In-person weekend visiting scheduled to resume at NHH July 25th – COVID-19 Visitor Policy restrictions apply
Visitor and family presence is integral to patient safety, the healing process, the patient’s medical and psychological well-being, comfort and quality of life.
While Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) offered an open visiting policy prior to COVID-19, traffic within the hospital has unfortunately been restricted since the onset of the pandemic, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help keep patients, the health care team and visitors safe.
In step with provincial direction, in-person visits have been limited to date to essential visitors, including: a patient that is dying or very ill; a support for a delivering mother; a parent/guardian of a child or family caregiver deemed essential for an individual with specific needs. A new virtual visiting program - introduced in April to ease the challenge for families and patients alike - has enabled more than 200 virtual patient visits, thanks to the support of local donors, who supplied the necessary iPads.
“Beginning this Saturday, July 25th , NHH will move into Phase Two of its COVID-19 Visitor Policy,” said Linda Davis, NHH President and CEO. “This means one designated family caregiver (or visitor), as identified by the patient, will be able to visit admitted patients inside the ‘cold zone’ –the area of the hospital without COVID-19 patients.”
Effective Saturday, July 25th , in-person visits will be available to:
- admitted ‘cold zone’ inpatients
- on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays)
- between 1300 to 1700 (1PM and 5PM)
- one visitor at a time.
“The weekend afternoon visiting period was selected as it is a time when traffic within the hospital is typically low and flow at entry/exit points into and out of the hospital can be safely coordinated to ensure the necessary physical distancing requirements is maintained,” said Linda Davis, NHH President and CEO. “We recognize the hardship families have faced because of the restrictions Ontario hospitals implemented, and we thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we work to balance safety with access. Our COVID-19 Visitor Policy aims to provide clarity for visitors and staff alike, during the various phases of the pandemic. Decisions related to the application of this policy in specific circumstances will rest at the discretion of the care team in consultation with the patient and/or their primary family caregiver.”
The following expectations will continue to be applicable to all visitors throughout the duration of the pandemic. The visitor will:
- be approved by the patient (at discretion of the care team)
- be 16 years or older Page 2 of 3
- pass the screening criteria upon entry (if screening is failed, the visitor will be asked to go to the Assessment Centre or ED for testing)
- don a mask that covers both mouth and nose, and keep it on for the duration of the visit (visitors are encouraged to bring their own mask - where one is not available, a mask will be provided)
- log their name and contact information within the logbook (logs will be maintained by the hospital for 30 days to support timely communication in the event this is required)
- clean their hands with hand sanitizer provided – if wearing gloves, visitors will be required to remove the gloves prior to entry and discard to ensure hands are cleaned thoroughly
- restrict their presence to the patient’s bedside only, and maintain physical distancing
- wear a visitor ID badge, to support clear identification when inside the hospital
- follow COVID-19 Visitor Policy visiting hours (recognizing these are subject to change)
- use public washrooms only (i.e., not the washroom in the patient’s room)
- refrain from going in and out of the patient’s room
- refrain from bringing outside food or drink in for the visitor
As always, anyone feeling unwell should not visit. Only service animals are permitted into NHH at this time. Personal pets/therapeutic animals are not permitted. An overhead page will remind visitors when the designated visiting period is ending, and those required to leave will be expected to exit from the main (front) entrance.
The above restrictions will continue for the foreseeable future, assuming no significant local increase of positive cases is documented. Local cases, as reported by the HKPRD Health Unit, continue to be closely monitored. In the event that confirmed positive cases in the community rise substantially, or an in-hospital outbreak should occur, the hospital will return to Phase One of its COVID-19 Visitor Policy, limiting once again to essential family caregivers/visitors only and the virtual connection option.