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Last updated April 14, 2022

Visitors, Support Persons and Essential Care Partners play an integral role in the care and well-being of our patients. As cases of COVID-19 increase in the hospital and in the community, it is important that we maintain a safe environment for staff, physicians, patients and families.

Starting Thursday, April 14, only one visitor or ECP will be permitted at the bedside for inpatient units, including Labour and Delivery and NICU. There is no change for outpatient, Emergency Department (ED) and Urgent Care Centres (UCC), where patients can also continue to bring one person to support them.

Learn more here. 

Visitor, Support Person and Essential Care Partner Guidelines


Visiting hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Inpatients can have one person at their bedside at a time.
  • Patients may designate up to two Essential Care Partners (ECPs). ECPs can be present 24/7 but will need to coordinate with other visitors to ensure only one person is at the bedside at a time.


At times, patients are in isolation and unable to accept Essential Care Partners (ECPs) or visitors due to COVID-19. Check with the patient’s unit ahead of your visit to see if your loved one can have a visitor.

Visitors, Support Persons and Essential Care Partners (ECPs) are not permitted on units in outbreak. Please see our COVID-19 activity page for a list of these units. Visitors, Support Persons and ECPs are not permitted to see patients who are positive for COVID-19, have had COVID-19 exposure or awaiting test results, except in exceptional circumstances.

Outpatients and same-day appointments:

Patients can have one Support Person per visit for the duration of their stay. 

Emergency Department and Urgent Care Centre:

Patients can have one Support Person at a time.

Support Persons may change based on the duration of the patient’s visit. However, only one person can be with the patient at a time. 

Long-term care residents in our Extended Care Unit

Visiting hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Please follow all visiting guidelines implemented by the Ministry of Long Term Care.

Opportunities to support your loved ones in the hospital:

Support Person for Emergency Department, Urgent Care, Inpatients and for Same-Day Appointments

A Support Person is someone who is 16 years of age or older who can accompany a patient and support them through the care they are receiving. They will come to the hospital with the patient and stay with them for their entire visit.

To learn more about guidelines for Support Persons, please call the unit directly where the patient is receiving care or call our Switchboard at 905-378-4647 for assistance in connecting with the appropriate care area.

Essential Care Partners (ECPs)

A patient may be eligible to have an Essential Care Partner (ECP) trained to be part of their care team if they are admitted to an inpatient bed for longer than seven days or they have a preplanned surgery. Patients request an ECP by speaking with their care team.

The ECP program, launched in January 2021, allows patients to designate up to two loved ones who can provide emotional, cognitive and/or physical care as part of their overall healthcare team (only one person can be at a patient’s bedside at a time). Different than a visitor, an ECP is someone who is considered essential to the safety and well-being of a patient while they are in the hospital. Support can include things like assisting in decision-making, helping patients with eating or other tasks and communicating with hospital staff and physicians when they notice changes in behaviour.

Learn about the program

Follow infection prevention and control guidelines inside the hospital

Every person inside the hospital must:

Pass screening before coming inside.

Provide their information for contact tracing.

Wear a mask at all times, even if you are fully vaccinated. You will be provided with a facemask. Cloth masks cannot be worn inside the hospital. Check with the screeners to see if the mask you bring with you is sufficient to wear.

Clean your hands when entering or leaving spaces.

Practice physical distance of six feet (two metres) from others when possible.

Do not eat or drink inside patient rooms and other areas not designated for food or drink consumption.

Bring only essential items for patients, no valuables or plants that are in soil.

Wear your identifying sticker in an easy-to-see spot. 

We strongly recommend full vaccination against COVID-19. Visitors must pass COVID-19 screening before entering the hospital; however, proof of vaccination is no longer required.

Niagara Health System