Care Partner & Visitor restrictions during COVID-19

At Women's College Hospital, the safety of our patients, physicians, staff, learners and the public are paramount. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have a number of infection prevention and control measures in place including:

  • Mandatory screening for signs and symptoms of illness for all individuals who enter the hospital
  • Mandatory hand hygiene
  • Mandatory use of face masks
  • Limiting the number of people on site to ensure physical distancing

Reducing the number of people on site will help reduce the risk of exposure to potentially infectious individuals and promote the safety of patients, healthcare providers, staff and the public. Visitors, with select exceptions, are restricted until further notice.

An overview of the excpetions are as follows (for the complete details please refer to Essential Care Partners and Visitors During COVID-19 Pandemic policy)

Overview:

1. Exceptions to the visitor restrictions will apply to the following patients/situations:

  • Substitute Decision Makers (SDM) or Powers of Attorney for Personal Care (POAPC) in the case of patients who lack the capacity to consent to treatment and/or for whom other means of communication with the SDM/POAPC is not possible or suitable for the circumstances
  • Parents or guardians of patients under the age of 18 if needed/requested by the patient
  • Indigenous knowledge keepers
  • Pre-arranged professional American Sign Language (ASL) or language interpreters
  • Community service workers required to attend appointments with patients
  • Essential care partners providing physical assistance to patients, including patients with disabilities and those with significant mobility or sensory needs
  • Essential care partners supporting patients undergoing complex surgery/procedures who require support to access services
  • Other situations where an essential care partner is needed to provide safe and effective care as determined in advance by the clinical/service area in collaboration with the patien. This could include patients with a child who could not otherwise access needed care if they cannot bring the child; young people transitioning to the adult healthcare system who need support in making health decisions; situations or health crises where supported decision-making is paramount, etc. 

Note: Proactive determination by local teams of other exceptions with consult involving ethics and/or clinical adjudication screening staff experts as appropriate. 

2. All visitors and care partners will be screened with exposure criteria and sign of symptoms of COVID-19.

3. Visitors and esstential care partners cannot enter the hospital if they have any signs of acute respiratory illness or fever (i.e., sore throat, cough, runny nose, muscle or joint aches or pains) even when symptoms are mild.

4. Visitors and essential care partners will be required to strictly adhere to infection control standards and expectations including self-monitoring for symptoms, hand hygiene, and PPE where appropriate.

5. For patients with limited English proficiency, language lines and translation services must be made available.

6. Supporting Patients and Essential Care Partners:

  • Where possible, clinical areas will communicate the visit restrictions during COVID-19 to patients prior to their appointments during pre-appointment phone calls.
  • To facilitate communication between patients and care partners who are unable to accompany them to their visits, the use of alternate methods of communication (e.g. Face Time, Skype) is encouraged. 

7. Appeals:

  • Patients, essential care partners or visitors who have concerns relating to this policy should first speak with the clinical/service team prior to their appointment or arrival so that an appropriate plan can be established. Clinical adjudication is available to provide assistance/support at the time of entry. In urgent situations the clinical manager or administrator-on-call may be contacted.
  • Patients who feel their concerns have not been fully addressed by the clinical/service team can contact Patient Relations at 416-323-7702 or patientrelations@wchospital.ca 

Fully affiliated with

A member of

Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO)