General Patient & Visiting Family Information

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Information for patients, family and visitors about accommodations, infection prevention and safety precautions. You'll also find information about hospital fees, transportation, food, wifi, gift shops and more at Niagara Health.


Information for patients, their families and visitors about what to expect when visiting Niagara Health.

Patient Information

Aboriginal Patient Navigators

Aboriginal Patient Navigators provide services in the Niagara, Hamilton and Haldimand-Brant regions. Designed specifically to meet the needs of Aboriginal people, the Aboriginal Patient Navigator Program provides support to patients and their families and assists in accessing the healthcare system as well as traditional healing and wellness practices.The program also provides navigation services that are culturally appropriate within the health/social service systems for individuals, caregivers and their families to improve patient outcomes.

Services include:

  • Individualized Cultural Support
  • Coordination of Services
  • Advocacy
  • Regular Contact During Hospital Stays
  • Discharge Planning
  • Referrals and Linkages to Community Resources
  • Access to Traditional Healing Programs
  • Home Visits
  • Community Follow-up

To contact the patient navigator, call 905-358-4320, or visit www.aboriginalhealthcentre.com 

Accommodations

Niagara Health offers private, semi-private and ward accommodations to our patients.

  • Ward – up to four patients to a room.
    (covered by your provincial health care plan)
  • Semi-private – two patients to a room.
    (additional charge)
  • Private – one patient to a room.
    (additional charge)

Please indicate your room preference when you register with the hospital. Every effort will be made to provide you with the room type that you have requested. Please note, however, that room assignments are based on bed availability and medical necessity of our patients.

Provincial health insurance (OHIP) covers the costs of a ward room only. Some insurance policies cover semi-private or private room charges, or you may wish to pay personally for additional room costs. Unfortunately, the hospital cannot check your insurance coverage, so please verify your insurance coverage in advance with your employer or insurance provider.

If you have any questions on semi-private and private room charges, you may call the Billing Office at 905-378-4647, ext. 32234, or dial 32234 directly from your patient phone.

More Accommodation Information

Patient Rate Schedule

Alternate Level of Care

Once the acute care portion of your hospitalization is completed, you may require supported transitional care while waiting for discharge to an Alternate Level of Care in the community. This Alternate Level of Care could include admission to a long-term care facility or a Complex Care Unit (ongoing nursing care is provided for patients with multiple chronic illnesses, for example).

You will be moved to an environment providing person-centred care to support this transition. We will continue to promote a positive patient experience with a team nursing approach and support the clinical, relational and environmental aspects of your care.

Members of our team will discuss with you how they can best support you and your family during this transition period, and they will also outline the process involved for Alternate Level of Care patients in Ontario.

Ambulance Service

Please be aware that there is a fee for ambulance services. Patients are responsible for paying $45 per ambulance trip, with OHIP covering the remainder of the fee. Please pay the patient portion at the time of discharge.

Assisted Transportation

If you require assisted transportation home from the hospital, there are private services available. These are wheelchair accessible, but may also be used for patient transfer by stretcher or for someone who can walk but needs assistance. These transportation services usually require 24-hour advance pickup notice. The patient is responsible for payment of this mode of transportation. The Discharge Planning Department can provide further information.

Falls Prevention

We will do everything we can to keep you safe during your stay. Your caregiver will complete an assessment for your risk of a fall on admission and throughout your stay. Be sure to tell us if you have recently experienced a fall and bring in any assistive devices to hospital with you: eye glasses, canes and walkers and non-slip shoes. Please do not attempt to get up without assistance. If you are unsteady, ring the call bell in your room for assistance. Click here for more falls prevention information. 

Handwashing to Prevent the Spread of Germs

Stopping the spread of infection can be as simple as a thorough washing of your hands. It remains the single most effective way to control infections.

Here are some tips on how to wash your hands properly:

  • Use warm running water and soap.
  • Rub hands together briskly for 15 seconds.
  • Rinse hands thoroughly and dry with a clean paper towel.
  • Use paper towel to turn off the tap.
  • Use these tips at home too!

Using alcohol-based hand rub:

  • Squirt enough hand rub to cover both of your
    hands (the size of a toonie)
  • Thoroughly rub the product into your hands
    including the back of your hands, your wrists
    between your fingers and under your nails
  • Rub until dry or around 15 seconds

Make sure you wash your hands:

  • Before and after visiting a patient.
  • After coughing or blowing your nose.
  • After using the washroom.
  • Before eating.

