MAHC Eases Visiting Restrictions To Allow Essential Visitors For Inpatients

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As the hospital slowly resumes activities and the local rate of community transmission of COVID-19 remains low, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) is pleased to reintroduce essential visitation for inpatients by their Designated Care Partner during visiting hours.

Visitor restrictions, except for compassionate reasons, were introduced in mid-March as a safety measure to limit non-essential traffic at both hospital sites, contain the spread of COVID-19 and keep patients and staff safe.

“Early in the pandemic MAHC made the difficult decision to restrict visitors,” explains Natalie Bubela, CEO. “We know that visitor restrictions have been hard on everyone and we have appreciated the understanding of our patients and their family members with these restrictions. As part of a phased plan to resume visitation, we are happy to reintroduce essential visitation in line with strict guidelines and infection control measures.”

Eligible inpatients will be able to select one Designated Care Partner to visit them who remains the same for the duration of their hospital stay. Visiting by an inpatient’s Designated Care Partner will be permitted between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and visitation must follow MAHC’s guidelines to reduce risks associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Family presence is an important part of patient-centred care at MAHC,” says Bubela. “We are allowing one Designated Care Partner to visit as a means of balancing the importance of reuniting inpatients with loved ones and protecting the safety of all patients and staff. As open visitation has not resumed, we regret that visitors are not permitted for outpatients except for special circumstances where a support person is necessary.”

All inpatient Designated Care Partners must:

  • Pass COVID-19 screening at the entrance and leave a telephone number for potential contact tracing, if necessary;
  • Wear a mask and visitor identifier sticker for the entire visit;
  • Practice hospital hand hygiene protocols, and maintain two metres (six feet) distancing from others at all times

Designated Care Partners will be permitted to leave and return to the hospital only once during the visit, per day. All visiting guidelines are available on the MAHC website and include greater exceptions for critically ill and/or palliative patients.

As the pandemic continues, should the community level of COVID-19 risk increase or MAHC’s personal protective equipment supplies become strained, visitor restrictions may be initiated once again.

“MAHC’s ‘new normal’ and ensuring safe, high-quality service during an active pandemic has required many changes to practices and to our facilities to meet public health measures like physical distancing,” Bubela adds. “Those accessing the hospitals will have a different experience than they might anticipate and we appreciate your understanding.”

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