Can I visit a loved one who is staying at a Unity Health Toronto hospital?

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Based on the rate of community transmission of COVID-19, we have reduced the presence of Essential Care Partners at our three sites of Unity Health Toronto to help keep our patients, staff and community safe.

New as of Friday, Jan. 15: Patients staying at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, St. Michael’s Hospital or Providence Healthcare (not in the Houses of Providence), who have been in hospital for longer than seven (7) days may have one designated essential care partner who can visit once a week at a scheduled time for a maximum of three (3) hours.

An Essential Care Partner is a member of a patient’s family, community or a friend who is already in the patient’s social circle. Once approved and scheduled by the team, an Essential Care Partner will be able to visit the patient while they are staying with us or accompany the patient to an appointment.

Patients staying at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, St. Michael’s Hospital or Providence Healthcare (not in the Houses of Providence), who have been in hospital for longer than seven (7) days may have one designated essential care partner who can visit once a week at a scheduled time for a maximum of three (3) hours. The designated essential care partner must be the same person for the duration of the patient’s stay in hospital.

This rule is different if the patient:

  • Is going through major surgery
  • Has a new critical illness or mental health crisis
  • Is receiving a life-altering diagnosis
  • Is at end-of-life
  • Is experiencing child birth
  • Is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or admitted in a pediatric unit
  • Is under 18 years old
  • Has a significant developmental or intellectual disability

Contact the patient’s unit to learn more and to receive approval to visit as an Essential Care Partner.

Please use this contact list to find the phone number of the patient’s care team to contact them and request a visit.
  • Call the unit the patient is on using this list.
  • The unit will ask you a number of questions, including your relation to the patient, whether you have COVID-19 or symptoms, if you have a close contact with COVID-19, and reasons for your request
  • The team will process your request and if approved, schedule a particular time to visit
  • Approval to visit and scheduling varies from unit to unit
  • You will need to call the unit to schedule a visit each time you need to visit

No, outdoor visits are not allowed.

Please remain with your loved one in their room. To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, going for walks is not permitted. Please do not visit our cafeterias and do not take off your mask to eat or drink when in the hospital. Instead, eat or drink before or after you visit. At this time, our cafeterias are not a waiting area for visitors. 

Yes, once approved and scheduled for a visit, talk to the care team about which bathrooms to use.

Essential Care Partners can bring in belongings for inpatients, as well as food that is approved by the patients’ clinical teams, during scheduled visits. Food items must not require refrigeration or warming up. If staff identify the need for an urgent item (e.g. medication or medical equipment and supplies) to be delivered outside of the Essential Care Partner’s visit time, this will be managed by staff on the patient’s unit.

In some cases, you may able to help. Ask the nurse about how you may assist and what safety practices are needed. Certain care activities (such as toileting, suctioning) are not permitted.

For COVID-19 isolated patients (positive, patients who are suspected to have COVID, or those who have been exposed), you are not permitted to participate in any care activities.

If you were not approved, it is likely because your loved one has not been in hospital for longer than seven (7) days or they do not fit any of the additional categories to visit. You may not have been approved if have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had recent, close contact to a positive case.