We take handwashing very seriously. The four most important times for healthcare workers to clean their hands are:

  • Before contact with a patient or their environment
  • Before doing a procedure
  • After contact with body fluid
  • After contact with a patient or their environment

If you are not sure whether a member of your healthcare team has cleaned their hands, please feel free to ask. It is in your hands!

We check ID. Every patient. Two times. Every Time.

Correct patient identification is critical to ensure we’re providing you with safe care. That’s why your healthcare provider will ask you for at least two identifiers before any treatment or procedure begins. These include your:

  • Full name
  • Unique hospital number
  • Date of birth
  • Ontario Health Card Number

Ask your care provider why we check ID.

Infection Prevention & Control

Patient safety depends on good Infection Prevention and Control and our clinical and support staff members are dedicated to ensuring the highest standards are met for our patients.

Please go to our Infection Prevention & Control page for more information.

Insurance

If you hold a supplementary insurance policy, i.e. Manulife Financial, Mutual Life, Green Shield, etc., the hospital can bill your insurer on your behalf for costs not paid for by OHIP, but covered by your insurance policy.

Please note that if you request Preferred Accommodation (semi-private or private) and your supplementary insurance does not agree to pay the difference, or only pays a portion of the charge, you are responsible for the full payment of the account. Please check your insurance policy carefully and make sure you are covered. The same responsibility applies to all differential rates, such as those for splints, crutches and canes.

To make sure you have all of the information you need regarding your insurance coverage, please find out the answers to the following questions:

  • What is your insurance policy number?
  • What is the effective date and expiry date of your coverage?
  • What benefits are covered? (eg. Semi-private or private accommodations)
  • Do you have a deductible? (eg. You must pay the first $50 of charges incurred)
  • Do you have a cap? (eg. The insurance will only pay a maximum of $100/day of your semi-private coverage) Is the cap a daily, yearly, or life time limit?
  • Are you covered for the services you are receiving? (eg. Maternity, palliative, etc)

You should know the answers to these questions before you sign for your preferred accommodations. If you have signed and are unsure, please check your coverage immediately. Once doing so, if you wish to change your accommodations, inform Patient Registration immediately and they will have you sign a transfer to a lesser accommodation effective of the date of signature. You will be responsible for all charges incurred up to this point.

Payment for services not covered by your insurer should be paid on discharge. Payment can be made by cash, cheque, Interac or major credit card at the Business Office.

Interpreter Services

Interpreter services are available in many languages. Please ask a member of your healthcare team if assistance is required.

Des services de traduction sont disponibles en plusieurs langues. Veuillez vous renseigner auprès d’un membre de l’équipe soignante.

Meals

Nutritionally-balanced meals are provided three times daily – breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you have nutritional concerns or special dietary needs, please ask a member of your health care team to arrange for a dietitian to visit you. The hospital does not provide meals to visitors on the patient unit.

Patient Fees, Rates and Billing

Patient Registration

The Patient Registration Department requires that you bring your Ontario Health Card when you register.

Personal Emergency Information Card

Personal Emergency Information Card – Downloads

Your Medications Matter – Downloads

  • Filling out a Personal Emergency Information Card and carrying it with you will help you be prepared in the event of a health emergency. This card can be printed and folded to fit in a wallet.

    Personal information is critical in a health emergency, especially when people cannot speak for themselves. Filling out a Personal Emergency Information Card will help emergency responders and hospital personnel to ensure a patient’s treatment is appropriate and respects their wishes. It is important for people to ensure family members and caregivers know where they keep their card and that the content is updated if the information changes.

    Click here for information about emergency and urgent care services available in Niagara.

Payment of Account

During regular business hours Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) payment for crutches, canes, splints, ambulances, etc. can be made at time of discharge to the hospital’s Cashier Office at the Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Welland sites. At the Fort Erie and Port Colborne sites, payments can be made at Patient Registration. On weekends and holidays, payments are accepted at Patient Registration desks.

Online Payments

You may also pay your hospital bill on the Niagara Health website, 24 hours a day/seven days a week using your credit card. You will need to refer to your account number on your patient bill or statement to pay online.Please note there is a $2 service fee to make an online payment. This fee goes directly to the provider of this service, not the hospital.At this time, we cannot accept payments through your bank’s online payment system.

