Nova Scotia Health Visitor Restrictions

(November 20, 2020)

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Visitor restrictions at Nova Scotia Health facilities help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Effective November 20, the following exceptions to the visitor restrictions are in place:

Information for Halifax area and West Hants (*This page does not provide visitor restriction information for the IWK Health Centre)

Due to rising number of active COVID-19 cases in Central Zone and concerns about community spread, we are making some changes to our visitor restrictions.
 
Effective immediately, we’re suspending visitation for hospital inpatients in Central Zone facilities, except in the following circumstances:
Two support people for:

  • palliative care and other patients nearing end of life,
  • patients receiving medical assistance in dying,
  • children under 18 admitted to hospital and
  • abour and birth.

One designated support person will be permitted for inpatients who need support due to physical, intellectual, cognitive and emotional conditions, as well as

  • children under 18 in outpatient settings
  • outpatients who need support to receive care while in hospital due to physical, intellectual, cognitive and emotional conditions
  • those coming to a facility for early labour assessment outside of a scheduled appointment (i.e. emergency situation)

Please note: ALL visitors and support people entering Nova Scotia Health facilities must be screened at the building entrance.

  • Visitors who report any risk factor for COVID-19, including travel outside of the Atlantic bubble within 14 days for any reason or household contact with someone who has travelled outside the Atlantic bubble within 14 days for any reason, are not permitted in Nova Scotia Health facilities. Exceptions will be considered for compassionate reasons in consultation with IPAC.
  • Visitors who have had potential exposure to COVID-19 through presence in a location subject to a notification from Public Health that requires individuals to self-isolate and be tested, will not be permitted in Nova Scotia Health facilities until 14 days after the potential exposure, even if they have had a negative COVID-19 test. Exceptions will be considered for compassionate reasons in consultation with IPAC.

Information for Cape Breton Island, Antigonish and Guysborough Counties

Two support people for:

  • all hospital inpatients
  • palliative care patients approaching end of life
  • patients receiving medical assistance in dying (MAiD)
  • patients in labour and giving birth
  • children in outpatient and emergency settings

* Additional family members may be permitted for those approaching end-of-life in discussion with the care team

One support person for:

  • patients arriving for emergency, outpatient and ambulatory care clinics, appointments or procedures

Please note: Some areas may not be able to accommodate additional support people due to the need to maintain physical distancing requirements. In these cases, care teams will work with families to discuss options.

If you have questions about these exceptions please talk to your care team.

If you feel unwell or have felt unwell in the past 48 hours (fever/chills/sweats, new or worsening cough or a combination of sore throat, runny nose, headache or shortness of breath), are supposed to be self-isolating due to travel, or are waiting for results of COVID-19 test results, please do not visit.

Information for Colchester County and Municipality of East Hants, Cumberland County, and Pictou County

Two support people for:

  • all hospital inpatients
  • palliative care patients approaching end of life
  • patients receiving medical assistance in dying (MAiD)
  • patients in labour and giving birth
  • children in outpatient and emergency settings

* Additional family members may be permitted for those approaching end-of-life in discussion with the care team

One support person for:

  • patients arriving for emergency, outpatient and ambulatory care clinics, appointments or procedures

Please note: Some areas may not be able to accommodate additional support people due to the need to maintain physical distancing requirements. In these cases, care teams will work with families to discuss options.

If you have questions about these exceptions please talk to your care team.

If you feel unwell or have felt unwell in the past 48 hours (fever/chills/sweats, new or worsening cough or a combination of sore throat, runny nose, headache or shortness of breath), are supposed to be self-isolating due to travel, or are waiting for results of COVID-19 test results, please do not visit.

*There are Special Visitor restrictions at Colchester East Hants Health Centre and Aberdeen Hospital

Due to the rising number of active COVID-19 cases in the province and concerns about community spread, we are making some changes to our visitor restrictions for inpatients and outpatients, including emergency departments. These changes are being made to protect our vulnerable patients, clients and staff and limit the spread of COVID-19.  
 
Effective Wednesday, November 25, the following exceptions to the visitor restrictions are in place at Colchester East Hants Health Centre and Aberdeen Hospital.
 
