COVID-19 pandemic information for patients, families and visitors

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to impact our community and the world, St. Joseph’s has taken all courses of action to proactively limit the spread of COVID-19. Our primary concern is always the health and well-being of our patients/residents and their families as well as our staff, physicians and volunteers.

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Various measures have been put in place at St. Joseph’s in accordance with guidance from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Long Term Care. Below is what patients and visitors can expect when coming to any St. Joseph’s site. This includes: St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Institute Main Building, Parkwood institute Mental Health Care Building, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care, Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care, and St. Joseph's Family Medical and Dental Centre.

Please note: Information provided here is subject to change.

Gradual reintroduction of scheduled services

St. Joseph’s is gradually reintroducing scheduled services that were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we are still in a pandemic, it may be some time before St. Joseph’s can fully open all services, which will require ongoing patience by our patients.

Coming for your appointment

Patients are being prioritized to ensure those most in need are seen first. Many patients will, unfortunately, continue to experience delays in receiving a face-to-face appointment. However, many programs and services will continue to serve patients virtually wherever possible.

Watch this animated video on what to expect when coming to St. Joseph's: 

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Important information for patients coming for care: 

You will be notified of your appointment: Patients will be notified directly when their procedure or appointment will be rescheduled. 

  • Please keep your appointment: It’s critical, for their health and safety, that patients do not miss a scheduled appointment. Those who cannot attend their appointment are asked to call their physician’s office or clinic so that the spot can be given to another patient. 
  • Our buildings are safe to enter: Stringent safety practices are in place to protect the well-being of patients. COVID-19 screening is done at entrances, all patients and essential visitors are provided with masks to wear while in our buildings, physical distancing is being maintained in our clinics and throughout our facilities, and specialized cleaning is done before and after each patient visit. See Information for ambulatory clinic patients and Screening at entrances.
  • Leave plenty of time: Screening at our entrances takes extra time. Only certain entrances are open for patients and essential visitors. Patients will be asked to remove their personal masks and gloves prior to entry and provided with a hospital mask. Please check which entrances you are permitted to enter and leave an extra 15 minutes for screening BEFORE your appointment check-in time. See Screening Entrances.
  • Your support person may not be able to come in: We continue to limit the number of people in our building and visitor restrictions remain in place. Patients who arrive for their appointment with a support person should be aware that they may asked to wait outside the building, depending on the patient’s needs.  See Restrictions on visitors/family caregivers.
  • Our Urgent Care Centre is open and safe: St. Joseph’s Urgent Care Centre is a safe place for individuals requiring care for non-life-threatening illness or injury. It is open 365 days a year and has on-site access to diagnostic imaging and laboratory services. See Information for Urgent Care Patients.
  • Help for sexual assault and domestic violence: St. Joseph’s Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Program is available 24/7, virtually and in person. See Help for sexual assault and domestic violence.

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Information for Urgent Care patients

Please be reassured: physical distancing doesn't mean avoiding hospital if you are sick and need care. Attend St. Joseph’s Urgent Care Centre, or one of LHSC’s Emergency Departments, if you have a serious health concern during the pandemic. However, if you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, please go to one of two London Community Assessment Centres.  If you have shortness of breath or are unable to catch your breath, call 911. Visit the Middlesex-London Health Unit for more information about what to do if you think you have COVID-19.

Patients who attend our Urgent Care Centre will be provided with a mask upon arrival and asked to wear it for the duration of their visit. Please do not come to Urgent Care wearing a mask or gloves from outside the facility. Doing so may pose an infection control risk to our patients and staff. Please avoid wearing gloves and use the alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is located at our entrances.

For more information on where to go for care, including when to go to St. Joseph’s Urgent Care Centre, versus LHSC’s Emergency Departments, visit our Urgent Care page.

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Information for ambulatory clinic patients:

Patients and their essential accompanying visitors who are attending outpatient appointments will be provided with a mask upon arrival and asked to wear it for the duration of their visit. We ask that you use our masks instead of wearing your own masks when attending your appointment. Please avoid wearing gloves and use the alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is located at our entrances.

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Screening at entrances

St. Joseph’s has initiated perimeter screening at all sites. This means that entrances to our buildings are restricted and active screening is in place for all staff/physicians, patients, residents and essential visitors. All individuals are required to enter through main entrances only. Signs will direct you. 

All staff/physicians, patients, residents and essential visitors will be actively screened upon entry at each facility. Those who fail screening will not be permitted to enter.

Please note: At St. Joseph's Hospital, the tunnel into the hospital from the Grovenor Street parking garage is closed, and the Cheapside parking garage is closed.

Site maps of screening entrances: 

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Essential (designated) caregiver presence and general visiting

St. Joseph’s current Essential Caregiver Presence and Visitor policy has been created in partnership with patient and family partners and is aligned with government directives. Our visiting hours and processes have been updated to protect everyone from possible exposure to COVID-19 while balancing the well-being of our patients and residents.

Inpatients (excluding those in end-of-life or palliative care)

Patients staying in hospital at St. Joseph’s (Parkwood Institute, Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care and/or St. Joseph’s Hospital) may have visits from essential caregivers with certain restrictions. General visitors are not allowed at this time.