Telephones and televisions

St. Catharines Site
Bedside entertainment units in each patient room feature TV, internet, Skype and other options. Please ask a member of your healthcare team for information on telephone and television service in your room.

Douglas, Greater Niagara General, Port Colborne, Welland sites
A telephone is located at most patient bedsides (with the exception of mental health beds) providing free local calling. Long distance phone calls can be made using a calling card. Pay phones are available throughout the hospital.

Please ask a member of your healthcare team for information on television service in your room.

Uniforms

Our staff who provide direct patient care wear coloured uniforms to help you more easily identify the role of each person caring for you. Click here to see a full list of our uniformed staff.

Valuables

Niagara Health recommends that you keep only a small amount of money at your bedside and send any jewellery, credit cards and large sums of money home with a family member or friend.

The hospital does not accept any responsibility for the loss or damage of any personal items, including money, eyeglasses or dentures.

We Round

We’re collaborating with patients and their families to develop new ways to improve the safe sharing and exchange of information between all of our healthcare providers and teams. This includes introducing more regular patient checks called We Round. This means when nurses and other interprofessional team members check on you, they’ll make sure to assess your personal needs, your position, your pain, that your possessions are within reach and your pumps are operating correctly.

What to Bring to Hospital

If you are being admitted to stay overnight, you should bring the following:

  • Identification that will clearly show your name, address and date of birth, as well as your Ontario Health Card and any additional insurance cards.
  • Your Medications Matter Brochure Download:

    Download your copy here
  • A list of the prescription medications you are currently taking, including inhalers, ointments or drops. If a current list is not available, bring in the actual medications. After they’ve been reviewed by your physician, those not required by the hospital should be sent home with a family member. It is also important to inform your health care team of any over-the-counter drugs and herbal medications you are taking.
  • If you received patient education from your doctor or the hospital clinic, please bring it with you. 
  • Hearing aid, if you use one.
  • Personal hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, comb/brush, deodorant, shampoo and tissues.
  • Clothing (pajamas/nightgown, robe/housecoat, slippers)
  • Please leave your valuables at home. If you cannot do so, cash and valuables will be placed in safekeeping. Hospital staff will place your valuables in a locked cabinet for safekeeping until your discharge.
  • If you have been in hospital to deliver a baby, please bring an outfit for your baby, diapers and a car seat.
  • Books/magazines, stationery, knitting, etc., or a favourite toy for young patients.

Some departments may require you to bring some personal items not included above. These departments will provide you with this information prior to admission.

For safety reasons, we restrict the use of privatelyowned electrical appliances. If you brought items like hair dryers, curling irons, or electric shavers, they must be checked and safety certified by our Engineering Department before you use them. Please discuss this with your nurse.

The hospital does not accept any responsibility for the loss or damage of any personal items, including money, eyeglasses or dentures.

Wheelchair Accessibility

Barrier Free Entrances

Wheelchair-accessible entrances are available at all hospitals. Please follow hospital directional signage for drop-off and pick-up areas.

White Boards

There are whiteboards in each patient room to help us to provide you with the best care possible. We encourage you to fill these out with your team and make sure they’re updated regularly. They’re an excellent way for caregivers to get to know their patients, and for patients and families to share what’s important to them regarding their goals for care. The whiteboards identify who is involved in a patient’s care, describe important actions that healthcare providers take to keep our patients and families safe, and much more. All of these actions help guide conversations and remind patients and families that we are equal partners in safety.

Click here to see an example

Workplace Respect

All of our staff, physicians, volunteers, patients and visitors expect and deserve a respectful, safe, caring and inclusive environment. Please be kind to one another. If you do have a concern, please visit Compliments and Concerns.

Information for Family Members

Information for Family Members

Concern about a family member is natural. We support families and want their help in developing a patient’s treatment plan. It is helpful, where possible, to provide the name and relationship of one individual to serve as the primary contact or spokesperson for your family.

Appointing a spokesperson has several benefits. With fewer people calling for patient updates, it reduces the number of telephone calls to the unit, which makes it easier to get through. It also ensures that all members of the family receive the same information.

The needs of each patient and family are different. The nursing staff is happy to discuss with you the best way to share information with your family.

