Essential caregiver presence and general visiting
Visitors and essential caregivers are important to the well-being of our patients and residents. As we are still in a pandemic, we continue to limit the number of people in our buildings. St. Joseph’s must continue to balance protecting everyone from COVID-19, while safely expanding access to visits with patients and residents, ensuring adherence to all public health measures. We strongly encourage essential caregivers and visitors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to entering our buildings.
Only one essential caregiver will be allowed to enter the hospital with you when you arrive for your appointment. To ensure the safety of our patients, all other caregivers or visitors will be asked to wait outside the building.
A patient who has mobility, cognitive or translation needs can identify/designate an essential caregiver. Based on space restrictions and the need for physical distancing, essential caregivers may be asked to wait outside the exam room.
Patients and residents of St. Joseph’s may have visitors based on specific criteria (outlined in the chart below) aligned with Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopening and Ministry of Long-Term Care directives.
Who qualifies as an essential caregiver?
An essential caregiver is a person identified and designated by the patient/resident – a family member, friend, neighbour – who provides important personal, social, psychological and/or physical support, assistance and care. An essential caregiver does not have to be living with the person they are supporting or biologically related to the patient/resident. An essential caregiver must be at least 18 years of age. The maximum number of essential caregivers that can be registered for each patient/resident varies by care area. Ask your loved one’s care team for details.
To arrange a visit, please call ahead
Many patient areas have limits on the number of persons permitted in a room at any given time, due to physical distancing protocols. As such, patients/residents, and all visitors must schedule visits in advance. Speak to the care team for details.
*Please be advised that general visiting may be paused within any area that has been placed on contact/droplet precautions for COVID-19 or is experiencing an outbreak.
Essential caregivers and visitors are welcome at any time of day, in advance consultation with the care team. Please note that quiet hours are from 10 pm to 7 am daily, to help promote a restful environment for our patients/residents’ well-being. See the chart below for further details on the number of essential caregivers, frequency and duration of visits permitted, based on the provincial Roadmap to Reopening and directives from the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
To protect everyone in our buildings from COVID-19, all visitors and essential caregivers must:
- Follow the permitted number of visitors/ visit frequency as outlined in the chart below;
- Visits must be pre-arranged. Patients/residents or visitors can request a visit through any member of the care team;
- Stay home if feeling unwell, have symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19;
- Any visitors who have traveled outside of the country must comply with the federal requirements for returning to Canada, including any quarantine requirements and COVID-19 testing.
- Pass all screening criteria for signs and symptoms of illness upon entry at designated entrances; if an essential caregiver or visitor fails screening, they will not be permitted to enter and visit at that time. This applies to both indoor and outdoor visits.
- Follow established infection control measures including continuously wearing the provided personal protective equipment (PPE), performing hand hygiene as directed and practicing safe physical distancing from other patients, staff and visitors;
- Not visit anyone other than the intended patient/resident and access designated visiting/care presence area(s) only;
- Adhere to any time restrictions as required (outlined in the below chart);
- Consider and explore with your loved one’s care team the opportunity for virtual visits as a way of reducing in-person visits;
- Inform the patient’s/resident’s care team immediately if symptoms develop either during or following a visit.
- We ask that all essential caregivers/visitors wear eye protection when inside our facilities. Eye protection and masks are available at the screening desk upon entry.
- Please be advised that general visiting may be paused within any area that has been placed on contact/droplet precautions for COVID-19 or is experiencing an outbreak.
*Essential caregiver presence or visits may be revoked as a result of ignoring or defying the requirements or policy guidelines, as it is essential that St. Joseph's protects the safety and health of all patients, residents, staff and essential caregivers.
Essential Caregiver and Visitor Restrictions Effective June 16, 2021*
*We are currently in Step Three
All essential caregiver and general visitor visits are determined in partnership with patients, residents and program areas to accommodate length and location of visits in keeping with infection prevention and control protocols. Virtual visits and telephone options can be arranged in consultation with the care team.
* Please be advised that general visiting may be paused within any area that has been placed on contact/droplet precautions for COVID-19 or is experiencing an outbreak.
(excluding palliative care and short stay surgery) All indoor and outdoor visits must be pre-arranged
|Indoor visits (at the bedside or in a designated indoor area):
• Up to two essential caregivers and one general visitor can visit for a total of up to two hours daily.
• In ward rooms, more than one patient at a time may have visitors at the discretion of the care team and if physical
distancing is possible.
• Up to five visitors daily, who have been screened and masked; physical distancing from other groups of five must
Patients in isolation:
• Daily, at the bedside, one essential caregiver can visit up to two hours with required personal protective equipment
Day passes and overnight stays:
• Available for fully vaccinated patients, proof to be provided. Passes can be alone, with staff or with essential
caregivers. Those on overnight stay, must be tested and be placed on precautions upon return until negative result
|Outpatient appointment/procedure||One essential caregiver for duration of appointment|
|Urgent Care Centre (UCC) patients||One essential caregiver for duration of UCC visit|
|Short stay surgery (Estimated length of stay less than three days)||Two essential caregivers in consultation with the care team.|
|Palliative Care||No limit on number of essential caregivers; no limit on frequency; maximum of two caregivers and one general visitor daily or in consultation with the care team|
|Actively dying||No limit on number of essential caregivers; no limit on frequency; maximum number of caregivers per visit to be
determined with the care team
|*Long Term Care and
Veterans Care Program
All indoor and outdoor visits must be pre-arranged
• Residents may have up to two general visitors and two essential caregivers at a time for an indoor visit (a maximum
of 4 visitors at a time).
• Indoor visits can occur in the resident's room or other designated areas.
• Residents may have up to 10 people at a time for an outdoor visit.
• Outdoor visits can take place in the immediate vicinity of the home.
*As per Ministry of LTC Directive (Dec. 7, 2020) as well as their COVID-19 Visiting Policy (supplement document: "COVID-19: Visiting Long Term Care Homes"-July 7, 2021). This policy is intended to supplement Directive #3 and the Minister's Directive, as well as to support homes in implementing the requirements in Directive #3 to safely receive visitors while protecting residents, staff and visitors from COVID-19.