Patient Information and Visitor Policy during COVID-19

Patient Information and Visitor Policy during COVID-19

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When you come for care, you will experience new precautions and processes that have been put in place with your safety in mind.  
This includes:  

  • Screeners at the entrances 
  • Essential visitor policy in place
  • Expanded cleaning of high touch surfaces 
  • Anyone who enters the building will be asked to wear a mask, perform proper hand hygiene (clean their hands) regularly and practice social distancing
  • Care may be provided using alternative methods, like virtual care, where possible  

Our top priority is to make sure everyone – patients and staff – is safe when they come to our sites. Work is ongoing and continues to strike the balance between slowly starting scheduled care and continuing to be ready for however the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. 

Patients that cannot make their scheduled appointment must reschedule or cancel with the appropriate member of their care team. This will ensure other patients who are waiting for an appointment can also be seen in a timely fashion. 

Entering the hospital

In order to maintain the health and safety of our patients and staff at both the Markham and Uxbridge sites we have implemented the following entry restrictions and enhanced screening precautions.

Everyone coming through the open entrances will be screened for signs and/or symptoms of respiratory illness. This means that everyone who enters the building will be asked a set of questions by screeners each time they enter. If you have an appointment at the hospital, please arrive early to give yourself time to go through the screening process.

Markham site:

Entrance Access Hours
Main entrance Patients and authorized support person/essential visitor 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.
After 8 p.m., use Emergency Department doors
Emergency Department (ED) entrance

ED specific patients and support person(s)

 

Non-emergency patients and essential visitors

24 hours

 

8 p.m. – 6 a.m.

Oncology entrance Closed Closed

Uxbridge site:

Entrance Access Hours
Main entrance All patients and essential visitors  (Emergency Department, Diagnostic Services and Med/Surg Unit) 
 
24 hours
Emergency Department (ED) entrance Ambulances only Closed

Visitor policy

Effective July 26 all inpatients admitted to Markham Stouffville Hospital and Uxbridge Hospital are able to have in-person visitors. We know how important visitors are to our patients while they are in hospital. We have worked hard to balance safety considerations with supporting the care needs of our patients and their loved ones through the pandemic.

There are still visitor restrictions in effect, even for people who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Visitors are strongly encouraged to get their vaccinations.

Our current policy limits traffic through our hospital sites to reduce of the risk of the transmission of COVID-19 while allowing more visitors to ensure our patients are receiving an essential level of support.

All visitors coming to the hospital will be screened and registered at the front entrance. They will be asked to wear a mask at all times when in the hospital, including in the patient/bed area, and to clean their hands well and frequently while at the hospital. They must stay with the patient they are visiting at all times. Visitors are not permitted to eat or drink in the hospital in patient rooms as masks must remain on. Designated areas for eating at the Markham site are the Tim Hortons on the main level and Ronald McDonald House (if open).

At this time, members of the public who do not have formal business at the hospital but who wish to use the hospital’s facilities or food vendors will not be allowed inside the building.

No in-person visits are permitted for patients admitted with or under investigation for COVID-19, with the exception of patients at end-of-life.

Visits will be further restricted if there is an outbreak in the hospital.

Visitors will not be permitted to enter or remain within MSH facilities if they:

  • are non-compliant with policies
  • present with COVID-19 signs and symptoms
  • are in self-isolation; and/or
  • are in quarantine (as per public health)

Updated visitor guidelines, effective July 26, 2021

  • Visiting hours are 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., seven days a week
  • Visitors are not permitted to eat or drink for the duration of their stay.
  • Visitors must stay with the patient they are visiting at all times.
  • If in extenuating circumstances an essential visitor is permitted to stay for a longer period, there will be allowance for in and out privileges within the hospital so the essential visitor may eat in designated areas, such as main lobby (Markham site) etc.
  • Stay home if you are sick or are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild.

Please see below for detailed information about visiting:

Inpatients

At this time, most visits need to be scheduled in advance with the team caring for the patient. In most cases only one visitor at a time is allowed for inpatients.

General hospital inpatients

Hospital inpatients not specified below will be permitted a maximum of one (1) visitor/family members at a time. All visits must be scheduled in advance and visiting hours are from 1-7 pm.

ICU

ICU patients will be permitted two (2) visitors/family members visiting at a time. All visits must be scheduled in advance.

Palliative Care and end-of-life patients (including MAID)

Visits will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the care team.

Paediatric patients and NICU

Paediatric patients (under the age of 18) will be permitted two (2) visitors/family members/support persons visiting at the same time for the duration of the stay.

Labour and Delivery and Postpartum

Labouring parents will be permitted one (1) family member/support person for labour and delivery. Postpartum patients will be permitted one (1) family member/support person.

Inpatient Mental Health

Visits will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the care team.

Emergency department and outpatients

Due to space constraints in the Emergency Department and in outpatient areas, the following restrictions are in place to allow for appropriate physical distancing to keep our staff, patients and visitors safe.

Emergency Department

All Emergency Department patients will be permitted one (1) support person. Patients under the age of 18 will be permitted two (2) family members/support persons.

Outpatient visits, day surgery and procedures

The following outpatients will be permitted one (1) support person to attend in the following cases:

- Patients who are unable to communicate effectively

- Patients with a language barrier

- Patients who need medical or special assistance

- Patients with a cognitive impairment

- Pediatric outpatients

- Patients who are having an obstetrical ultrasound or obstetrical procedure

Booking your visit

In order to maintain safe physical distancing in the hospital, essential visitors for the inpatient units must schedule visits in advance with a patient’s care team. Please call the patient’s department/area directly to schedule the time of your visit.

Visitor safety when on-site

  • Screening: All visitors must enter through the main entrance on Church Street (at the Markham site) and the Emergency Department (at the Uxbridge site) and will be screened before entering the building. Visitors who have travelled outside of Ontario in the last 14 days or who have respiratory illness symptoms will not be allowed inside the building.
  • Hand washing: All visitors must wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub when entering the hospital and before entering a patient care area and room.
  • Masking: All visitors that come into the hospital are required to wear a mask. Visitors will be given a new surgical mask to be worn at all times, for the duration of their visit. Personal or cloth masks are not permitted in the hospital.
  • Physical distancing: Visitors are asked to maintain two metres (six feet) of distance between themselves and others at all times. Visitors are asked to go directly to the patient’s room or clinic area and not stop in other areas of the hospital.
  • Visitor identification: All visitors who enter the building will be asked to wear an identification badge (visitor sticker) for the duration of their visit.

Appeals to the essential visitor COVID-19 policy

If you would like to pursue an exception to the visitor policy, please contact the Patient Relations office via email at patientrelations@msh.on.ca, 905-472-7141.

Delivering essential patient belongings

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are discouraging the practice of having items such as, but not limited to flowers, personal belongings and food brought into the hospital.

However we recognize there are some essential items that may support and comfort our patients. With this in mind, we will permit the delivery of specific essential items. 

The items that will be accepted include:

  • Essential “bedside basics” for patients (i.e., walkers, hearing aids, mobile devices, phone chargers, toiletries etc.)
  • Food that is culturally required and not provided by our food services and food that is part of a patient’s care plan 

 Items must be able to be wiped for disinfecting purposes or be in a bag or container that can be wiped and disinfected upon arrival at the hospital. 

NOTE: This applies to patients that are not COVID positive or suspected COVID positive.