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Caregiver Presence Package

At LACGH, it is critical that we keep patients, staff and the Hospital environment safe.  As such, during the COVID-19 pandemic we have put in place additional precautions to reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus including temporary changes visitation practices. 

You are receiving this package because you have been identified as designated care partner (DCP), a caregiver, for a patient who is either admitted or accessing a care service within the Hospital. Contained in this package is information that we ask you to read and adhere to prior to entering, and while in the facility to keep you, the patient, and the staff safe.  

We recognize the importance of caregiver support when patients are in hospital and will make every effort to ensure that the needs of patients and families are met while these temporary measures are in place, including the use virtual technology to support connecting patients to their loved ones whenever possible.

Temporary Changes to the LACGH Family Presence Visiting Hours Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

What is family presence?

At LACGH, we believe that family members are not just visitors in a patient’s life – they are essential partners in care.  We use the term family presence and designated care provider (DCP) to distinguish between presence for support reasons and visitation for social reasons.  DCPs are people who the patient identifies to be involved in their care and care related decisions (those whom a patient considers essential to the safety and wellbeing of while in hospital) as opposed to from more casual friends and or that would be considered “visitors”.

Why have we made these changes to our policy?

All Ontario hospitals were asked in mid-March by the Chief Medical Officer of Health of the province to restrict visitors (i.e. limit family presence) in order to help protect patients and staff from COVID-19.  It is important to reduce the number of people inside our hospital sites so that we can reduce the risk of infectious disease being spread and practice physical distancing to the best of our abilities. These temporary measures are still in place to help keep our hospital safe for our patients and our staff.  It is important that we reduce the risk of bringing COVID-19 into our hospital so that we can continue to provide care to patients.

Have other hospitals made similar changes?

Yes, most hospitals in Ontario have made similar changes to those we have made to temporarily restrict families coming with or visiting their loved ones who are patients. In some areas where there is higher prevalence of COVID-19 in the hospital or in the community, some hospitals have temporarily prohibited all family presence and visitors.

When will LACGH go back to the usual policy of encouraging family presence/visitors?

At this time, we do not know when we will be able to relax our current temporary restrictions on family presence or relax the requirements around physical distancing which require us to limit the number of people coming to our sites. There are also still people sick with COVID-19 in communities around Napanee and we care for patients from these communities.  We continue to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 in our area, in the hospital and in the Province as we make decisions, including those about family presence/visitors.  We are guided by our experts in Infection Prevention & Control and by recommendations or rules set by the Province of Ontario.

Virtual Visiting/Staying Connected

Virtual care and virtual care partner connection is available to all patients and care partners, regardless of whether care partners are at the bedside, or accompanying a family member.

Virtual Visits

Virtual visits will be encouraged using either the patients’ own technology device or via a tablet provided by the hospital. Patients can connect to the free LAC Public Wi-Fi and use video apps such as FaceTime, Messenger and Zoom without using up their data plan. If a patient does not have a device, we are happy to arrange a Virtual Visit (video chat). These can be facilitated by either requesting a Virtual Visit appointment via email: VirtualVisits@lacgh.napanee.on.ca  or speaking with the care team staff.

Send an E- Postcard Message

If a patient doesn’t have their own email account and family/friends would like to send them a message, they can send an ‘e-postcard’ to us though the Hospital’s website and we will deliver it.

Guidelines for Designated Care Partners

On the day before and morning of your visit:

  • Self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19. Please self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19. If you have symptoms, please do not come to the hospital, consider getting a COVID-19 swab. If you need to arrange an alternate Care Partner for the patient, please contact the Charge Nurse right away 
  • Check your arrival or visit time (if provided with one).We ask that you limit the visit to one hour when possible. Please respect this timeframe as it helps us ensure there are not too many people in the Hospital or on a unit at the same time. Care partners are not permitted to sleep or stay overnight in the hospital.
  • Prepare what you will need while at the hospital. You will be expected to stay with the patient while you are inside the hospital. You will not be able go in and out of the hospital or use the cafeteria.   
  • Check your mask. Ensure you have a clean or unused mask that is in good condition and comfortable as you will be required to wear your mask while in the hospital. In efforts to conserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health care works we ask you to use your own mask. If you do not have a mask one will be provided for you. You may be asked to change your mask when with a patient or in a specific unit.

When you arrive at the hospital:

  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands using the hand sanitizer provided at the entrance. If you are wearing gloves you will be asked to remove them and asked to wash your hands well. 
  • Go through the screening entrance. If there is a line please physically distance. Your contact information will be captured in the event that contact tracing is required. You will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, recent travel outside of Canada, travel to a red or grey (lockdown) zone or had visitors from a red or grey zone and close contact with people who have COVID-19. You must be honest to ensure safety for yourself as well as our staff, patients and other care partners. 
  • Put on your mask. Ensure your mask is covering your nose, mouth and chin and is in good condition and comfortable. 
  • Wash your hands. Please wash your hands again after putting on your mask. Avoid touching your mask once it is on; if you do touch the mask wash your hands after. 
  • Wear your Hospital provided caregiver identification. This identification helps the care team include you in care decisions and conversations.

While you are inside the hospital

  • Go directly to the care area you are visiting (unit, clinic, treatment area or designated meeting area). Do not walk around the hospital, visit the cafeteria, or spend time in public places with others. Stay with the patient that you are there to support, or in designated waiting areas if you need to be separated during tests, procedures or treatments. 
  • If you are visiting an inpatient unit: 
    • Please go there. If not, please go directly to the unit and check in with staff. You will be asked to stay at the patient’s bedside and to not visit other areas of the hospital. 
  • Wear your mask. Your mask must fully cover your nose, mouth and chin at all times. You may only remove your mask if you must eat or drink, no eating or drinking in patient care areas. Try not to touch or adjust your mask while wearing it, if you do, wash your hands. Always wash your hands before and after putting on or taking off your mask. Leave your mask on until you are outside of the hospital or back home. Staff may ask you to put on a rated medical mask if required for the patient you are there to support. 
  • Practice Physical Distancing. A mask is not a substitute for physical distancing. Follow directions from staff, signs and floor markers. Please make all efforts to maintain 2m (6ft) from others. 
  • Wash your hands often. Wash your hands often while inside the hospital, including before and after touching your mask, eating, drinking, using the washroom or touching surfaces such as railings, buttons, handles or doors.