General Patient & Visiting Family Information

Share This Page

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

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

Emergency Urgent Care Patient Supplies Price List

Patient Rate Schedule

Accommodation Rate Schedule

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.

Dentures

Dentures are easily lost if placed in a tissue, paper or on the bedside cabinet. Should you remove your dentures, be sure to ask the nurse for a denture cup.

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!

Make sure you wash your hands:

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

Waterless hand wash dispensers can be found throughout the hospital.

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.

Interpreter Services

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

Des services de traduction sont disponibles en plusiers langues. Veuillez vous resèigner aupres d’un mémbre de l’equipe soignante.

Il servizio de t’aduziore e desponibile in varie lingue. Si prega di domandare ad un impiegato dell’sopedale

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

See the document here

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.

  • Brochure - Print Version

  • Brochure - Fill online

Payment of Account

During office 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 Greater Niagara General, St. Catharines, and Welland sites. At the Douglas Memorial, and Port Colborne sites, payments can be made at Patient Registration.

On weekends and holidays payments will be accepted at Patient Registration at all hospital sites. 

Alternate Level of Care Co-Payment

If you are in an acute-care unit and your condition changes, indicating that the type of care you now require is longer term due to illness or disabilities, your status will be designated as Alternate Level of Care (ALC). This means that your short-term acute care needs are over and you now have long-term needs.

In consultation with your health care team, it will be determined whether your longer term needs can be met at home by your family and/or community support, or in a complex continuing care or long-term care facility.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care recognizes that the day a patient’s condition changes, the necessary resources for placement should be available immediately, but often they are not. Patients already placed in a complex continuing care or long-term care facility are expected to pay a co-payment. Thus, the Ministry, to make the system fair and to discourage misuse of beds, established the ALC co-payment. The co-payment is to help cover the cost of accommodation (ward room) and meals.

Patients who are waiting to go home with family and/or community support are not expected to pay a co-payment.

The Ministry sets a maximum co-payment rate on July 1 of each year. All acute, complex care and long term care facilities charge the same rate in the province. The Ministry increases the rate yearly based on the Consumer Price Index for the year.

Patients will pay the maximum co-payment rate unless they qualify for a reduction based on an income test that evaluates a patient’s ability to pay. The Business Office will contact the patient/family to set up an income review and payment arrangements upon the patient’s change of status.

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.

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.

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:

    Print Version
    Fill Online Version
  • 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.

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:

White Boards

There are white boards 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 to guide conversations and remind patients and families about key safety factors.

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.

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 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.


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

Cafeteria

Cafeterias are located at Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Welland Sites. Varying break time, lunch and dinner services are available.

Coffee Kiosks/Snack Bars

In addition to cafeterias, most Niagara Health hospitals provide coffee kiosks/snack bars with a variety of snack items and beverages.

Gift Shop

Most Niagara Health hospitals 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 shop. A wide selection of gift items and fresh and silk flower arrangements are also available. Proceeds are donated to Niagara Health hospitals to assist in the purchase of patient-care equipment.

Pharmacy

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

Vending Machines

Vending machines providing hot and cold beverages and candy are available 24-hours a day in the waiting area of the Emergency Departments. Several Cafeterias feature vending machines which are accessible 24 hours a day.

Spiritual and Religious Care

Spiritual and Religious Care

Full-time Chaplains are Niagara Health interdisciplinary team members. They work with patients, families, staff and volunteers.

Professional care goals include:

  • healthy, meaningful use of people’s spirituality,
  • people’s awareness of meaning and purpose,
  • people’s use of their religious traditions, beliefs and practices.

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.



Go Back

Niagara Health System