Updated May 30, 2022
During the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors play a key role in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission at St. Joseph’s. Visitors to the organization will have to adhere strictly to the rules that have been established to help ensure the safety of everyone at the Health Centre. Please continue reading below for the specific visiting requirements for St. Joseph’s long-term care and hospital programs. Visitors who do not comply with these requirements will have their visiting privileges suspended and the client they visited with may need to isolate as part of infection prevention protocols.
The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve and, with it, so do changes to visiting requirements. While some changes may seem simple at first, they often have implications that we need to work through in a way that works for all clients equitably and ensures that we keep everyone safe. We will keep families updated of any changes to visiting requirements as soon as possible.
To help ensure the safety of everyone at the Health Centre, it is vitally important that all infection prevention and control practices are followed diligently while visiting St. Joseph’s. Below, we have shared videos demonstrating the proper techniques for putting on (donning) and removing (doffing) personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand hygiene.
Masks are provided for all visitors at the front entrance to St. Joseph’s and must be worn at all times during your visit; please ensure that you are wearing your mask correctly with the mask covering your nose, mouth and chin. Do not remove your mask for the duration of your visit (e.g. to eat/drink, while talking on the phone). Hand hygiene is critical to stopping the spread and hand sanitizing stations are conveniently located throughout the Health Centre.
If you are unsure of how to put on (don) or remove (doff) PPE, please ask for assistance.
Wearing a mask: https://youtu.be/ZdC91qpb1OA
Hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub: https://youtu.be/i6ki-8so1B4
Hand hygiene with hand-washing: https://youtu.be/_EfMGqsE4aI
Putting on (donning) PPE: https://youtu.be/nOcURMFAjs8
Putting on (donning) PPE if you have to wear a mask at all times: https://youtu.be/ZQxL1Vr3Dno
Taking off (doffing) PPE: https://youtu.be/sjK6KKphPAM
Taking off (doffing) PPE if you have to wear a mask at all times: https://youtu.be/DeH3zFys5Fs
Visiting the Health Centre during COVID-19
Visiting a Resident in Long-Term Care
Visiting Indoors (within the Facility)
Visits within the facility apply to essential caregivers and general visitors and include any garden areas that can only be accessed through the building. Garden areas are open weather-permitting and may not be accessed over the winter months.
The following visiting rules apply:
- Essential caregivers may visit at any time. General visitors may visit between 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- All visitors whether essential caregivers or general visitors must complete active screening including regular Rapid Antigen Testing upon entry to the facility. The visitor must wait for the test results in the designated area prior to proceeding with their visit. The testing clinic opens daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and visitors must complete regular testing.
- Two people may visit inside at a time, either essential caregivers or general visitors. At the discretion of St. Joseph’s and in consultation with the resident, an essential caregiver will have precedence over a general visitor in the event of a conflict for indoor visiting.
- Caregiver and visitor vaccinations:
Essential caregivers and general visitors must provide proof of having received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to visit inside. If proof is not provided, an individual will not be able to visit a resident indoors. Outdoor visits are not restricted (see below) and residents are able to visit with friends and family that are vaccinated or unvaccinated.
- Visitors may only visit with one resident per day. Please be respectful and considerate of others who may also wish to visit with their loved one.
- Essential caregivers and general visitors must be 5 years of age or older to visit indoors and must follow all applicable policies, including COVID-19 vaccination requirements, and other precautions that are in place. If an exception is requested, approval must be granted by the DOC/ADOC or designate.
- A maximum of four (4) essential caregivers may be designated per resident at a time. A caregiver can only be designated to a single resident, unless they are a couple or significant other. The designation must be made in writing and the designation of an individual as a caregiver is at the discretion of the resident and/or their SDM. Any changes to the essential caregivers must be made in writing. All designated caregivers added to the essential caregiver list must have received 2 doses of a COVID vaccine.
- Only designated caregivers may visit a resident on a unit that is in outbreak.
