Resuming Services at Niagara Health

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Visitor Information at Niagara Health

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What we are doing to keep you safe

Resuming Services at Niagara HealthAs Niagara Health moves through Phase 2 of our recovery planning, clinical activity is operating between 25-35% of normal volumes. The number of appointments will increase as the weeks and months progress; however, safety will continue to be an important focus as appointments increase.

Between May 25 and July 5, since beginning the process to resume clinical services, Niagara Health has performed about 400 emergency and 950 elective surgeries, including cataract, orthopedic, vascular, and gynecological procedures.

Between May 25 and July 5, Niagara Health team has performed approximately:

  • 14,000 X-rays
  • 6,000 CT scans
  • 4,700 ultrasounds
  • More than 680 endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures

We have also had more than 3,000 visits to our orthopedic outpatient clinics.

During the pandemic, we have been placing an increasing focus on virtual care – using video conferencing and telephone calls – to meet the needs of our patients, and support safety by reducing traffic in and out of the hospital. Virtual care will be a bigger part of our services moving forward, especially as we gradually resume services.

We’re thankful for the community’s patience during this time and we ask for your continued understanding as we work as quickly and safely as we can to re-introduce services. Niagara Health had to postpone over 3,000 procedures due to COVID, and the pandemic is not over yet, so it will take time to see everyone who has been waiting for care.

As services are reintroduced across our sites, please remember to:

Important Reminders for patients coming to Niagara Health (NH):

Be prepared to be screened before entering the hospital. Download a copy of the screening tool, which can be printed and filled out to expedite the screening process.

Patients and approved visitors are asked to bring their own masks to wear at all times while at NH.

Follow signage and other directional information while at the hospital.

Maintain a safe physical distance of six-feet (2 metres) from others while at NH sites.

Practice meticulous hand hygiene upon entry and at appropriate times while in the hospital.

Download a poster with important reminders here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I call to schedule an appointment?

Your physician or clinic will call if you have a scheduled appointment. Please do not call the hospital.

Patients who have concerns about their health status should contact their clinic or physician’s office for guidance.

Anyone experiencing serious symptoms should call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department if able.

When will I be contacted regarding my appointment?

We are doing our best to see patients as quickly as possible; however, it will take time. We ask for your support and understanding as we work to resume services safely.

Services are being prioritized based on the ethical framework provided by Ontario Health, considering multiple factors such as the patients’ condition, the implications of delaying care, equity of services and impact on vulnerable populations.

What’s being done to support safety?

Everyone’s health and safety is our primary concern. We’re taking measures to resume services in a safe and gradual way.

Measures include:

  • Reducing the number of entrances/exits at all our sites.
  • Maintaining visitor restrictions. We ask that you come alone if possible.
  • Screening all Emergency Department/Urgent Care patients, as well as all outpatients and approved visitors entering our sites. You will be checked for symptoms and required to wear a mask throughout the hospital.
  • Encouraging physical distancing. Everyone should maintain a safe distance of 2 metres or 6 feet away from one another. There are signs, barriers and other markers in place as reminders.
  • Regular hand cleaning. There are sanitizer stations located throughout the building. Please clean your hands when you enter the building, throughout your stay, and when you leave.
  • Limiting food services in the building. We ask that you maintain your distance while in line.
  • Arranging seating in public areas to promote physical distancing. Please do not move the furniture.
  • Spacing out appointments to maximize distancing. Please give yourself enough time to get to an appointment, but please do not arrive early. Your physician’s office will let you know when to arrive.

I need to bring someone to help me. Can you make exceptions to your visitors policy?

For physical distancing, patients are asked to come alone. If you need to bring someone to assist you, please let your care team know ahead of time as all visitors need to be approved in advance. Anyone accompanying you must also pass hospital screening. New policies and procedures regarding visitors are in development as part of recovery planning.

I have an appointment booked. Could it change?

We will do everything possible to keep your appointment once it’s scheduled.

However, it is possible that appointments could change. The COVID-19 pandemic is not over and we will need to alter services if there is an increase in COVID patients in the hospital. We will continue to prioritize emergency and urgent cases.

I have an upcoming surgery/procedure, how can I prepare for it?

As you get ready for surgery/procedure, you must self-isolate from others as much as possible. If you develop symptoms of COVID -19 (such as fever, cough, trouble breathing) before your surgery/procedure, please contact your physician for further instructions. Please refer to our tip sheet on how to prepare for surgery.

When should I arrive?

When your appointment is booked, your clinic will let you know when to arrive. To support physical distancing, we are spacing out appointments to avoid crowding in the hospital and waiting rooms. Please give yourself enough time to get to your appointment, but please do not come early.

Will I be seen in person or can my appointment be held virtually?

We continue to look at new ways to provide safe, high quality care for our patients. Where possible, we may book patient appointments virtually. This means you will be seen by your care provider by phone, or through a video virtual visit. Our care providers who offer this service are highly skilled and you will receive excellent care.

What is the mask policy for patients and visitors?

All Emergency Department/Urgent Care patients, as well as all outpatients and approved visitors, are required to wear a mask at all times while in hospital, including common areas, elevators, waiting room areas and in patient rooms while visiting. Patients and visitors are asked to bring their own masks. Limited exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis for medical reasons.

Niagara Health will provide people masks if they do not have one. If someone brings a mask that is wet, damaged or soiled, they will be asked to discard it and will be provided a new one. We also encourage the community to remember the importance of meticulous hand hygiene when putting a mask on and taking it off, and to practice physical distancing to keep everyone safe.

Find out how to safely wear a mask here.

Niagara Health System