Visitor and Family Presence Restrictions

KHSC respects and values family as integral partners in providing excellent patient care.  Effective April 4, 2022, our revised family presence policy allows for the increased presence of both “Visitors” (to support admitted patients) and “Caregivers” (to support patients coming for outpatient services).

Along with mandatory masking for all visitors, other infection control precautions including hand hygiene and physical distancing remain in place at KHSC.  Families and visitors who are unwell are asked to avoid visiting or accompanying patients at both KHSC hospital sites.

Declared Outbreaks/Watches due COVID-19:  A Watch is a form of heightened COVID-19 surveillance and is declared when a single case of COVID-19 is detected on a unit. An Outbreak is declared when two or more cases are acquired in the same hospital unit/area.  In both instances, restrictions will apply to admissions and visitors to the unit.

  • No units are on Watch or Outbreak at this time.

INPATIENTS

Admitted patients may register TWO approved Visitors. Patients can speak with their care team to identify their Visitor(s).  To reduce the risk of crowding in shared rooms and on busy clinical units, only ONE registered Visitor may be present at a time.  Visiting hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Visitors must be fully vaccinated, pass screening and be masked at all times, including at the bedside.  Visitors may not eat or drink in a patient room or visit anyone other than the patient they are registered to visit. Staff may inform the registered Visitor of a 3-hour time limit as required to support safe patient care.

Approved registered Visitors, including those who actively participate in a loved one’s essential care, are invited to complete this brief information session to learn more about protecting themselves, their loved ones, other patients and staff against the spread of COVID-19. 

Patients can also stay in touch with others through Virtual Visits. Click here to learn more about this free service and to request a Virtual Visit.  

Please note exceptions in the following circumstances:

  • Patient on quarantine:  No Visitors allowed until quarantine is cleared.
  • Imminently dying person (including pediatric patient or neonatal death):  May have 2 registered Visitors at a time (maximum 6 registered)
  • Imminently dying person who is COVID positive:  May have 2 registered Visitors at a time (maximum 6 registered)
  • Patients on day of surgery:  May have 1 Visitor the day of surgery
  • People in Labour & Delivery: 
    • Vaginal deliveries:  
      • May have 2 fully vaccinated support partners OR 
      • May have 1 unvaccinated support partner with negative rapid antigen test for active labour only. Unvaccinated support partner cannot visit after the delivery. 
    • C-sections: 
      • May have 2 fully vaccinated support partners OR 
      • May have 1 unvaccinated support partner with negative rapid antigen test. Unvaccinated support partner cannot visit after the delivery. 
  • Babies in the NICU:  Visitors scheduled by care team
  • Pediatric patients:  May have 2 registered Visitors (parent/guardian) at a time; this includes patients in the child and youth mental health unit  
  • Patients on day of discharge:  May have 1 Visitor (family phone meeting is still an option)

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Patients and families should speak to members of their care team for guidance about exceptions and/or vaccination requirements.

OUTPATIENTS

Patients coming for outpatient services, who feel they need a support person, may be accompanied by ONE (1) caregiver. A caregiver does not need to be registered but must pass screening and must remain masked throughout the visit.  Family presence may be restricted as required in some areas due to physical space limitations and high patient volumes.

Please note exceptions in the following circumstances:

  • Emergency Department or Urgent Care Centre patients:   May be accompanied by 1 Caregiver.  These areas are extremely busy with high volumes, which can quickly result in physical crowding.  Care teams have discretion to restrict family presence as needed in the interests of safety and patient care.
  • Pediatric outpatients:
    • In the ED/UCC:  May be accompanied by 2 Caregivers (parents/guardians). The care team may further restrict family presence as needed in the interests of safety and patient care.
    • In Mental Health & Addiction Care:  May be accompanied by 2 Caregivers (adults/guardians)
    • In Children’s Outpatient Centre: For booked visits, the patient may be accompanied by 2 Caregivers.  For Pediatric Urgent Care Clinic visits, a second Caregiver will be allowed on a case-by-case basis only.
    • In Diagnostic Imaging:  May be accompanied by 2 Caregivers.  Exceptions may be made by care team on a case-by-case basis.
  • Cancer Centre/Renal program:  Will continue to have an approved Caregiver enter if the patient is identified as vulnerable.  All other cancer/renal outpatients will be permitted 1 approved Caregiver who must wait outside the KGH site before being called to come in, screen and then join their loved one in the room where the care is taking place.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are these changes permanent?
We continue to monitor numerous factors including COVID-19 prevalence in the community and to update and expand visiting when we can do so safely.  Patient advisors provide advice and input into all family presence (visitor) policies.

Are there other ways my family can stay in touch with me?
If you have a cell phone or other device, we encourage you to stay in touch with others and between visits 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.

I am scheduled for surgery.  How many Visitors can come to day surgery?
Due to the small space, only one Visitor may escort a patient to surgery. If you are an inpatient, your other registered Visitor can see you at separate times when you are back in your room, remembering that only one Visitor may be in the hospital at a time.

As a Visitor, how can I help protect myself and others from infection?

  • Wear a mask at all times over the nose and mouth, including when visiting at the bedside and even when fully vaccinated. 
  • Only use public washrooms (located in the main lobby or on each floor), not patient washrooms.
  • Do not eat or drink in patients’ rooms.
  • Do not visit any other areas of the hospital when you are here to see your loved one.