  • Patients can designate two people as their essential caregivers.
  • Visits must be pre-arranged with the care team. Patients or designated essential caregivers can request a visit through any member of the care team.
  • How often and how long an essential caregiver can visit for must be decided with the care team.
  • Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 7 am to promote a restful environment for patient/residents’ well-being.
  • Caregivers must follow rules for health and safety at all times. Anyone who does not follow the rules will not be allowed to visit.

Download the Inpatient visit guidelines for further details.

End-of-life or palliative care patients

There is no limit to the number of essential caregivers patients who are at the end-of-life or palliative care may designate. When caregivers may visit and how many at a time depends on the care area. Please speak with the care team for further details. All essential caregivers must pass screening for COVID-19 before entering the building and wear a mask when in the building.    

Outpatients

In special circumstances, patients who have an appointment or procedure booked at St. Joseph’s may be accompanied by one essential caregiver if they require support for:

  • physical and/or emotional needs
  • cognitive impairment, developmental or intellectual disability
  • communication or language barrier
  • cultural needs
  • assessment/history that cannot be done with essential caregiver via virtual care or over the phone.

Please speak with your physician’s office or care team before your appointment to arrange for an essential caregiver to accompany you. Essential caregivers must pass screening at the entrance for COVID-19 before entering the building.

Veterans and long-term care residents

The Ministry of Long-Term Care has updated its directive on visiting in long-term care. This directive applies to residents at Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care and St. Joseph’s Veterans Care Program. This directive allows residents to choose two designated caregivers. These designated caregivers are considered essential visitors. They have more access to visit with residents then general visitors. However, they must still follow important safety measures.

  • Essential visitors (designated caregivers) are welcome between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm.
  • Scheduled indoor and outdoor visits with general visitors are also allowed.

Who is an essential visitor in long-term care?
Essential visitors (designated caregivers) are people:

  • visiting a resident at the end of their life or in palliative care.
  • who are a paid support worker (paid companion).
  • chosen by the resident or SDM. Residents may have two essential visitors (designated caregivers).
  • who provide essential support or service for a resident such as feeding or personal care.

Who is a general visitor in long-term care?
A general visitor is someone who wishes to visit a resident but is not considered an essential visitor or designated caregiver.

We welcome the chance for our residents to see their loved ones. We know how important those connections are for their well-being. We must also continue to protect everyone from COVID-19.

All designated caregivers and general visitors who would like to visit indoors must have been tested for COVID-19 within the past 14 days before their visit and received a negative result. Outdoor visitors and those visiting residents who are at the end of their life or in palliative care do not need to be tested.

Download further details on essential visitor (designated caregiver) visiting at Mount Hope or in the Veterans Care Program or general visiting at Mount Hope or in the Veterans Care Program in these fact sheets.

Answers to frequently asked questions are also available for download. 

Virtual visits, which have been facilitated by staff throughout the pandemic, are ongoing for veterans and residents. Please contact your loved one’s care team for more information on virtual visits.

Please note that priests, spiritual leaders, and community clergy will be allowed into our facilities for urgent needs only – serious illness and end-of-life situations, as assessed in consultation with medical staff, and in alignment with medical protocols and current visitor restriction policies. 

All individuals must pass screening at main entrances.

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Lab Test Centre at St. Joseph's Hospital

People are asked not to come to St. Joseph's Hospital for routine (non-urgent) lab work (blood work, urine testing, stool testing). Your physician can direct you.

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Help for sexual assault and domestic violence available 24/7

Do you need help? The same measures that are helping flatten the COVID-19 curve are contributing to a rise in domestic violence and sexual assault. St. Joseph’s Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Program is available 24/7, virtually and in person. A nurse is onsite at St. Joseph’s Hospital at all times who is specially trained to support those who have experienced an acute sexual assault and/or domestic violence, as well victims of human trafficking. Care and support are offered to individuals of all ages, sexual orientation or gender identity – at the time of the assault and in the months following.

There are many options for care. If you need help, call the program at any time, day or night, at 519-646-6100, ext. 64224.

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St. Joseph’s Family Medical and Dental Centre

St. Joseph's Family Medical and Dental Centre on Platt’s Lane is providing clinically essential care only for patients.  All other patients will be seen over the phone or through videoconferencing. Patients are asked to call to book an appointment. The centre’s evening clinic as well as the Dental Clinic is also seeing urgent cases only. 

Please note: COVID-19 testing is NOT being done at St. Joseph’s Family Medical and Dental Centre. Patients with significant symptoms (breathing difficulties) should go to the Emergency Department. 

Perimeter screening is underway at St. Joseph’s Family Medical and Dental Centre. Patients with appointments will be stopped at the front door and screened for COVID-19.

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COVID-19 cases at St. Joseph's

Patients:

  • St. Joseph's Hosptial: 0
  • Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care: 0
  • Parkwood Institute Main Building: 0
  • Parkwood Institute Mental Health Care Building: 0
  • Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care: 0

Staff:

  • Total number to date: 19

*Note: We conduct contact tracing for every positive individual, and only some cases can be linked to the health care worker role at St. Joseph's or employment elsewhere. 

This information is updated when cases numbers change.

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