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Visitor Guidelines Q&A

Visiting a Patient or Attending an Appointment at a Horizon Facility? Here's What you Need to Know!

Q: As a visitor, what can I expect when I arrive?
A:
You will be asked a series of screening questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms, given a mask if you did not bring your own and asked to clean your hands before entering the facility. You must pass the screening and wear a mask to enter the facility and to visit a patient.

Q: Once I am on a unit to visit a patient, can I remove my mask?
A:
No. All staff and visitors are required to wear a mask while in Horizon facilities. In addition to wearing a mask, all visitors must clean their hands upon entering the facility and during their visit. It is also important to keep your distance from others and not touch your face!

Q: Once I am on a unit to visit a patient, do I have to keep a physical distance from others?
A:
Yes.To protect your health and the health of your loved one, other visitors and our staff, all visitors must practice physical distancing when visiting a patient. This means maintaining two metres or six feet between yourself and others, including the patient you are visiting. You must limit your interactions with staff and other patients/visitors.

Q: Can I take my loved one out of their room during the visit?
A:
No. To protect your health and the health of your loved one, other visitors and our staff, and to maintain appropriate physical distancing, all visitors must remain in the patient room. Do not take trips around the unit, go to the cafeteria, etc.

Q: Can I still feed or hug my loved one during my visit?
A:
No. To protect your health and that of your loved one, a physical distance of two metres or six feet between you and your loved one is required at all times during your visit, even though you are wearing a mask.

Q: How frequently should I clean my hands?
A:
You must clean your hands with alcohol-based sanitizer often. You must clean your hands when you enter the facility, before entering a patient room, after touching shared objects, and upon exiting a patient room. Cleaning your hands with warm water and soap or alcohol-based sanitizer is the most effective way to limit the spread of illness. Horizon has developed online learning opportunities for our community. To complete the Clean Hands e-learning, click here.

Q: Why are visiting hours restricted to 2 to 8 p.m.?
A:
Visitor guidelines are in place to allow loved ones an opportunity to connect in person as we move through the yellow phase of recovery in the COVID-19 pandemic. Limiting our visiting hours allows friends and family to visit loved ones while keeping our vulnerable patients and staff safe by reducing the number of people entering our facilities each day. We encourage you to continue to use alternate ways to communicate with loved ones.

Q: What if a second visitor shows up and the patient already has a visitor?
A:
If a visitor arrives and the patient already has a visitor, one visitor is required to leave the facility and return when there is no visitor with the patient. To reduce the risk of this happening, we encourage families to work together and plan their visits.

Q: Where can I go when I leave the room for the patient to have a procedure?
A:
Visitors will be asked to leave the facility when the patient is having a procedure. You can leave your phone number with the patient and they can contact you when the procedure is complete. A member of the health care team may be able to suggest a better time to visit the patient.

Q: Can a patient who requires assistance following a procedure have a support person or will the health care team provide that support?
A:
It is best to contact your health care team to verify if a support person is permitted or necessary for specific circumstances.

Q: Can chaplains have visiting privileges restored?
A:
Patients may welcome one healthy visitor at a time. Palliative care patients may have two visitors at a time, and those receiving end-of-life care may have one additional visitor, such as a chaplain or spiritual care worker to provide comfort to the patient, family and loved ones during the end-of-life period.

Q: Can I visit a patient awaiting swab results for COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19?
A:
No.

Outpatients and Clinics

Q: With the new guidelines, can patients bring a support person to X-ray or ultrasound appointments?
A:
No. For the safety of patients and staff, only patients requiring assistance (i.e.: mobility issues, dementia, mental health condition, child, etc.) can have a support person in Outpatient Departments at this time.

Q: Why can't patients bring a support person to appointments?
A:
This precaution is in place to limit the number of people in our facilities and ensure that we maintain the necessary physical distancing between patients in our small waiting rooms.

Q: Can adult patients bring their children with them to appointments?
A:
No. Adult patients attending appointments should arrange childcare to limit the child's potential exposure to illness and reduce the number of people in our facilities.

Q: What is the policy when attending the Emergency Department (ED)? If someone goes by ambulance, will their loved one be able to go to the ED to be with them?
A:
For the safety of patients and staff, a support person is only permitted for pediatric patients or patients requiring assistance (i.e.: mobility issues, dementia, mental health condition, etc.) in the Emergency Department. If a loved one is admitted to an inpatient unit in the hospital, one healthy visitor is permitted to visit between 2 and 8 p.m. daily.

Q: Are dialysis patients allowed to a have a visitor?
A:
For the safety of patients and staff, a support person is only permitted for pediatric patients or patients requiring additional assistance (i.e.: mobility issues, dementia, mental health condition, etc.).

Q: What determines if a patient requires additional assistance or a support person?
A:
Here are some examples of when a patient may require additional assistance: 

  • mobility issues (difficulty walking)
  • dementia condition where a support person may be required to provide health information
  • autism
  • a serious mental health condition

If you still have questions, it is best to contact your health care team to verify if a support person is permitted for specific circumstances.

Labour & Birth and Postpartum

Q: Are spouses allowed to attend prenatal ultrasounds if they wear a mask?
A: For the safety of patients and staff, only patients requiring assistance (i.e.: mobility issues, dementia, mental health condition, etc.) can have a support person in Outpatient Departments at this time.

Q: Can patients bring a partner or support person to prenatal appointments?
A:
For the safety of patients and staff, only patients requiring assistance (i.e.: mobility issues, dementia, mental health condition, etc.) can have a support person in Outpatient Departments at this time.

Q: Can patients have a visitor in Labour and Birth or after they have a baby?
A:
Patients can welcome one healthy visitor in the facility at a time, between 2 and 8 p.m. This means if the patient has a support person with them, the support person would have to leave the facility to allow for an alternate visitor. Visiting hours may be adjusted for labour and birth and postpartum patients.

Q: How does this affect visiting a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NNICU)?
A:
NNICU patients may have one visitor at a time, and visitors are limited to close family members only. At this time, only one parent at a time may visit. Visiting hours may be adjusted for labour and birth and postpartum patients.

Q: Can both parents attend children's doctors' appointments?
A:
Only one support person for children is permitted in Outpatient Departments at this time.

More information on visitor guidelines can be found here.