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May 15, 2003

Tommasina Conte
Communications Consultant, LHSC
519-685-8500, ext. 77062

Change to visitor restrictions for clinics and outpatient appointments

(LONDON, Ontario) Effective Friday, May 16, adult patients arriving for clinics and outpatient appointments at the London Health Sciences Centre may be accompanied by one adult if they require additional assistance as part of their care.

"We continue to look at our visitor restrictions in an effort to balance the concerns of patients with our need to protect patients, staff and the community," says Dr. Murray Girotti, Vice-President, Medical Staff. "We already allow one person to accompany outpatients who are frail, elderly, or physically challenged. This change recognizes the significant role that others play in supporting, educating, and caring for patients."

Patients who do not require an escort but rely on others for transportation are asked to make drop off and pick up arrangements in advance. Those driving patients to and from their appointments should refrain from waiting inside the hospital in order to maintain appropriate infection control measures.

This latest change to LHSC's visitor restrictions was planned before the release of the new directives from the SARS Provincial Operations Centre on May 13. Dr. Girotti explains, "We are in the process of reviewing the new provincial SARS directives to determine the extent of any changes at our hospital. As a trauma centre and regional referral centre for Southwestern Ontario, LHSC has specific infection control needs. If we do make changes to our visitor restrictions or screening process, we will provide an update to our patients and the community."

Effective Saturday, May 17, visitor waiting areas at each hospital site will permanently close due to a lack of demand for this service.

Current visitor restrictions are posted in their entirety on the LHSC website at www.lhsc.on.ca in the SARS section.