COVID-19 key updates and important information

Last updated May 19, 2020

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS AND VISITORS

As of March 21 at 9 p.m., Unity Health has joined other Ontario hospitals in moving to a no family/support person presence (patient visitor) policy with exceptions on compassionate grounds and other special safety needs. This change is being made in light of emerging COVID-19 community transmission and recommendations from the Ministry of Health. This difficult decision was made out of necessity to slow the spread of the virus and follow social distancing practices.

Can I have a family/support person with me while I am in hospital?
No, we are not allowing family/support persons (visitors) in the hospital at this time to keep our patients, families, staff and physicians safe.

A leader from the hospital may approve (in advance) a dedicated family/support person (visitor) for a patient in a special situation such as:

  • End of life patients (including palliative, critical care and Emergency Department)
  • Patients under the age of 16 – limited to one designated parent or guardian
  • Women giving birth – limited to one partner or coach
  • Patients who require support to access critical ambulatory services (i.e. day oncology, dialysis, medical imaging)

Important: Any family/support persons (visitors) allowed in a special situation must pass the screening criteria before they are allowed in the hospital. This means they cannot have any symptoms: fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath; and they cannot have traveled outside of Canada in the last 14 days.

Please note: We are not permitting any in-person family visits for patients who are COVID-19 positive or a Person Under Investigation (PUI), even if they meet the above exceptions. We recognize this may be distressing for patients and families. This difficult decision was made out of necessity to limit the transmission of the virus and protect our patients, families, staff and physicians. We have created a formal appeal process for any patient or family member who wishes to appeal a decision to not permit an in-person family visit. Contact Patient Relations to request an appeal. Patient Relations can be contacted at each of our three sites as follows:

Expectations of inpatients

To continue to keep patients, staff and physicians safe, all patients are being asked to follow these guidelines:

  • Remain on your unit and do not wander around the hospital
  • Refrain from going to the cafeteria or other public areas

For patients who must leave to smoke, please remember the importance of keeping to physical distancing principles and not visiting with family or friends outside.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are discouraging the practice of having personal items and food brought into the hospital to reduce the opportunity for transmission of the virus.

We do recognize there are some essential items that may support and comfort our patients. With this in mind, effective Monday, April 6, we will be implementing a delivery and transfer policy for certain essential items. The items that will be accepted include:

  • Essential “bedside basics” for patients (i.e. walkers, hearing aids, mobile devices, toiletries, etc.)
  • Food that is culturally required and not provided by our food services

Items must be able to be wiped for disinfecting purposes or be in a bag or container that can be wiped and disinfected upon arrival at the hospital.

If you would like to arrange for a delivery or pick-up for an item outlined above, patients or families can coordinate with Patient Relations to arrange deliveries/pick-up. Please contact Patient Relations about a delivery/pick-up before coming to one of our sites.

Patient Relations can be contacted at each of our three sites as follows:

We are actively screening for potential risk of COVID-19 with everyone who comes to our sites to ensure the safety and well-being of our people and patients. Please allow for extra time if you are coming to the hospital.

You will be required to enter and exit the building through the doors listed below. All other doors will be locked. We appreciate your help in protecting the health and well-being of our patients and our people.

SiteBuildingEntrance/ExitPatient/visitor hours
St. Joseph’s30 The Queensway –
main hospital
Tranquility6 a.m. to 10 p.m.,
Monday through
Saturday
Melnyk6 a.m. to 10 p.m.,
Sundays only
Our Lady of Mercy24 hours, daily
Our Lady of Mercy parking
garage
24 hours, daily
Sunnyside buildingSunnyside West7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday
through Friday
St. Michael’s30 Bond Street – main
hospital
Queen Street24 hours, daily
Providence3276 St. Clair Avenue
East – main hospital
Main doors24 hours, daily
Houses of ProvidenceMain doors6 a.m. to midnight, daily

In order to reduce the number of people in the hospital during the evolving COVID-19 situation, we are encouraging our health care providers to have virtual visits with their patients where possible, and to cancel any non-urgent visits.

If you have an upcoming appointment and are feeling unwell, please call your health-care provider ahead of your visit.

If you have any questions about your upcoming appointment or procedure, please contact your health-care provider’s office directly.

CASH OFFICES

Cash Offices at Unity Health will be closed to in-person transactions, effective April 10 and until further notice. Please contact the respective individuals, listed below, if you have any questions or concerns.

St. Joseph’s – Cash Office

  • General inquiries – 416-530-6491, 416-530-6498 or 416-530-6489

St. Michael’s – Cash Office

  • General inquiries – AR@smh.ca or 416-864-5864

Providence – Business Office

HEALTH RECORDS

Health Records will be closing its doors to the public, effective March 23. All inquiries will be dealt with by phone, fax or email:

For requests at St. Joseph’s

For requests at St. Michael’s

  • Phone: 416-864-6060 (ext. 2169)
  • Fax: 416-864-5831
  • For general health records inquiries, email healthrecords@smh.ca
  • For release of information, email ROI@smh.ca

For requests at Providence

ST. JOSEPH’S PATIENT ACCOUNTS

Patient Accounts will be closed until further notice, effective April 14. Learn more about how to get in touch with someone about your account.

