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COVID-19 Visitor Restrictions

COVID-19 Visitor Restrictions

*** NEW: January 12, 2022 

GBGH is adjusting its visitation policy based on the continuing trend of increasing local COVID-19 cases and the transmissibility of the Omicron variant. Effective January 12, admitted patients will be permitted one designated visitor who plays an essential role in caregiving (helps with meals/personal care, cognitive stimulation), as determined by the patient and care team.

There remain exceptions to the visitation policy in the case of a palliative/actively dying patient. Birthing patients are permitted one visitor for as long as they require assistance.

There is an appeal process for the visitation policy, which is initiated by contacting the patient’s care team, who will then escalate the request to the appropriate hospital staff for a decision.

For outpatient services (i.e. Ambulatory Care, Diagnostic Imaging, Day Surgery) and the Emergency department, GBGH continues to permit only one essential support person per patient based on meeting the following criteria:

  • Pediatric patients – i.e. children under 18 (one guardian permitted with child)
  • Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care staff supervising a patient
  • Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC) staff guarding an inmate
  • Language barrier (translation required)
  • Mental health/competency/confusion challenges
  • Palliative

Designated visitors and essential support persons must be vaccinated and show proof of immunization,  as well as identification, prior to being granted entry to the hospital. They will also be screened and any visitor who screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms will not be able to visit. In exceptional circumstances (such as a support person for a woman in labour, a parent/guardian of a child in the Emergency department or a palliative/end of life patient), a visitor who screens positive for symptoms will be reviewed by GBGH’s infection prevention and control practitioner or hospital coordinator prior to entry.

All visitors must comply with hand hygiene practices, wear a hospital-provided mask for the duration of their visit and follow physical distancing. Visitors could also be asked to wear additional personal protective equipment as determined by the care team based on a patients’ condition.

Visitor guidelines are subject to change based on the status of the pandemic within the region GBGH serves.

 

Visitor Vaccination 

As an important safety measure to protect patients and staff, Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) is implementing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for visitors, effective November 15, 2021. Visitors, including those accompanying a patient to an appointment, at the hospital will be required to show proof of immunization at the main and Emergency department entrances prior to being permitted entry.

There will be limited exceptions to the policy allowing visitation (with approval of the care team). These could include exemptions for patients who are:

  • Palliative
  • In childbirth
  • Children
  • Experiencing a severe trauma or critical illness
  • Requiring an essential caregiver (due to language, mobility, cognitive ability, etc.)

Limited exemptions will also apply to those who provide documentation of a provincially-recognized medical exemption from a physician.

As per standard policy throughout the pandemic, visitors must continue to wear appropriate personal protective equipment, as directed by GBGH and regardless of being fully vaccinated. GBGH also asks visitors only travel directly to and from the patient’s room.

Patients do not have to show proof of immunization in order to receive care at the hospital.

This decision to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination among visitors, was made after consultation with other Central Region hospitals and GBGH’s Patient & Family Advisory Council (PFAC).

 

Visitor Screening

Everyone entering GBGH will be screened for the following symptoms:

 Fever and/or chills

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decrease or loss of sense of taste or smell

As well as two or more of:

  • Runny nose / nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches / joint pain
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea)

All visitors must comply with hand hygiene practices, wear a hospital-provided mask and follow physical distancing. Visitors could also be asked to wear additional personal protective equipment as determined by the care team based on a patients’ condition.

Visitor guidelines are subject to change based on the status of the pandemic within the region GBGH serves.

Virtual visitation options are still encouraged where possible (please see below).

 

Virtual Visits

In light of visitor restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GBGH is introducing Virtual Visitation through the hospital’s bedside entertainment units. Patients can stay connected to loved ones while in the hospital via Family Chat – a video calling service.

To use the virtual visitation service, please click here – https://georgianbay.connectmybed.ca/

GBGH understands the impact of contact with family on patients’ quality of life so the hospital has dedicated a staff member to assist patients and families with use of the service Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For assistance using the virtual visitation service, please email robertsk@gbgh.on.ca.

The hospital anticipates having this service continue beyond the pandemic for loved ones who are unable to visit.