Visitor and Family Presence Restrictions

Due to COVID-19 infection, visitors are not permitted on the following units at this time:

  • Units in OUTBREAK:  Davies 5, Connell 3, Connell 9

INPATIENTS

As COVID-19 rates continue to rise rapidly in our region and include the presence of the more contagious Omicron variant we have made the following changes to our visiting policy. We know that for some patients and families, this will be upsetting news; however, this temporary step is necessary in light of the growing COVID-19 risk and will help protect our very sick patients and our staff who provide care.

  • For inpatients in-person family visits are temporarily paused, even when family members are fully vaccinated. Patients and families are asked to continue with only telephone or Virtual (e.g. Facetime) Visits until further notice.  Click here to request a Virtual Visit.
  • A fully vaccinated registered family member may be able to visit inpatients in the following circumstances where reviewed and approved by the clinical care team:
    • Patients having surgery:  May have one family visitor the day of surgery
    • People in Labour & Delivery:  May have one partner for the duration of labour and delivery. Please note the partner must be fully vaccinated and not have any of these risk factors: tested positive, or is a high risk contact, or is symptomatic of any infectious disease, or returned from international travel within 14 days. If the patient tests positive or is quarantined, no partners are permitted (unless the patient is a minor).

    • Postpartum patients:  May have one registered visitor
    • Pediatric patients:  May have up to 2 registered parent/adult caregivers  
    • Babies in the NICU:  May have 2 parents registered
    • Patients who are palliative:  May have 2 registered family members
    • Patients at the end of life:  May have 2 visitors at a time (maximum 6 registered)
    • COVID-positive patients who are imminently dying:  6 maximum registered visitors
    • Patients in Critical Care/Intensive Care Units: May have one registered family visitor
    • Patients from or awaiting long-term care homes:  May have one registered family visitor
    • Indigenous patients:  May have one registered family visitor
    • Patients in mental health units:  May have one registered family visitor
    • A small number of patients who have specific clinical diagnoses or conditions (e.g. those with diagnosed dementia or significant disabilities):  Please speak with your care team for more information.

Patients and families should speak to members of their care team for guidance on whether an exception could be made and vaccination requirements.

New requirements for registered family visitors

With exceptionally high COVID-19 infection rates in the province and Kingston area we are introducing a new process to better prepare people coming into the hospital to support a loved one.  We want to make sure you have the information you need to best protect yourself, your loved one, other patients and staff.

If you have questions or need someone to assist you, please contact our Care Partner Moderator at 613-548-3232, ext. 4622.  Thank you for helping to protect patients, families and staff in our hospital and community.

OUTPATIENTS

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination for a registered caregiver is not required at this time in cases where an exception has been granted for the outpatient to be accompanied by a caregiver. Outpatients are still encouraged to attend their hospital visit alone.

  • Emergency Department (ED) or Urgent Care Centre (UCC) patients:  

    The ED and UCC remain extremely busy with high volumes, which can quickly result in physical crowding. As a result, we continue to encourage patients who can attend alone to do so with a charged cell phone to facilitate communication with family. 

    PLEASE NOTE: Every effort will be made to allow one care partner to accompany the particularly vulnerable patients listed below. These care partners may be asked to limit their time or may be asked to leave and return later if required to reduce immediate crowding concerns. The clinical team must continually evaluate overall safety in the unit, as well as safety of individual patients, and adjust as required, irrespective at this time of vaccination status of family members accompanying the following patients: 

    • patient at imminent risk of dying
    • paediatric patient younger than 18 years
    • patient with significant developmental, physical or intellectual disability
    • patient with cognitive impairment (Examples: severe dementia, brain injury, stroke, delirium/confusion)
    • patient with an insurmountable language barrier where all means of remote communication have failed
    • person presenting for acute mental illness/addiction care.
  • Adult outpatients (including diagnostics):  No family member/caregiver allowed at this time
  • Vulnerable adult outpatients:  If vulnerable (as defined above and as reviewed/approved by care team):  May be accompanied by 1 adult caregiver.
  • Pediatric outpatients (including scheduled visits in Children's Outpatient Centre and walk-in visits for Pediatric Urgent Care Centre):  May be accompanied by 1 adult caregiver (note: exceptions may be made by care team on a case-by-case basis)
  • Day surgery (invasive or interventional procedures/surgery) patients:  May have 1 adult caregiver. 
    NOTE: Due to space limitations in the Mohs Clinic (Hotel Dieu Hospital site), we ask that one adult caregiver accompany a patient ONLY if the patient has cognitive or mobility issues that would create issues if the person is left unattended for several hours at a time (i.e., if the person would need assistance in using the washroom or visiting the cafeteria).

What should you do?

  • If you have questions, please talk with your nurse or doctor.
  • 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.
  • We ask patients to keep family members and friends (i.e. those who are not visiting) updated on your health condition (or you may ask your registered family member to help you do this) in order to avoid having multiple family members call the busy nursing station for updates.  This will help us to make sure staff are available to support care needs on the unit.

Please visit www.kingstonhsc.ca and click on “COVID-19 Information” for the latest updates. Thank you for helping us to keep our patients, staff and community safe.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I am having surgery while I am a patient.  May I have a loved one come to visit?
A patient may have one fully vaccinated 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 your request for in-person support through visiting.

I don’t have my own telephone.  How can I call my family?
Most patient rooms are 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 COVID-19 cases are rising and we are seeing high numbers of people infected with the more contagious Omicron variant locally.  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 short while.  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.