one loved one come to the hospital to visit the day of their surgery.  Please ask the nurse or unit clerk to help you register a loved one for the day of the surgery.

My loved one is a patient and has dementia and is often confused.  May I visit?
Please speak with your doctor or nurse about your loved one’s dementia and a plan for you to provide in-person support through visiting.

I don’t have my own telephone.  How can I call my family?
Every patient room is equipped with a telephone.  Please speak with a staff member on the floor if you need help reaching the phone to call loved ones.

Are these changes permanent?
These changes are being put in place as Ontario enters another lockdown.  We will continue to update and make changes as soon as we safely can do so.

I am scheduled for a short stay in hospital.  May I have a visitor?
Unfortunately, most patients will not be able to have in-person visits for the next few weeks.  We encourage you to keep in close contact with your loved ones by email, telephone, or virtual visits using a mobile device or through our free Staying Connected virtual visiting program.


Essential Care Partners: Important safety information 
Keeping our patients and staff as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic is a top priority and we need your help. Please partner with us to keep all of our patients and staff safe by reviewing this important information before you come to KHSC as an essential care partner/caregiver for or with one of our patients.
Review this information, here.

Additional guidelines for families/loved ones visiting our sites
If you are accompanying someone to the hospital or you are a registered inpatient visitor, please read the following:

Frequently Asked Questions
For more information plus  Frequently Asked Questions about our temporary family presence (visitor) policy, click here.

Below, listen to Elizabeth Bardon, Vice President of Mission, Strategy Integration and Support Services, share information about our Family (Visitor) Presence Policy during the COVID-19 pandemic.