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Patient, Family & Caregiver Experience

Updated  February 28, 2022 – this information is subject to change.

The Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA) will continue with our current COVID-19 safety precautions. As a health care institution that continues to regularly care for COVID-19 patients, we need to exercise caution and will therefore continue to require all family caregivers to show government issued photo identification and proof of full COVID-19 vaccination before entering any of the HPHA hospital sites.

** Full vaccination is achieved 14 days after last dose in a COVID-19 vaccination series**

If you do not have a computer or printer, you can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to request a copy by mail. You can also visit your local library to use computer and internet resources or ask a trusted friend or organization to help print a copy.

Family caregivers who have a valid medical exemption, signed by a doctor or nurse practitioner will be required to contact the Corporate Patient Experience Office at 519-272-8210 Ext. 2423 to complete the Proof of Medical Exemption process prior to coming to the hospital.

Regardless of immunization status, all individuals entering the hospital are required to undergo screening for COVID-19 prior to accessing the facility.

Family Caregivers should NOT come to the hospital if they:

  • Are feeling unwell
  • Have tested positive for COVID-19
  • Have been tested for COVID-19 with results pending (or unresolved) Note: patients coming to the hospital for testing before a procedure will be permitted to come to the hospital
  • Have had close contact with a confirmed or suspect case of COVID-19

Family caregivers must wear the surgical grade facemask provided and follow all appropriate infection prevention and control guidelines at all times during their time spent at the hospital.

Definitions (for the purpose of these guidelines)

  • Full Vaccination: 14 days after last dose given in a COVID-19 vaccination series.
  • Family: Includes a spouse/domestic partner, guardian, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, relative, neighbour and/or friend.
  • Caregiver Is designated by the patient and can be a family member, guardian, friend and/or neighbour who provides support, assistance and/or care for family members and friends in need in any capacity or length of time.  To ensure Caregivers are identifiable, Caregiver ID badges are available through the Corporate Patient Experience Office.
  • Palliative Patient: Is a patient with a life threatening diagnosis who is receiving specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms.
Note: individuals who do not meet the definition of Family and/or Caregiver may not visit an in-patient at this time.

  • Children (16 years of age or younger): HPHA supports the presence of children for palliative or MAiD patients only at this time.
  • Inpatients: HPHA supports one fully vaccinated family caregiver once per day during the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Patients in Isolation (including Emergency Department patients): Family Caregiver presence will not be permitted until the patient’s isolation precautions have been cleared.
  • Palliative End-of-Life Presence:
    • Palliative Patient Imminently Approaching End-of-Life Care: Family / caregiver presence will be determined based on the patients’ Palliative Performance Scale (PPS). The PPS scale is a validated and reliable tool used by healthcare providers to assess a patient's functional performance and to determine the gradual progression toward end-of-life.
    • Palliative Patients imminently progressing toward end-of-life who have a PPS scale assessment of equal to or less than 30%: When physical distancing can be maintained, HPHA supports up to 4 fully vaccinated family / caregiver(s) to be present 24/7; as approved by the unit where the patient is receiving care in consultation with Infection Prevention and Control and family/caregiver(s).
    • HPHA supports the presence of children accompanied by a fully immunized adult. Proof of vaccine will not be required for children not eligible for vaccine.
  • Patients receiving Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)
    • When physical distancing can be maintained, HPHA supports up to 4 fully vaccinated family / caregiver(s) to be present as approved by the unit, where the patient is receiving care in consultation with Infection Prevention and Control and family/caregiver(s).
    • HPHA supports the presence of children accompanied by a fully immunized adult. Proof of vaccine will not be required for children not eligible for vaccine.
Please note: A unit in COVID-19 outbreak requires additional safety precautions to be in place as directed by Public Health, which could result in the hospital limiting family/caregiver presence.
  • Emergency Department: HPHA supports one fully vaccinated family caregiver to accompany an adult patient. Children and infants may have a family caregiver present, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Community Outpatient Clinic Appointments: HPHA supports one fully vaccinated family caregiver to accompany an adult patient ONLY if the patient requires assistance to manage their condition, chronic illness, disability/mobility, cognitive impairment, language barrier, special needs or if critical conversations are required. Children and infants may have a family caregiver present, whether vaccinated for not, with no prior arrangements.
*Accompaniment by an unvaccinated support person for adult patients must be discussed with the person booking the appointment prior to arriving at the hospital for the patient’s appointment.

