Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for MGH patients and visitors

Last updated on August 5, 2022

Updates to MGH’s Visitor Policy: At MGH, we know how important visitors are to our patients.  As of Monday, June 27, we are making the following changes to our visitor policy:

  • All patients admitted to MGH can have one (1) visitor with them at the bedside at a time between the hours of 10 A.M. and 8 P.M. Some patients can have two (2) visitors at a time. Please see below for more details.
  • Children under the age of 12 can visit loved ones at MGH while accompanied by an adult. One (1) child can be at the bedside at a time.
  • Visitors are no longer required to show proof of vaccination upon entering the hospital.
  • Visitors are still required to wear a mask at all times and self-screen when entering the building.

what to expect

In order to maintain the health and safety of our patients, staff, visitors and community at large, MGH has implemented the following entry restrictions and enhanced screening precautions:

Entering the Hospital

  • Entry into the hospital is restricted to the main entrance on Coxwell Avenue for all members of the public including patients (including hemotology, oncology, chemotherapy and dialysis patients), patient escorts, visitors, MGH Care Partners and vendors.
  • The Emergency Department entrance remains open for those seeking urgent care.

Screening

  • All individuals coming to MGH must complete self-screening when they enter the hospital. Screening questions can be found in the Coxwell Lobby.
  • Any patients or visitors who fail self-screening cannot enter the hospital and should call their healthcare provider or Telehealth Ontario.

Wearing a mask

  • Everyone entering the hospital is required to wear a medical grade procedure/surgical mask for the duration of their visit. Children under the age of two who are visiting a loved one are not required to wear a mask.
  • Medical grade masks will be available to patients and visitors entering the Coxwell lobby.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

  • If you have an appointment at the hospital or are visiting a loved one, please do not remove your mask to eat or drink.
    • Those who require a safe space to eat or drink during their visit due to dietary needs may use the G4 Cafeteria.  

outpatient appointments

virtual appointments

Some departments are using virtual appointments to reduce the number of people in the hospital. During a virtual appointment you do not come to the hospital to meet in person. Instead, you speak with your care team using a regular telephone, smartphone or your computer. Click here for more information if you have been scheduled for a telephone or virtual appointment with your care team at MGH.

in-person Patient appointments 

Before visiting the hospital for an appointment, please contact the clinic ahead of time if you:

  • Are experiencing any new or worsening symptoms including:
    • Fever and/or chills
    • Sore throat
    • Cough
    • Runny/congested nose
    • Shortness of breath
    • Gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting/diarrhea or stomach pain)
    • Decrease or loss of taste or smell
    • Unexplained headache, muscle pains or fatigue
  • Have been advised by a doctor, healthcare provider, or public health unit to isolate (stay at home)
  • You have not been fully vaccinated and live with someone who has been told by a doctor, health provider, or public health unit that they should isolate.

OUTPATIENT APPOINTMENT ESCORTS

As of Monday, June 27, patients attending an outpatient appointment at MGH can have one (1) escort accompany them if it can be accommodated by the unit/clinic.

Space in our waiting rooms is prioritized for patients. If space permits, we will support the presence of patient escorts in the waiting room. Patient escorts may be asked to wait outside if the waiting room reaches maximum capacity.

EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

  • The Emergency Department (ED) remains open for those seeking urgent care.
  • Upon arrival, patients will self-screen for signs and/or symptoms of respiratory illness. Individuals experiencing signs/symptoms of respiratory illness will wait in a designated area of the ED.
  • As of June 27, each patient in the ED can have one (1) visitor with them if it can be accommodated by the department.

Visiting a patient at MGH

Protecting the health and safety of our patients, staff and community is our top priority. We continue to update our visitor guidelines as the COVID-19 situation evolves in our community.

PATIENTS UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS (including COVID-19)

No in-person visits are permitted for patients who are under investigation for respiratory infections (including COVID-19), with the exception of patients at imminent end-of-life. Please contact the care team if you feel that your loved one meets this exception.

Eligibility for visits will be reviewed once a patient under investigation for respiratory infections is reassessed by the medical team. 