No visitors are allowed except for:
  • Two designated support people per day for:
  • palliative care and other patients nearing end of life
  • patients receiving medical assistance in dying
  • children under 18 admitted to hospital  
  • labour and birth 
One designated support person for:
  • children under 18 in outpatient settings
  • prenatal visits
  • inpatient and outpatients, including patients arriving at the hospital for cancer care, emergency, and ambulatory care clinics, appointments or procedures) who need support to receive care due to physical, intellectual, cognitive and emotional conditions
  • patients requiring support for critical treatment decisions such as organ transplantation, initiation of hemodialysis at the discretion of the clinical team
 
Please note: ALL visitors and support people entering Nova Scotia Health facilities must be screened at the building entrance or 72 hours before presenting at a building entrance
  • Visitors who report any risk factor for COVID-19, including travel outside of the Atlantic bubble within 14 days for any reason or household contact with someone who has travelled outside the Atlantic bubble within 14 days for any reason, are not permitted in Nova Scotia Health facilities. Exceptions will be considered for compassionate reasons in consultation with IPAC.
  • Visitors who have had potential exposure to COVID-19 through presence in a location subject to a notification from Public Health that requires individuals to self-isolate and be tested, will not be permitted in Nova Scotia Health facilities until 14 days after the potential exposure, even if they have had a negative COVID-19 test. Exceptions will be considered for compassionate reasons in consultation with IPAC.
 
We appreciate the important and valuable role family caregivers play in supporting patient care and mental-wellbeing and understand that these restrictions are difficult for patients and families.  We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make additional changes as required. The guiding principles of the Family Presence Policy (AD-QR-020) will guide our approach.
 
These changes do not apply to Nova Scotia Health long-term care facilities. Visitation restrictions in long-term care are mandated under the Health Protection Order.

Annapolis and Kings Counties, Digby, Shelburne and Yarmouth Counties, Lunenburg and Queens Counties

Two support people for:

  • all hospital inpatients
  • palliative care patients approaching end of life
  • patients receiving medical assistance in dying (MAiD)
  • patients in labour and giving birth
  • children in outpatient and emergency settings

* Additional family members may be permitted for those approaching end-of-life in discussion with the care team

One support person for:

  • patients arriving for emergency, outpatient and ambulatory care clinics, appointments or procedures

Please note: Some areas may not be able to accommodate additional support people due to the need to maintain physical distancing requirements. In these cases, care teams will work with families to discuss options.

If you have questions about these exceptions please talk to your care team.

If you feel unwell or have felt unwell in the past 48 hours (fever/chills/sweats, new or worsening cough or a combination of sore throat, runny nose, headache or shortness of breath), are supposed to be self-isolating due to travel, or are waiting for results of COVID-19 test results, please do not visit.

Important information for family caregivers, primary support people

Visitor restrictions are in place at all Nova Scotia Health hospitals to protect our vulnerable patients and staff and limit the spread of COVID-19. We understand how difficult these restrictions are for patients and families and how important it is to have loved ones present while a patient is in the hospital. While no general visitation is permitted, we are easing restrictions to allow more opportunities for family members, primary support persons and caregivers to support patients in hospital where it is feasible and safe to do so within public health guidelines.
 
The following measures will help ensure patient, staff and visitor safety. All primary support person/family caregivers must:
  • be feeling well at the date and time of the visit
  • be screened upon entry - anyone with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, on self-isolation or being tested for COVID-19 due to recent travel or potential exposure to the virus will not be permitted to enter 
  • wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times
  • maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet) from staff and others, except your loved one 
  • 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
Please do not use patient washrooms or share devices, books, or food.
 
Procedures will vary by site and inpatient unit based on ability to manage and monitor the public health guidelines that are in place to protect the health and safety of patients, staff and visitors.
 
Thank you for your patience and cooperation.
 
 
Designated caregivers can watch this instructional video to learn what to expect when visiting long-term care facilities.
 
If you have questions or concerns please speak with the care team or contact Patient Relations at 1-844-884-4177 or review Visiting patients in hospital: Frequently Asked Questions.