Visiting Hours

Providing great patient care means making sure that everyone we serve has the best possible experience. In support of patient client centred care, we have no set visiting hours. Each department will assess their unique requirements in providing timely care and adequate rest for patients, and communicate any specific visiting guidelines to patients and their families.

Volunteer Resources

Volunteers are an integral part of Niagara Health, devoting their time to help us deliver extraordinary caring to our patients every day. From assisting patients with their meals, to helping patients find their way at all of our sites, volunteers help keep the hospitals running by filling a number of important roles.

Our 850 volunteers also support the important work of the Niagara Health Foundation and our auxiliaries by raising money for equipment through gift shops, lottery ticket sales and other resourcegenerating ventures.

Wheelchair Accessibility

Barrier Free Entrances

Wheelchair-access entrances are available at all hospitals. Please follow hospital directional signage for drop-off and pick-up areas.

Barrier Free Entrance Maps:

Parking at Niagara Health

Parking for Patients & Visitors

Onsite parking is available at all Niagara Health sites. Signage at each location will direct you to park in the lots designated for patients and visitors.

A gated system is in place at our three large sites (St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Welland). Pay and display systems are in use at the Port Colborne and Fort Erie sites. At the St. Catharines Site, we have also added new spaces for parking to better meet the needs of our patients and visitors during peak times.

*When parking in lots with the gated system, there are three options to pay by cash, VISA or MasterCard. The parking system cannot take debit or debit cards.

  • You can use your VISA or MasterCard, swiping upon entry and exit. The same card must be used. No ticket is required.
  • You can take a ticket upon entry into the parking lot. Bring the ticket into the hospital with you – do not leave it in your vehicle. There are kiosk at the entrances, and you can pay by cash, VISA or MasterCard before leaving the building.
  • For those with tickets, you can also use your VISA or MasterCard to pay at the exit gate. You would need to insert your ticket into the machine, followed by your VISA or MasterCard.

*When parking in pay and display lots, please purchase a ticket in the machine and display it on your dashboard.

DID YOU KNOW?
Your parking dollars contribute to the purchase of necessary patient equipment. Niagara Health appreciates your support.

The current rates are as follows:

$3.00 per half hour
$6.00 per one and a half hours
$8 for up to 12 hours (no in/out privileges)
$16.00 Daily Pass (in/out privileges)
$80.00 per month (31 days, to be purchased at the St. Catharines Site)
Staff - $25.00 bi-weekly

Multi-day H PASS packages (Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Welland):

$40 for a five day H PASS (in/out privileges)
$70 for a 10 day H PASS (in/out privileges)
$180 for a to 30 day H PASS (in/out privileges)

H PASS features:

Unlimited in-and-out privileges over a 24-hour period
Transferable between patients, visitors and vehicles
Valid for consecutive and non-consecutive days
Valid for one calendar year from date of purchase
Multi-day packages can be used in Lots A and B at St. Catharines, Lot B at Niagara Falls and Lot B at Welland. The H PASS Packages can be purchased at the Cashier Offices at Niagara Falls and Welland and the Parking Office at St. Catharines during regular business hours.

For more information, please email our parking office or call 1-888-783-7275.

Your Hospital Handbook

We have prepared this handbook to help answer questions you may have during your stay at any of our sites.

Get your copy in English or French

YOUR MEDICATIONS MATTER!

To provide the best possible care, your healthcare team needs to know what medications you are taking at home.

This includes prescription and over-the-counter, non-prescription medications (e.g. Tylenol) as well as vitamins, minerals, supplements and natural remedies.

Don’t forget about ear/eye drops, creams/ointments, inhalers, injections, liquids, nose sprays, patches, samples or suppositories.

Remember to:

  • Keep a medication list
  • Keep it up-to-date
  • Bring it with you to every medical appointment

Complete the Your Medications Matter brochure and make sure to bring it with you when you come to hospital.


Communicating about your care

Communicating about your care

Concern about a family member is natural. We support families and want their help in developing a patient's treatment plan.

It's helpful, where possible, to provide the name and relationship of one individual to serve as the primary contact or spokesperson for your family. Appointing a spokesperson has several benefits. With fewer people calling for patient updates, it reduces the number of phone calls to the unit, which makes it easier to get through. It also ensures that all family members receive the same information.

