GBGH allows safe, limited visitation to enhance patient experience
New visitation guidelines have been posted at the entrances to Georgian Bay General Hospital.
July 20, 2020 – Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) is re-opening limited visitation at the hospital to enhance the patient experience. Hospitals across the province restricted visitation in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and at the direction of the Ontario government.
“It is never an easy decision to restrict patients from having visitors while in hospital as we know family presence improves patient outcomes, experience and has safety benefits such as decreasing patient falls,” says Gail Hunt, president and CEO, GBGH. “As we expect the pandemic to continue for months and recognizing the positive impact visitors have on patient safety, we have revised our restrictions to allow for a phased, safe approach to visitation. This decision is based on the status of the pandemic in our area, as well as the benefit to patients and families.”
To ensure visitation can take place safely, precautionary measures remain in place.
Admitted patients are permitted one visitor per day during a scheduled visitation time (see below). The exceptions to one visitor includes visitation for a palliative/actively dying patient. In this case, GBGH will allow up to four visitors at a time, as coordinated with the care team.
The hospital is asking visitors to schedule an admitted patient visitation time by calling the hospital’s main phone line at 705-526-1300. The scheduled times are between 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Emergency department patients may have one visitor remain with them if support is required. Circumstances where support could be required include:
- 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
Patients attending the hospital for scheduled appointments or procedures may have one visitor accompany them if support is required for similar reasons as in the Emergency department (listed above).
All permitted visitors will be screened upon entering the hospital. Any visitor who screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms will be asked to not 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 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. The hospital is offering patients and families the opportunity to visit virtually via the bedside entertainment systems on its inpatient units (2 North, 2 East). Patients on 1 North are able to virtually visit with family using tablets available to all patients on the unit. GBGH continues to offer free telephone, internet and TV service to enable telephone calls between patients and their loved ones.
For more information, please visit https://gbgh.on.ca/covid-19-visitor-restrictions/.
Communications Officer, GBGH
705-526-1300 ext 5177