Gradual easing of some hospital visitor restrictions coming
Some Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) hospital visitor restrictions will be eased beginning on Tuesday, June 23 to allow more opportunities for inpatients to see friends and loved ones.
With the steady decline and consistently low number of known COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia, NSHA believes it’s time to slowly reintroduce some inpatient hospital visits.
Beginning on Tuesday, hospital inpatients will be permitted to identify one designated essential support person as a visitor. This support person can be a family member or friend. The designated person may rotate on a weekly basis.
“It is hard for patients to be separated from their loved ones during a hospital stay. This change is meant to support the care and mental well-being of our inpatients while at the same time keeping public health measures in place to protect patients and staff,” said Madonna MacDonald, NSHA Vice-President Health Services.
The following measures will help ensure patient and visitor safety. All visitors must:
- be feeling well at the date and time of the visit
- maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet) from patients and staff at all times
- wash their hands when entering and leaving the hospital and when entering and leaving the patient’s room
- go directly to and from the patient’s room, or visit location, and remain there for the duration of the visit
- be screened upon entry. Anyone with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, in self-isolation, or being tested for COVID-19 due to recent travel or potential exposure to the virus will not be permitted to enter.
Visitors are encouraged to wear a non-medical mask and cannot sit on the patient’s bed, use patient washrooms, share devices, books, food, or bring gifts or cards.
Patient visits will be scheduled through patient care teams to minimize the total number of visitors on an inpatient unit at one time. This is essential to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.
Scheduling of visits, visiting hours, as well as frequency and duration of visits will vary by site or inpatient unit based on the ability to manage and monitor public health guidelines. Care teams will be in touch directly with designated visitors to go over the new protocols and schedule visits. Please do not contact the hospital to arrange a visit.
All other visitor restrictions currently in place will continue. Patients attending the hospital for appointments or procedures will continue to be asked to visit alone. Under exceptional circumstances (e.g. mobility concerns, substitute decision maker in place, etc.) patients can bring a support person.
As previously outlined by the provincial government, long-term care facilities and veterans units are implementing procedures to allow outdoor visits following direction from the chief medical officer of health. Care teams will communicate directly with residents and their families to arrange these visits.
NSHA understands the restrictions in place for the past few months have been difficult for patients and families. But the measures are necessary to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 among patients and staff.
As Nova Scotia continues to reopen, NSHA will monitor its current policies and make adjustments when safe to do so.
For more information on current visitor restrictions, please visit: http://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus-home/nsha-visitor-restrictions
Provincial media line: 1-844-483-3344