INPATIENT VISITS

As Monday, June 27, patients admitted to MGH can have one (1) visitor at the bedside at a time during visiting hours (10 A.M. – 8 P.M.).

  • Visitors are not required to book visits in advance.
  • There is no time limit on visits within the visiting hours.
  • Patients are permitted multiple visitors, but only one can be by the bedside at a time.
  • Children under the age of 12 may visit a loved one if accompanied by an adult.  Only one (1) child can be at the bedside at a time. Children over the age of 2 years old must wear a mask while inside the hospital.

Patients at end-of-life:

Patients at end-of-life may have extended visiting hours.  Please speak with the clinical team about a visiting plan.  

Patients in labour and post-partum:

A patient in the Family Birthing Centre may have two (2) visitors with them at a time for labour support and to assist with caring for the baby.

Patients in Special Care Nursery

  • A patient in the Special Care Nursery may have two (2) visitors with them at a time. 
  • 1 sibling (age 5+) can visit at a time, and is not counted as a visitor. The sibling must be screened by the unit clerk or nurse prior to entering the Special Care Nursery. 
  • All visitors (including siblings) must wear a well-fitting medical grade mask at all times.

Paediatric patients (less than 19 years old):

Paediatric patients may have two (2) visitors with them at a time. There are no set visiting hours for paediatric patients.

Child & Adolescent Mental Health Inpatient Unit:

  • Visits are for immediate family or guardians and must be booked in advance. Please contact the unit to arrange a time.
  • Visits occur for 30 minutes on weekdays and 60 minutes on weekends with the following hours:
    • Weekdays 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
    • Weekends and holidays 1 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Siblings are able to attend but a plan must be arranged prior to visit with staff to ensure safety and privacy. Siblings are restricted to the group areas and are not permitted in patient rooms.  

Adult Mental Health Inpatient Unit:

All visits must be booked in advance. Please contact the unit to arrange a time.

APPEALS TO THE FAMILY PRESENCE DURING COVID-19 POLICY

If you would like to pursue an exception to the Family Presence (Essential Visitors) or Proof of Vaccination policies, please contact the Patient Relations office via email at @email or via phone at 416-469-6096. A Patient Experience Specialist will guide you through the appeals process.

VISITOR guidelines WHEN ON-SITE

In addition to passing self-screening, all visitors must abide by the following guidelines:

  • 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.
  • MaskingAnyone entering the building is required to wear a medical grade procedure/surgical mask that must be worn at all times. Medical grade masks are available in Coxwell lobby for those who do not have one. Children under the age of two do not have to wear a mask.
  • Physical Distancing: Visitors are asked to maintain 6 ft. 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.  

MGH CARE PARTNERS

At Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) we know that the support of family and friends (chosen by the patient) is an essential part of the healing process. We are committed to growing our culture of Patient-and-Family-Centered Care where friends and family members are seen as essential care partners who are key players in the quality, safety and experience of patient care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to recognize family caregivers has become even more important. This is why MGH has introduced the Care Partners Program, formalizing the role of family caregivers in the hospital.

Care Partners provide emotional, cognitive and/or physical care to their loved ones and function as a care team member. They are often family or close friends who know the patient’s health history, lifestyle and personal values. Having a familiar person available to patients who can provide different types of support can help improve their health outcomes. Some of the ways Care Partners participate in patient care include:

  • Supporting patient decision making
  • Providing emotional and cognitive support
  • Being a part of planning the patient’s care while they are in the hospital and once they are discharged
  • Helping patients use technology to connect with loved ones
  • Assisting patients in eating, moving around, bathing and communicating as needed
  • Participating in patient and family education
  • Letting the care team know when they see a change in the patient

Care Partners make a formal commitment to supporting the patient during their time at MGH and will be able to be at the bedside for longer periods of time as negotiated with the care team.  As part of this commitment, Care Partners are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

If you have questions about the Care Partners program, or would like to become a Care Partner, please speak with the leadership team of the patient’s unit or contact Patient Relations.

VIDEO FAMILY VISITS

We understand that in-person visits may be difficult for some patients and their loved ones. Virtual visiting (arranged for patients using the Zoom platform on a hospital iPad) is available in all clinical areas. Click here to learn more about our Video Family Visit program.

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