Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for MGH patients and visitors

Last updated on June 14, 2021. 

The safety of our patients, visitors, families and caregivers is a top priority at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH). MGH has been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and continues to implement changes across the hospital to protect the health and safety of our community. Below, you will find important information for patients and visitors about what to do if you are planning on coming to the hospital.

Please check this page before coming to the hospital to ensure you are up-to-date with the latest changes.

what to expect

In order to maintain the health and safety of our patients, staff, visitors and community at large, MGH has implemented the following entry restrictions and enhanced screening precautions:

Entering the Hospital

  • Entry into the hospital is restricted to the main entrance on Coxwell Avenue for all members of the public including patients, patient escorts, visitors, caregivers, vendors etc.  The public is not allowed to use any of the other hospital entrances.
  • Hematology, oncology, chemotherapy and dialysis patients must also use the main entrance on Coxwell Avenue. 
  • The Emergency Department entrance remains open for those seeking urgent care.
  • All patients and visitors are reminded to please limit the amount of personal belongings brought into the hospital to only what is necessary for your visit.

Screening

  • All individuals coming through the main entrance are screened for signs and/or symptoms of respiratory illness. Please be prepared to answer questions about symptoms, potential exposure to COVID-positive individuals, travel history and more.
  • Screeners are collecting necessary information such as your name and/or contact information. If you have an appointment at the hospital, please arrive early to give yourself time to go through the screening process.

Wearing a mask

  • Anyone entering the building is required to wear a medical grade procedure/surgical mask for the duration of their visit.
    • Individuals who are visiting inpatients will also be provided with a face shield/visor which must be worn in patient rooms and can be disposed of after the visit is over.
  • Those who do not have a medical grade mask will be provided one by an MGH screener upon entry.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

  • If you have an appointment at the hospital or are visiting a loved one, you cannot eat or drink on-site to ensure that your mask is on at all times. If you purchase food or beverages from one of our vendors, please wait until you have left the hospital before eating or drinking.
    • Those who require a safe space to eat or drink during their visit due to dietary needs may use the G4 Cafeteria which is set up to accommodate physical distancing measures.  
  • Members of the public who do not have formal business at the hospital but who wish to use the hospital’s food and retail vendors will not be allowed inside the building.
  • For information on bringing food and drink when visiting a patient, please see the Visitor section below. 

outpatient appointments

virtual appointments

Some departments are using virtual appointments to reduce the number of people in the hospital. During a virtual appointment you do not come to the hospital to meet in person. Instead, you speak with your care team using a regular telephone, smartphone or your computer. Click here for more information if you have been scheduled for a telephone or virtual appointment with your care team at MGH.

in-person Patient appointments

  • You may be contacted ahead of your appointment to answer screening questions over the phone.
  • Before visiting the hospital for an appointment, please contact the clinic ahead of time if you:
    • are experiencing a fever or a combination of respiratory symptoms (cough, congestion, runny-nose)
    • have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
    • have recently travelled outside of Canada or have been in close contact with someone who has travelled outside of Canada
    • If you have respiratory symptoms, exposure to someone with COVID-19 or have returned from travel outside of Canada recently, your appointment may be re-scheduled.
  • One visitor may accompany a patient to an outpatient appointment if required for:

    • mobility support
    • patient has cognitive impairment
    • pediatric patients ( less than 18 years old)
    • patients with significant developmental or intellectual disability
    • patients who are unable to effectively communicate on their own
  • Please speak to the clinic directly prior to the appointment to discuss support person options.

EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

  • Our Emergency Department (ED) remains open for those seeking urgent care.
  • Upon arrival, you will be screened for signs and/or symptoms of respiratory illness. Individuals experiencing signs/symptoms of respiratory illness will wait in a designated area of the ED.
  • Patients coming to the ED who are acutely ill or vulnerable may have one visitor present until seen by the clinical team. Please see the visitor section below for more information. 

Visiting a patient at MGH

Protecting the health and safety of our patients, staff and community is our top priority. We continue to update our visitor guidelines as the COVID-19 situation evolves in our community.

VIDEO Family visits

We understand that in-person visits may be difficult for some patients and their loved ones. Virtual visiting (which is arranged for patients using the Zoom platform on a hospital iPad) is available in all clinical areas. Click here to learn more about our Video Family Visit program.

PATIENTS ADMITTED WITH COVID-19 OR UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR COVID-19

MGH has a low threshold for testing for COVID-19. These patients are referred to as ‘Under Investigation for COVID-19’. 