Every patient is different. The nursing staff is happy to discuss the best ways to share information with your loved ones.

In the event that your healthcare team determines you are incapable of making certain personal care decisions, there is a specific order of people (mostly relatives) that we are required to contact to make decisions on your behalf. These people are called “substitute decision-maker(s)” (SDM). Contacting them for consent purposes is mandatory as part of the Health Care Consent Act. If you prefer to choose your SDM, you must appoint them through a Power of Attorney document.

Also note that identifying a “next of kin,” “emergency contact” or “person to notify” when you come to the hospital may not be the person that can legally make decisions for you, which is why you are encouraged to appoint an SDM. To discuss this procedure and other concerns related to decision-making, please ask to speak with a social worker at Niagara Health.

WiFi Pay-For-Use Service

WiFi Pay-For-Use Service

A guest wireless Internet service is accessible to our patients, visitors and guests on a pay-for-use basis. This new system, called iVisitor, is provided in partnership with Cogeco Cable Inc. and is similar to guest Internet services offered at other hospitals.

iVisitor is available across all of our sites, and revenue generated from the service will be directed to patient care.

iVisitor rates are as follows:

  • four hours: $ 5.95 + HST
  • one day: $ 9.95 + HST
  • three days: $18.95 + HST
  • weekly (seven days): $28.95 + HST
  • monthly: $47.95 + HST

Quick Start Steps

  1. From your device, check the Wireless & Networks Status and Signal Availability
  2. Select "iVisitor" as the Wireless provider/Service Set Identification (SSID)
  3. Open up your Internet browser and follow the instructions on the login page
  4. Click on “Read the FAQ Document” for pertinent information to the guest wireless service
  5. Click on “Purchase an Access Code” to proceed to the purchase screen, if you already have a code enter it in the current users access code box, review and agree to the Acceptable Use Policy and click on “Login”
  6. Choose the Prepaid Plan
  7. Enter your information; note that an email address is important as a copy of your code will be emailed to you
  8. Review and agree to the Acceptable Use Policy
  9. Select either "Credit Card" or "PayPal" for payment. If Credit Card is selected, you will have an option between paying with MasterCard or Visa.
  10. Once your payment is accepted you will be provided with an access code; this is the code you can use to access the Internet during your plan time.
  11. Note that utilizing the iVisitor service assumes acceptance of the Acceptable Use Policy

Shops & Services

Bank Machines

Bank machines can be found in the main lobbies of our Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Welland sites. A branch of the FirstOntario Credit Union is also located in the main lobby of the St. Catharines Site.

Food

Patients are provided with three nutritious meals daily – breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you have nutritional concerns or special dietary needs, please ask a member of your healthcare team to arrange for a Dietitian to visit you. The hospital does not provide meals to visitors on patient units.

There are cafeterias and coffee shops in St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, a cafeteria in Welland, and other fresh and packaged items at Douglas Memorial and Port Colborne.

Vending machines providing hot and cold beverages and snacks are available 24 hours a day in Emergency Department and Urgent Care waiting areas and cafeterias.

Gift Shops

Most of our sites have gift shops run by hospital Auxiliary members as a main fundraising program. Personal items such as soap, toothpaste and shampoo can be purchased in the gift shops. A wide selection of gift items and fresh and silk flower arrangements are also available in some locations. Proceeds are donated to Niagara Health to assist in the purchase of patient-care equipment at the site where the Gift Shop is located.

Pharmacy

Independently owned and operated retail pharmacies can be found at Greater Niagara General in Niagara Falls and our St. Catharines Site.

Spiritual and Religious Care

Spiritual and Religious Care

Niagara Health Spiritual Care staff are interdisciplinary team members who work with patients, families, staff and volunteers at all sites.

They can help you:

  • Connect with spiritual resources
  • Face anxieties and fears
  • Express feelings
  • Think through healthcare decisions
  • Participate in prayers or rituals

Spiritual and Religious Care staff also work with area faith communities/congregations in order for appointed visitors (‘ordained’ and ‘lay’) to attend to the spiritual needs of their people in hospital.

Spiritual Centre

Spiritual Centres are multi-faith areas located at all of our sites. These spaces are open to individuals of all religious traditions and spiritual expression.

To contact someone from Spiritual Care, call the switchboard at 905-378-4647 and ask for Spiritual Care.



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