January 28, 2022 – St. John’s, NL: Eastern Health advises the public of updates to temporary visitor restrictions at facilities and sites across the region, as per provincial guidelines. All health-care facilities remain closed for general visitation with the exception of one support person for each resident/patient, including inpatients in a hospital setting and residents of long-term care homes, personal care homes, community care homes and assisted living facilities. The general public are reminded not to visit any patients or residents during this time unless they are the designated support person for the patient/resident they are visiting.
The following exceptions apply:
- Pediatric in-patients are permitted to have both parents/guardians as support persons, who may be present in the facility at the same time.
- Labour and delivery patients may have one support person attend labour and delivery. The support person can continue to support the patient for the duration of the time in hospital and there are no restrictions on the number of visits per day.
- Palliative care and end-of-life visitation should be discussed with the health-care team.
Support person guidelines:
- Support persons can visit more than once per day and are advised to connect with the patient/resident’s health-care team to discuss visitation hours and the frequency of visits. Visitation is subject to certain time frames and frequency due to the limitation in some sites/areas to maintain physical distancing requirements.
- The support person must not visit any other patient/resident or staff and must go straight to the patient/resident room or visitation space. Once visitation is complete, the support person should immediately exit the facility.
- When possible, the support person should be the same person for the duration of the visiting restrictions at the health-care facility. In the event the patient/resident has a stay exceeding two weeks, the support person can be changed every 14 days.
- Visitation can occur in sites where a COVID-19 outbreak has been declared, including visiting a COVID-19 positive resident/patient. In these circumstances, limited visitation can occur in consultation with the care team.
- Visitation by the support person may be limited in areas of outbreak depending on the site circumstances and severity of the outbreak. Families will be advised in the event visitation is restricted.
- The support person must follow all precautions as instructed by staff and physicians as well as COVID-19 safety protocols in place at health-care facilities (e.g. screening, physical distancing, mask requirements, and appropriate use of additional personal protective equipment, as required).
Virtual visitation can be an alternate way to connect with loved ones during these visitor restrictions. To arrange for a virtual visit, please discuss your request with the care team.
Out-patient appointments and Emergency Department patients: In keeping with public health guidance to reduce the number of contacts wherever possible, patients are asked to carefully consider the necessity of bringing a support person for appointments at ambulatory clinics (e.g. appointments at hospitals and chemotherapy/radiation appointments) or when presenting to an emergency room. To support that guidance, patients who can safely manage their interaction for out-patient care without assistance/support should attend unaccompanied. Patients who are accompanied by a support person should be aware that during peak times, support persons who have remained in the waiting area may be asked to wait outside the facility, if possible, to ensure adequate space is available in the waiting area for patients. The clinical care team will accommodate one support person in the treatment area when requested by the patient and if sufficient space is available to do so safely.
- Vaccine Passport: Visitors to long-term care facilities, personal care homes and community care homes are required to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination status (digital/paper QR code or copy of an official vaccination record) or an approved medical exemption. More information can be found on the Eastern Health website.
- Screening: As per provincial government guidelines, individuals who arrive at an Eastern Health hospital or other facility continue to be screened for COVID-19 through a series of questions and will also be asked for contact information for contact tracing purposes. All support persons/visitors must check-in upon arrival to the facility and be screened prior to the visit. Visits will only proceed for individuals who meet the screening criteria. Visitors/support persons are advised that if they show any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, they should not enter a health-care facility. Instead, individuals are directed complete the COVID-19 self-assessment and testing referral tool or call 811.
- Masking Requirements: Masks continue to be mandatory at all Eastern Health facilities, sites and clinics; during home visits from Eastern Health staff; as well as for seniors within personal care homes, community care homes, assisted living and long-term care facilities. The mask provided at point of entry must be worn throughout the duration of the individual’s time in our hospitals and other health-care facilities, including while visiting patient/resident rooms.
- Physical Distancing: Visitors/support persons are reminded that physical distancing (two metres/six feet) is required in all spaces throughout our hospitals or sites, including common areas, such as cafeterias, as well as patient and resident rooms.
Visitor restrictions during the pandemic have been critically important to the safety of our residents, patients, staff and physicians. We would like to thank the public for their understanding and co-operation during this time. Information regarding current visitation guidelines can be found on the ‘Visiting during the COVID-19 pandemic’ webpage via https://www.easternhealth.ca/covid19/visiting-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/.
Eastern Health thanks the public for their support and reminds them of the importance of continuing to follow public health guidance to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities.
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