Essential (designated) caregiver presence and general visiting

Essential caregivers are important to the well-being and quality of life of our patients and residents. Because we are still in a pandemic, St. Joseph’s 'Essential Caregiver Presence and Visitor policy' has been created in partnership with patient and family partners and is aligned with current government directives, to protect everyone from possible exposure to COVID-19.

We continue to limit the number of people within our buildings. At this time, general visiting across all of our facilities is not permitted. However, essential (designated) caregivers are welcome, as outlined in the chart below, in consultation with care teams.

Who qualifies as an essential/family 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/family 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

Patients/residents or any designated essential caregiver can request visiting privileges through any member of the care team, who will then take the request to their leader. Approval for visiting must be obtained in advance.

Visiting hours

Essential caregivers are welcome at any time of day, in advance consultation with the patient/resident 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. The chart below outlines the number of essential caregivers, frequency and duration of visits permitted, based COVID-19 provincial response frame work. 

Essential caregivers accompanying outpatients

Those accompanying outpatients attending a clinic appointment or the Urgent Care Centre will only be permitted to enter the building if deemed essential based on the needs of the patient. Otherwise, caregivers will be asked to wait outside of the building. 

To reduce the number of people in our buildings and minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19, essential caregivers are required to:

  • Follow the permitted number of essential caregivers/visit frequency as outlined in the chart below;
  • Obtain approval from a member of the patient’s care team in advance. Visits must be pre-arranged. Patients or designated essential caregivers 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;
  • Pass all screening criteria for signs and symptoms of illness upon entry at designated entrances; if an essential caregiver fails screening, they will not be permitted to enter and visit at that time;
  • 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 and staff;
  • 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.

*Essential caregiver presence 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 Presence Guidelines

The chart below outlines the number of essential care providers, frequency and length of visits permitted across St. Joseph's, based on the COVID-19 provincial response frame work (control zones by color). 

COVID-19 Response Framework

Patient Population

Green:
Prevent

Yellow:
Protect

Orange:
Restrict

Red:
Control

Grey:
Lockdown

Inpatient stay: less than or equal to 90 days 
(excluding palliative care  and short stay 
surgeries)
Two essential caregivers once/day for up to two hours, three times/week One essential caregiver once/day for up to two hours, two times/week

Additional visits in consultation with the care team
One essential caregiver once/day
for up to one hour, once/week

Additional visits in consultation
with the care team
Inpatient stay: greater than 90 days
 
Two essential caregivers once/day for two hours up to three times/week: caregiver selection can be changed in consultation with the care team One essential caregiver once/day up to two hours, two times/week; caregiver selection can be changed in consultation with the care team One essential caregiver once/day for up to one hour, once/week; caregiver selection can be changed in consultation with the care team
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 3 days) Two essential caregivers in 
consultation with the care team
One essential caregiver in consultation with the care team
Palliative Care No limit on number of essential caregivers; no limit on frequency; maximum number of caregivers 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
(When unit is not in outbreak and resident is not self
isolating or symptomatic)
Two essential caregivers per resident at a time

Two general visitors per resident at least once/week; must be screened before entry

One essential caregiver per resident at a time


General visiting is not permitted

*Long Term Care and 
Veterans Care Program (When unit is in outbreak and/or resident is self isolating or symptomatic)

One essential caregiver per resident at a time

 

General visiting is not permitted

As the pandemic evolves, St. Joseph’s will continually review our visiting processes and make changes to better accommodate our patients, residents, veterans and families as permitted. We thank you for your patience and understanding.