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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Updated Jan. 26

New visitor restrictions at Niagara Health as of Thursday, January 28

These guidelines are in place for everyone’s safety and must be followed. Those who do not follow all posted safety guidelines will be asked to leave the hospital.

We appreciate your cooperation during the COVID pandemic.

Beginning Thursday, January 28, Niagara Health will restrict general visitation across all of our sites to limit traffic in the hospital as part of our ongoing COVID-19 response.
We understand that patients may need support while in hospital, and as part of our commitment to patient and family-centred care, there will be options available to them.

As of Thursday, visitation at the hospital will be permitted if the individual:

  • is supporting a patient in exceptional circumstances; or
  • has been designated as an Essential Care Partner (ECP) for a patient.

Essential Care Partners

ECPs provide emotional, cognitive or physical care to their loved ones and function as another member of the care team. Patients are eligible for an Essential Care Partner if admitted into an inpatient bed for longer than seven to ten days or have preplanned surgeries. Patients in the Emergency Department are not eligible to have an ECP.

Some situational examples where the presence of an ECP would be permitted are:

  • Life altering events (i.e. absence of certain visitor could result in long term health effects, emotional or psychological)
  • Vulnerable patients who may be unable to communicate effectively or suffering from cognitive impairment
  • Patients that require a caregiver to prevent physical hardship or support for transitions in care

Our care team will help to identify patients who would benefit from this program and provide support to them in the intake process. Eligible patients can also start the request themselves through the care team. ECPs will receive training in our safety protocols, among other important information. Niagara Health completes all required paperwork and will ultimately decide if a patient is eligible. Loved ones who would like more information are encouraged to contact the patient’s care team.

Support persons

Support persons may accompany outpatients and visit with inpatients to provide support in exceptional circumstances. Exceptions would also be made for patients coming to our Emergency Departments/Urgent Care Centres. Among the factors the care team may consider are: supporting patients in life altering circumstances, experiencing a mental health crisis, are at end of life, or are vulnerable (cognitive, developmentally delayed, language impairment, physical challenges). In the case of outpatients and inpatients, support persons should contact the care team in advance to discuss the process. In the case of our Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Centres, the triage nurse will assess a patient’s eligibility for a support person.

To learn more about these guidelines, please call the unit directly where the patient is receiving care, visit our website or call our Switchboard at 905-378-4647.

Infection prevention and control

Strict infection prevention and control measures are in place for everyone’s safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. All of our guidelines must be followed, which includes wearing a hospital-issued mask at all times, practicing physical distancing and meticulous hand washing. Those who do not follow these guidelines will be asked to leave.

Niagara Health thanks the community for its support as we work to support our patients and families and maintain the safest environment possible in the hospital.

Essential Care Partners and support persons at Niagara Health must:

Be 16 years of age or older.

Pass screening. 

Provide name and phone number to staff to support contact tracing.

Not bring food or drink into the hospital for their own consumption.

Wear a mask properly at all times while in the hospital.

Maintain a safe physical distance of six feet (two metres) from others.

Wash their hands at every opportunity, especially before entering the unit or patient room.

Bring only essential items for patients, no valuables

Download a printable version of our guidelines here.

Niagara Health System