Note: If the department is unable to maintain physical distancing, the family caregiver may be required to wait outside the treatment area while the patient receives care.
  • Outpatient Surgery: Due to space limitations, we ask that one adult caregiver accompany a patient ONLY if the patient requires assistance to manage their condition, chronic illness, disability/mobility, cognitive impairment, language barrier, special needs or if critical conversations are required.
HPHA recognizes the importance of family and caregiver presence for the health and well-being of our patients.

The following is a list of exceptions that would permit support by one non-vaccinated Family and Caregiver.
Reason for family and caregiver presence Clinical Exceptions that would permit patient support by Non-vaccinated Family and Caregiver(s)

 

Safety

a) Children or infants (16 years of age or younger) - may be accompanied by one family caregiver regardless of vaccination status. 
b) Mental Health crisis – patients who are experiencing a mental health crisis that the care team believes could be improved by having family / caregiver presence may be permitted
c) Cognitive Impairment – patients with dementia, delirium, or cognitive decline or any other special needs and who require a family caregiver to assist in wayfinding, retaining information, and following instructions - (as per Accessibility for Ontarians with a Disability – AODA)

Enabling Care
a) Laboring mothers
b) Critical conversations – patients for whom the team determines important care conversations would be better understood or explained in person
c) Training to enable discharge – when family/caregivers require training on how to use medical equipment that will be used in the home to support recovery
d) Patients with Development or Intellectual Disability that requires support
e) Interpretation/Translation – HPHA uses professionally trained healthcare interpreters; however, a family / caregiver may be permitted for patients who do not speak English when the team determines their presence may assist with care (e.g., during imaging to explain repositioning to the patient)
Compassionate Grounds a) Palliative / MAiD (imminently approaching end of life) with the exception of COVID-19 positive patients
b) Critical life-altering conversation
c) Bleeding in Pregnancy

*Note: The Manager or delegate of the unit or department where the patient is receiving care will review all clinical exceptions for visitations by unvaccinated family caregiver in consultation with the Infection Prevention and Control Team and the family / caregiver.

While in the Hospital

  • Please stay in your loved one’s room until you are ready to leave.
  • Please do not use the patient washroom. Public washrooms are available; inquire with the unit where the patient is receiving care for locations.
  • Family/caregivers may not leave the unit for any purpose. If you choose to leave the hospital grounds, you will be unable to return until the following day.
In Common Areas or When Leaving the Hospital
  • Please do not linger in hallways or spend extended time in public areas such as, lobbies, waiting areas, cafeterias, and vending areas other than to make a quick food purchase or use the public washroom.
Staying Connected

HPHA is committed to person-centered care, our staff will be happy to assist patients, families and caregivers to stay connected. Tablets can be made available for virtual connections though our Information Technology team.

Food and Personal Items for Patients
  • Food and/or beverages may not be consumed in a patient room or in patient care area by family caregivers. Designated areas are available for family caregivers to purchase and consume meals and snacks, please inquire with the patient’s clinical staff
  • Family caregiver may bring in food for their loved one. All food containers must be disposed of or taken home by the family caregiver when they leave
  • Chemotherapy patients may bring their own food and drink to their appointment
To maintain Infection Prevention and Control standards and the safety of our staff and patients, please bring only the listed items below to the hospital for patients.
  • glasses, hearing aids and dentures
  • mobility items (canes, walkers, wheelchairs)
  • new toiletries only
  • new grooming items – toothbrushes, combs and hair brushes
  • personal items- books, magazines, puzzle books, family photos etc.
  • mobile phone/tablet,
  • clean clothing and footwear
  • Please direct requests for special items to the Manager of the Unit where the patient is receiving care.
We thank you for your continued support with following these important guidelines and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Manager where the patient is receiving care or the HPHA Corporate Patient Experience / Patient Partner & Caregiver Office at 1-888-275-1112 Ext. 2423.

Please note these guidelines apply only to family and caregivers and not to patients. Please do not delay seeking medical care if needed.