- All essential caregivers and general visitors must wear the mask provided by St. Joseph’s at all times while visiting indoors, without exception (e.g. no drink/food, do not remove mask/face shield when talking or making a phone call).
- Only essential caregivers may visit a resident in isolation or when a neighbourhood is in outbreak as additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may be required.
- When essential caregivers or general visitors are visiting over meal times, fully vaccinated visitors may assist with feeding the resident in the dining room. A maximum of five (5) essential caregivers or general visitors may be in the dining room at any one time.
- Dogs (only, no other type of pet) are permitted to visit indoors and outdoors. Dogs must comply with SJHCG pet policy.
- Remember that visitors are not allowed to eat or drink during their visit.
Visiting Outdoors – weather permitting
Outdoor visiting is available when the weather permits a comfortable visit outdoors for the resident and essential caregivers or general visitors.
- Up to ten (10) visitors may visit outdoors with a resident at a time. Visitors may only visit with one resident per day.
- All visitors, including those visiting outdoors only, must complete active screening.
- Part of the screening includes completing regular Rapid Antigen Testing prior to proceeding with the visit. Visitors must wait for the test results in the designated area and receive a negative test result before proceeding with their visit. Please note, the testing clinic opens daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- One visitor may go to the patient’s room to assist the patient to go outside for the visit if the patient requires assistance.
Absences from the Health Centre
- When a resident returns from a day or overnight absence, they will require PCR testing on day 5 following their return.
- Residents who are away frequently will be required to have a PCR test 2 times per week (e.g. Tuesdays and Fridays).
- No isolation precautions are required unless a resident has been in contact with someone who has symptoms of COVID or who has tested positive.
Visiting a Hospital Patient (Complex Continuing Care, Palliative Care and Rehabilitation)
Visiting inside the Health Centre
Please note the following rules:
- Visitors five years of age and older who have had at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are able to visit patients at St. Joseph’s.
- Visiting hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Two visitors are permitted to visit indoors at a time and may only visit with one patient per day.
- Visitors must undergo COVID-19 active screening before visiting indoors and completing COVID-19 screening is recommended for outdoor visits.
- Visitors must follow all policies and precautions in place.
- Visitors must wear the mask provided by St. Joseph’s at all times while visiting indoors, without exception.
- Visitors cannot eat or drink while they are at St. Joseph’s.
- Visitors must go directly to the patient’s room. They cannot visit with others in common areas (e.g. lounges, cafeteria and/or central areas). Visitors can accompany patients outside, or help walk in the hallway.
- Additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required when visiting someone who is in isolation or symptomatic and nursing staff will educate the visitors on requirements.
Hospital patients are able to leave the facility for short absences (less than 12 hours) regardless of vaccination status. Prior to making arrangements for a day pass, please discuss this with your health care team to be sure it is safe from a medical perspective.
Temporary absences will be allowed as appropriate based on the level of public health measures the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit is in. Patients may leave the hospital for a temporary absence for one or more nights if it aligns with their treatment plan (i.e. for discharge planning). All temporary absences from the home will be reviewed by the Program Director/Manager for approval.
Patients should wear the mask provided by St. Joseph’s for the duration of their leave; anyone the patient will be spending time with should also wear a mask.
Visiting Outdoors at the Health Centre – weather permitting
There is no limit to how many people may visit at a time with one patient outdoor.
We strongly recommend that visitors visiting outdoors complete active screening. Part of the screening includes questions about vaccination status, as well as completing regular Rapid Antigen Testing prior to proceeding with the visit. Visitors visiting outdoors should wait for the test results in the designated area and receive a negative test result before proceeding with their visit. Please note, the testing clinic opens daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Masks provided by SJHCG are recommended at all times when visiting outdoors.
One visitor may go to the patient’s room to assist the patient to go outside for the visit if the patient requires assistance. This visitors must complete screening and rapid antigen testing.
Visitors younger than 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult (and are included in the visitor count). They must follow all policies and precautions in place.