No in-person visits are permitted for patients admitted with or under investigation for COVID-19, with the exception of patients at imminent end-of-life. Please contact the care team if you feel that your loved one meets this exception.

Eligibility for visits will be reviewed once a patient under investigation for COVID-19 is reassessed by the medical team. 

INPATIENT VISITS

Patients who meet the visitor permission criteria below are asked to name one designated essential visitor and one alternate who may visit. All visits must be arranged with a patient’s care team. Visitors are limited to these two individuals.  

  • The only exception to the two visitor maximum is for patients at end of life (please see below).

A patient in the Family Birthing Centre may have one dedicated support person for labour and delivery and to help with newborn care.

A pediatric patient (less than 18 years old) or a patient with significant developmental or intellectual disability can have two visitors daily. These two visitors cannot come see the patient at the same time. 

A patient at end of life may have daily visitors.  Please speak with the palliative care team to determine a visiting plan. 

Patients coming to the Emergency Department who are acutely ill or vulnerable may have one visitor present until seen by the clinical team

  • The visitor may not be able to stay for the whole time the patient is in the ED.
  • The visitor must stay in the room with the patient and not use the common area except for the quiet room during resuscitation.
  • If the patient is transferred to a different unit in the hospital, the visitor cannot accompany the patient without approval from the receiving care team.

The following patients can have one in-person visitor daily:

  • A patient admitted with a critical illness
  • A patient admitted with a mental health crisis
  • A patient who has received a life altering diagnosis
  • A patient with cognitive impairment
  • A patient who is unable to communicate effectively
  • A patient who had major surgery (expected admission to MGH for more than 3 days)
  • Any patient who has been admitted to MGH for more than 7 days

BOOKING YOUR VISIT

In order to maintain safe physical distancing in the hospital, visitors must schedule visits in advance with a patient’s care team. Please call the patient’s department/area directly to confirm its visiting hours and to schedule the time and duration of your visit. If you do not have the extension of the patient’s department/area, please call the Hospital’s switchboard at 416-461-8272 and ask to be transferred.

APPEALS TO THE FAMILY PRESENCE DURING COVID-19 POLICY

If you would like to pursue an exception to the Family Presence (Essential Visitors) policy, please contact the Patient Relations office via email at @email or via phone at 416-469-6096. A Patient Experience Specialist will guide you through the appeals process.

VISITOR SAFETY WHEN ON-SITE

  • Screening: All visitors must enter through the main entrance on Coxwell Avenue and will be screened before entering the building. Visitors who are under the age of 16, have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days or who have respiratory illness symptoms will not be allowed inside the building. 
  • Hand Washing: All visitors must wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub when entering the hospital and before entering a patient care area and room.
  • Masking: Anyone entering the building is required to wear a medical grade procedure/surgical mask that must be worn at all times. Those who do not have a medical grade mask will be provided one by an MGH screener upon entry.
  • Physical Distancing: Visitors are asked to maintain 6 ft. of distance between themselves and others at all times. Visitors are asked to go directly to the patient’s room or clinic area and not stop in other areas of the hospital. . 

patient belongings and outside food

While in hospital, patients may require essential personal items. Only items on the list below may be brought to the hospital. These items can be dropped off at the Information Desk in the Coxwell lobby, and will be brought up to the patient. 

Patients can have the following items while admitted to MGH:

  • Personal items: Glasses, hearing aids, dentures
  • Electronics: Tablets, cell phones, chargers
  • Entertainment: Books, magazines, puzzles. Items must be brought to MGH in a wipe-able bag. 
  • Toiletries/grooming items: Please ask the care team first to see if the needed items can be provided by MGH.
  • Items needed by the team to safely provide care: including shoes, home medications. 
    • Please do not bring these items until they are requested. 
  • Clothing: At time of discharge only.
  • The following items cannot be brought to MGH at this time:
    • flowers
    • food items that do not meet the guidelines below

MGH does not take responsibility for any lost or misplaced patient belongings.

OUTSIDE FOOD

Food will be permitted if it is part of a patient’s care plan or if specific cultural practice requires outside food and drink. In these cases, food must be brought in sealable, wipeable containers. Use of hospital fridges and/or microwaves will not be permitted.

Visitors are asked to refrain from eating or drinking while at the hospital to ensure that masks are worn at all times.

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