Visiting Patients

Visiting Patients

At Scarborough Health Network (SHN), we are working to ensure a safe environment for everyone entering our hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic — while remaining committed to compassionate care for patients and families. We understand that visiting can contribute greatly to a patient’s quality of life and well-being.

We have updated our Visitor Policy to allow Essential Visitors/Care Partners in our hospitals. Visiting will continue to be restricted at SHN — however, we are expanding some of our criteria for exceptions where physical visitation is absolutely necessary.

For everyone’s protection, only Essential Visitors or Care Partners are allowed.

Other resources

Contact us

For questions or concerns relating to our Essential Visitor/Care Partner Policy, please contact the unit directly or Patient Relations at each of our hospitals:

  • Birchmount hospital: 416-495-2701 ext. 5424
  • Centenary hospital: 416-284-8131 ext. 4742
  • General hospital: 416-495-2701 ext. 6140

How to wear personal protective equipment

If you are visiting a patient who is on isolation precautions, you may be asked to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Follow the instructions below from Public Health Ontario on how to put on and remove PPE. If you have any questions please speak to a member of the health care team.

Visiting patients virtually

Whenever possible, we encourage family members to conduct visits with patients virtually using mobile devices and the free WiFi available at the hospital. Please speak with the health care team for support with these virtual visits, and borrowing a mobile device for patients who do not have their own phone or tablet.

Screening at entrances

Please be aware that as part of our safety measures, we will be screening everyone before entering our hospitals.

At Scarborough Health Network (SHN), we are working to ensure a safe environment for everyone entering our hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic — while remaining committed to compassionate care for patients and families. We understand that visiting can contribute greatly to a patient’s quality of life and well-being.

We have updated our Visitor Policy to allow Essential Visitors/Care Partners in our hospitals. Visiting will continue to be restricted at SHN — however, we are expanding some of our criteria for exceptions where physical visitation is absolutely necessary.

For everyone’s protection, only Essential Visitors or Care Partners are allowed.

Visiting Guidelines

The following patients may designate an Essential Visitor or Care Partner

Patient with significant behavioural, cognitive, or accessibility (i.e. mobility, language) challenges

1 Support Person

Women delivering baby or receiving post-partum care

1 Partner or Support Person

Paediatric or NICU patient

1 Parent or Support Person

End-of-life patient

1 Visitor within last 2 weeks

Patients with serious medical and mental illness that require the physical presence of Substitute Decision Maker(s)

Minimum number of persons required to make decisions on behalf of the patient

Patient having sudden major surgery with an extended length of stay

1 Support Person within a few hours before procedure

Short stay patient

No visitors

Additional Guidelines

  • VISITING HOURS: 1 P.M. – 7 P.M. If you are a designated Essential Visitor or Care Partner, please speak with the patient’s health care team to schedule your visiting time.
  • Only one visitor allowed at a time for maximum one hour — unless otherwise permitted.
  • Suspect and confirmed COVID-19 positive individuals are not allowed to visit patients due to the high risk to visitors, patients and staff.
  • To protect everyone, visitors must 1) wear a mask at all times in the hospital, 2) clean their hands with sanitizer when entering and exiting a patient’s room, and 3) and maintain 6 feet (2 metres) between themselves and the patient.
  • Visitors will be screened every time they come to the hospital to ensure they have no signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or any other communicable illness. Visitors with communicable illness symptoms will not be allowed to visit.
  • Any visitation outside of regular visiting hours or other special requests will require review and approval from program leadership on a case-by-case basis.
  • Whenever possible, we encourage family members to visit patients virtually using mobile devices and the free WiFi at the hospital. Please speak with the health care team for support.

Violation of the Visiting Guidelines may lead to privileges being revoked.

Visitor Policy - Frequently Asked Questions

Who can be a designated essential visitor/care partner?

To be designated as an essential visitor/care partner, you must be must be Next of Kin or another family member or caregiver who is older than 18 years — or on file as Power of Attorney (POA) for personal care or Substitute Decision Maker (SDM).

Who can visit?

The patient can designate family members, friends, caregivers, or private paid caregivers to visit within the times that have been allocated by the care team if the essential visitor/care partner criteria is met.

Who cannot visit?

  • Anyone who does not meet the defined criteria for an essential visitor/care partner
  • Anyone who has the following signs or symptoms: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Anyone who is known or suspected to be COVID-19 positive, and has not been cleared by Public Heath
  • Anyone who has been in contact with someone else known to be COVID-19 positive
  • Anyone with a travel history anywhere in the world for the past 14 days preceding the onset of symptoms

What will be the visiting schedule and times?

  • Visiting will be restricted based on the patient’s care plan. The visitor/care partner will need to work with the care team to determine, frequency, date, and time of visit based on the access limitations.
  • Visiting hours are from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Based on guidance from Public Health, as the conditions change we will update families on any changes in the visiting process.

Could visiting become restricted again?

It can happen in two cases:

  1. If the number of COVID-19 cases in the community increases, SHN can put restrictions on all visiting with the direction of Public Health and/or Ministry of Health.
  2. If we have cases of COVID-19 or any other communicable illness, or if we are in an outbreak, all visits will have to stop for all patients.

What should visitors/care partners do to support their loved ones safety?

  • Try to communicate virtually whenever possible (units have dedicated iPads to support virtual visits) – Learn more
  • Clean hands frequently with hand sanitizer or soap and water
  • Stay home when sick
  • Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet (2 metres)
  • Wear a mask at all times while visiting to cover your mouth and nose

Thank you in advance for your support, understanding, and patience as we resume visiting while preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Visit our COVID-19 Information page to learn more.

Other resources

Contact us

For questions or concerns relating to our Essential Visitor/Care Partner Policy, please contact the unit directly or Patient Relations at each of our hospitals:

  • Birchmount hospital: 416-495-2701 ext. 5424
  • Centenary hospital: 416-284-8131 ext. 4742
  • General hospital: 416-495-2701 ext. 6140

How to wear personal protective equipment

If you are visiting a patient who is on isolation precautions, you may be asked to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Follow the instructions below from Public Health Ontario on how to put on and remove PPE. If you have any questions please speak to a member of the health care team.

Visiting patients virtually

Whenever possible, we encourage family members to conduct visits with patients virtually using mobile devices and the free WiFi available at the hospital. Please speak with the health care team for support with these virtual visits, and borrowing a mobile device for patients who do not have their own phone or tablet.

Screening at entrances

Please be aware that as part of our safety measures, we will be screening everyone before entering our hospitals.