Visitor/Family Presence and Masking policies

In response to rising COVID-19 prevalence in southeastern Ontario, effective September 20, mandatory masking is required on all KHSC clinical inpatient units for all staff, physicians, volunteers, visitors and caregivers. Read the news story.

What will change effective September 20:

Masking will be mandatory in the:

  • All inpatient areas 
  • Emergency Department
  • Children’s Outpatient Clinic, and
  • Urgent Care Centre

Routine masking is strongly advised in the following areas providing care to patients at higher risk for more serious outcomes from COVID-19 infections: 

  • Renal Dialysis on Burr 3
  • Oncology Clinics

What will not change

  • All individuals will be supported in their decision to wear a mask.
  • Everyone will continue to have access to masks upon entry, as well as in all clinical areas.
  • Staff will be expected to don a mask when caring for patients who are wearing a mask.
  • Healthcare workers may ask a patient to mask as part of their point of care risk assessment.
  • Masks remain required for patients entering our hospital sites with respiratory symptoms.
  • Caregivers or visitors with infectious symptoms must postpone their visit until their symptoms have improved. If it is necessary for the caregiver to be present, then the caregiver is required to mask during their time inside the hospital.
  • Staff, caregivers and visitors will continue to have access to all personal protective equipment where required.

Please note that KHSC’s infectious disease experts will continue to monitor key COVID-19 indicators in our region .

The following changes have been made to our Family and Visitor Presence Policy:

  • Mandatory masking on all inpatient units for all visitors, caregivers and patients who leave their rooms.
  • Care Partners and Family/Visitors are welcome 24 hours a day according to patient preference.
  • The number of people welcomed at the bedside at any one time is limited to two (2) family/visitors.
    • However, when appropriate, exceptions to this limit will be explored and determined in collaboration with the patient, family/visitors and interprofessional care team at the unit level.  In situations where there are shared rooms, this discussion will include the other patient(s) and their family/visitors.
  • Eating shared food items at the patient’s bedside is discouraged.
    • Family/Visitors are permitted to bring in appropriate/safe external food for patients. However, for the comfort and safety of patients, family/visitors are asked to refrain from eating shared food items in patient rooms. Family/Visitors are encouraged to consume food items at designated eating areas within KHSC such as the Atrium or Café.
  • Children under the age of 14 years are welcome provided they are supervised by an adult who is not the patient.
  • Family/Visitors who are feeling unwell; have an infection; have symptoms of respiratory or flu-like illnesses should not come to the Hospital.
  • For the safety of our patients, family/visitors are required to perform hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub upon entering and leaving the patient’s room.
  • If an infectious outbreak is declared on a specific unit of care, family/visitor restrictions and/or Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) safety measures may be implemented.
  • There may be sudden temporary interruptions to family presence to protect the privacy rights of other patients or to maintain safety and security.