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Last updated September 1, 2022

Visitors, Support Persons and Essential Care Partners (ECP) play an integral role in the care and well-being of our patients.

Two visitors or ECPs are permitted at the bedside for inpatient units, including Labour and Delivery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. There is no change for outpatient, Emergency Department and Urgent Care Centres, where patients can continue to bring one person.

There has been no change to our visitor guidelines. Those testing positive for COVID-19 are not permitted to visit patients until 10 days after their positive test. Learn more 

Please note:

We appreciate external partners and their provision of critical services and deliveries during COVID-19 and ongoing commitment to maintaining the health and safety of our patients, visitors, staff, physicians, and other external partners. At this time, there are no changes to hospital access by external partners. All external parties must complete online screening prior to entry and are bound by their organization’s signed attestation to remain in compliance with Niagara Health’s COVID-19 Immunization and Management Policy. 

Visitor, Support Person and Essential Care Partner (ECP) Guidelines


Inpatients:

Visiting hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Inpatients can have two support persons at their bedside at a time.
  • Youth may visit as long as they are able to wear a mask at all times and are accompanied by a visitor 16 years of age or older.
  • ECPs can be present 24/7 but will need to coordinate with other visitors to ensure only two people are at the bedside at a time.

Please note:

At times, patients are in isolation and unable to accept 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 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:  

  • Complete COVID-19 screening online before entering.
  • Wear a mask at all times while inside the hospital.
  • Clean hands when entering or leaving spaces.
  • Practice physical distancing where possible.
  • No eating or drinking inside patient rooms and other areas not designated for food or drink consumption.
  • Be respectful.

Consistent with provincial direction for long-term care, masking will also continue to be mandatory in our Extended Care Unit at the Welland Site.

Niagara Health