Visiting the Hospital

LHSC continues to advise visitors who feel unwell, but do not require care to avoid coming to the hospital. Feeling unwell includes, but is not limited to, respiratory issues (cough, runny nose, fever, shortness of breath) or gastrointestinal issues (vomit, diarrhea, nausea).

At this time, all family caregiver presence and other visitation requests must be pre-approved. Please contact the medical team for a request to visit or accompany a patient. Approvals cannot be granted at the screening desk when you arrive at the hospital. Please see more information of what is expected for visitors at the Visitor Policy section below.

Visitor Policy

During the pandemic, LHSC will update its family/caregiver presence and visitor restrictions policy based on the most recent guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and community transmission rates. LHSC is temporarily limiting family/caregiver presence and other visitation as we respond to COVID-19 in order to maintain a safe environment for patients, families, and staff. This includes accompanying patients to appointments. These changes align with the recommendations from the Ministry of Health.

We kindly ask that all family members, caregivers, and other visitors read the updated Visitor Policy before coming to the hospital.

The policy explains the criteria and pre-approval process for those wishing to accompany a patient to an appointment, or visit a patient in-hospital.

At this time, all family caregiver presence and other visitation requests must be pre-approved. Please contact the medical team for a request to visit or accompany a patient. Approvals cannot be granted at the screening desk when you arrive at the hospital. 

Family/caregivers who have received approval to accompany or visit a patient will be required to: 

  • Pass the screening criteria at the visitor entrance. If a potential visitor fails the most up to date screening criteria, they will be restricted from entering. In addition to presence of symptoms, family/caregivers will not be permitted to visit if they have travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days.
  • Wear an ID badge while in hospital that will be provided at the screening desk, which identifies that they have been screened and the current date.
  • Wear a mask or other personal protective equipment and perform hand hygiene as directed by the entrance screening desk or clinical unit.

Family/caregivers are not permitted in hospital for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, due to the extremely high risk to patients, staff, and visitors. Virtual visits for these patients will be supported using technology such as iPads. Please see the Request a Virtual Visit section for more information about this program and to request a visit.

LHSC values the role of family members and other care providers as essential partners in care delivery. Patients and their substitute decision-makers are best suited to determine who constitutes a ‘caregiver’ and who might otherwise be a welcomed ‘visitor’. LHSC remains committed to patient and family-centred care and will make every effort to ensure that the needs of patients and families are met while these temporary measures are in place.

Patient and visitor masking

Effective Wednesday, June 3, all ambulatory patients and visitors are required to wear a mask upon entry to the hospital. Patients and visitors will be provided a mask at patient/visitor entrances, but are encouraged to wear their own, including cloth masks. Patients who fail symptom screening, but who have a required appointment, will be required to wear a hospital-provided approved mask.

We recognize that some patients may not be able to tolerate wearing a mask due to their health condition. These patients will be exempt. Paediatric patients under five years of age, who cannot tolerate a mask, are also exempt from wearing a mask. Health-care workers are protected from those unable to mask by wearing their own required PPE.

Those who are unfamiliar with wearing a mask will be provided instruction upon screening. A poster and Q&A are available to explain the change and illustrate how to properly wear a mask.

Food and Personal belonings for patients

Food and personal belongings for patients will not be accepted at screening desks due to infection control and safety risks for our staff and patients. Some exceptions for personal belongings may be allowed. The caregiver/family can reach out to the specific care team to confirm exception and if approved, arrange a drop off. Items cannot be left at the screening stations with the screeners. The patient is responsible for all belongings and/or valuables in their possession during admission. LHSC assumes no responsibility and/or liability for lost or damaged valuables and/or belongings brought to the hospital.

Stay connected virtually with patients

We recognize the impact of isolation for patients and families during this difficult time and are doing everything we can to help patients and loved ones stay connected. If you have a family member at LHSC, please consider alternatives to in-person visits below. The hospital supports the use of technology to connect with your loved ones through virtual options, like Skype, FaceTime, WebEx or telephone calls.

LHSC has increased our guest Wi-Fi capacity and continues to offer this service for free to patients and visitors. Bandwidth increases are in place to allow for high quality video calls to family and friends. The “Guest” network can be found through your wireless settings for mobile devices and tablets.

  • Call your loved one in their room through switchboard if a bedside phone is available
  • Patients can bring their own device when possible to stay connected to loved ones through FaceTime, Skype, etc.
  • When patients do not have access to their own personal device, assistance may be provided to access to technology and assist with virtual visitation.
  • Send an E-card to your loved one! E-cards are a free service enabling you to send a personalized message to your loved one or friend. These are being delivered electronically at this time.

Request a Virtual Visit

The Virtual Visit Program is available for patients and their loved ones to receive assistance with connecting over the internet while visitor restrictions are in effect. Those who are not able to use their own devices to communicate through audio or video calls can receive assistance with hospital devices and technology platforms.

Patients and loved ones can request to connect by completing this form.

Once you have completed the Request for a Virtual Visit form, a member of our Patient Engagement Team will contact you via e-mail to confirm your request for connection. Patient Engagement Team members will support patients and families to interact virtually by:

  • Bringing a lending laptop or iPad to a patient room or clinical area, so that you can use it to video chat
  • Helping patients and families to use the video chat technology, if required

The Virtual Visit program will be accessible between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm on weekdays (Monday to Friday). Video connections between patients and loved ones will be scheduled during this time.

The availability of virtual visits may be limited by demand, patients’ ability to interact, or the clinical condition of patients at the hospital.

Prioritization of Virtual Visit requests will be assessed in the following order:

  1. Patients who are critically ill, dying, or have experienced a trauma,
  2. Patients who have been isolated for an extended time,
  3. New mothers post –delivery,
  4. All other patients

Please Note: If your loved one is in the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital or in Critical Care/CCTC at Victoria Hospital, please contact the unit staff directly to arrange your Virtual Visit.

LHSC is committed to protecting the privacy of our patients and staff. When using Skype, FaceTime or similar options to connect with your loved one, we ask that you respect those around you and never include anyone in the video event or camera frame without their knowledge or permission.

Please see Hospital Entrance Restrictions and Service Changes for more information.