Masking now optional across all areas of Northumberland Hills Hospital – Hospital will remain a mask-friendly environment

Effective Thursday, May 9, Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) is joining other health care organizations in Ontario by shifting to optional masking across the hospital, including areas of clinical and patient care. NHH will remain a mask-friendly environment and provide masks for all staff, physicians, midwives, volunteers, patients, and visitors upon request.

On the recommendation of NHH’s Infection, Prevention and Control (IPAC) team following a thorough review of relevant and empirical data, NHH will resume its pre-pandemic requirements for all clinical teams, which requires care providers to complete a Point of Care Risk Assessment (PCRA) to determine what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required, specifically in instances where a patient is deemed to have a infectious illness or is being cared for with additional precautions due to a communicable illness. Patients with symptoms of communicable respiratory illness may be required to wear a mask within the hospital.

What is a Point of Care Risk Assessment (PCRA)?

A PCRA is a necessary assessment that is completed prior to any patient encounter and guides the appropriate selection and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). When interacting with a patient, a care provider will conduct a PCRA by considering the following:

“We are now at a place post-pandemic where NHH—along with many other care providers across the province—feels comfortable in resuming pre-COVID masking requirements,” said Dr. Jude Obomighie, IPAC Physician Lead and Ellen Douglas, Registered Nurse, Manager, Occupational Health and Infection Control, Co-Chairs of NHH IPAC. “At the beginning of COVID, we would often talk about what the future would hold, and we believe this shift to an optional, mask-friendly environment is another part of defining of our new normal. We are grateful for the cooperation and conscientiousness of our healthcare teams, visitors, and patients, who committed to masking over the past four years to ensure our hospital remained safe for all.”

For further questions on masks and visitor requirements, see our recently updated NHH Visiting Guidelines section of Masking requirements will be subject to change or resume at any time on the recommendation of NHH’s Infection Prevention and Control team (IPAC) and Public Health Ontario.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Public Affairs department at ext. 4009.

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