ST. JOSEPH’S OUTPATIENT PHARMACY

To maintain patient services and adequate staffing, the St. Joseph’s outpatient pharmacy will be closing an hour earlier. Effective April 6, the pharmacy will operate Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

If you have any questions, please contact an outpatient pharmacy staff member at 416-530-6555. 

ST. JOSEPH’S GIFT SHOP

Closed until further notice.

St. Michael’s Blood Lab in 3 Shuter 

The Blood Lab located in 3 Shuter will be temporarily closed,  effective April 28. All patients will be re-directed to the St. Michael’s Blood Lab in the ground floor of 61 Queen Street East, which is just across the street from the hospital. Please click here for a visual of where 61 Queen Street East is. Its hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 7.45 a.m. to 4.15 p.m.

ST. MICHAEL’S FAMILY HEALTH TEAM CONSOLIDATION AND MODIFIED HOURS

More information on the St. Michael’s Academic Family Health Team page.

ST. MICHAEL’S PRESCRIPTION CARE CENTRE

The Prescription Care Centre at St. Michael’s is now operating with reduced hours. New business hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

ST. MICHAEL’S GIFT SHOP

Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Also accepting online orders.

MEDICAL IMAGING – FILM LIBRARY AT ST. MICHAEL’S

Online access only.

PATIENT AND FAMILY LEARNING CENTRE AT ST. MICHAEL’S

Online access only.

PROVIDENCE OUTPATIENT PHARMACY

The outpatient pharmacy at Providence will be  reducing hours of operation, effective April 4, to Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The pharmacy will be closed to the public on Saturdays. For questions or requests, reach out by phone at 416-285-3805.

To protect the safety of our patients, staff and physicians, clinics will be pre-screening all patients booked for urgent, in-person appointments for COVID-19 symptoms. You will receive a phone call from your specialist’s clinic before your appointment. You will then be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 again before entering St. Michael’s or St. Joseph’s. After both screenings, you will be given a location for your appointment.

If you do not hear from your specialist before your appointment, please reach out to them directly.

Patients and families can request a device to video call their loved one, provided the patient doesn’t have their own device. 

To request a device, families and friends should complete the video calling request form. Patients can request a device through their care team.

Devices can be borrowed for up to 30 minutes at a time between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

VIRTUAL CARE FOR OUTPATIENTS

 

As a result of COVID-19, Unity Health has made the difficult decision to cancel in-person visits to our hospitals whenever possible. To ensure that the health care needs of our patients are still met, our staff and physicians are providing virtual visits. This means using telephones and computers to stay in touch.

The following consent documents are used by the organization:

  • Consent to email – Review this attachment to learn more about the risks of using email.
  • Consent to video visits – Review this attachment to learn more about the risks of using Zoom for health care visits. 

Our hospitals are using the following tools to conduct video visits with patients:

  • Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN)
  • Zoom

The following guides provide information on how to set up your virtual visit: 

For OTN:

For Zoom:

HOW TO CONNECT WITH LOVED ONES IN HOSPITAL

 

We understand that our visitor restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic may be difficult on our patients and their loved ones. To help during this challenging time, Unity Health Toronto has implemented a few ways for patients and their loved ones to stay in touch:

  • Free telephone access – Telephones have been made available in each patient room at no charge. Families can call the main hospital lines to get connected:
    • St. Joseph’s Health Centre – 416-530-6000
    • St. Michael’s Hospital – 416-360-4000
    • Providence Healthcare – 416-285-3666
  • Free Wi-Fi – Patients can use their own device (cellphone, iPad, tablet, etc.) and connect to the hospital Wi-Fi to make phone or video calls.
  • Access to devices – iPods and iPads are available for inpatients who would like to conduct a video call and do not have their own device.

Patients and families can request a device to video call their loved one, provided they don’t have their own device. 

  • Patients – Speak to your care team about how to request a device
  • Families and friends – Submit a video calling request to have a device delivered to an inpatient for a video call

Devices can be borrowed for up to 30 minutes at a time between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

At Unity Health we recognize family members and loved ones are integral to supporting our patients and residents.  We are pleased to provide Get Well Wishes, an electronic message delivery system which allows family and friends the ability to send a personal message to a loved one who is admitted to one of our three hospital sites or is a resident in long-term care.

To send your best wishes, fill out this web form and we will print and hand deliver your message. This free service is available for inpatients and residents in the Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence.

Our Gift Shops can arrange delivery of care packages with personalized messages to your loved ones who are admitted to St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital. Please note that the cost will depend on what you choose to include in the gift.

Visit the following websites to learn how you can order a care package:

Unfortunately, this service is unavailable at Providence Healthcare and the Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence at this time.