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).

Visitor Restrictions

Temporary changes have been made to the Visitation Policy to keep patients, families and staff safe during this time. Please read the updated Visitation policy here.

No visitors are allowed for COVID-19 patients, including both confirmed and suspected case, due to the extremely high risk of possible transmission to visitors, patients and staff. Virtual visits will be supported using technology such as iPads. 

During the pandemic, LHSC is restricting all visitation to essential visitors only.

Essential visitors include:

  • Visitors for patients who are actively dying (within 48-72 hrs)
  • One support person for a woman in labour (after labor is confirmed in triage)
  • Parent/guardian of an ill child or youth

Essential visitors will be required to:

  • Pass the screening criteria at the visitor entrance and obtain approval for entry. If a potential visitor fails the most up to date screening criteria, they will be restricted from entering.
  • Wear an ID badge while in hospital that will provided at the screening desk, which identifies that they have been screened and the current date
  • Wear a mask or other personal protective equipment as directed by the entrance screening desk or the clinical unit
  • Essential visitors must be at least 18 years of age

If you are a loved one of a patient who is actively dying (or has planned withdrawal of life support); a support person for a woman in labour; or a parent/guardian of a child at Children’s Hospital, please refer to the policy for additional information regarding restrictions. It is important that you are aware of the most up to date restrictions before coming to the hospital.

Please note, the screeners at Visitor entrances are doing their best to keep everyone safe. They are required to enforce the visitation policy and will not be able to approve exceptions to the visitation policy. If you are a patient or family member and would like to request an exception to the visitation policy, please notify your physician or clinical team.

The visitor policy will be regularly reviewed to ensure it always maintains a balance between staff/patient safety and considers all aspects of patient’s/family members well-being.

We ask that you clean your hands when you enter and exit the facility, as well as when you enter and exit your loved ones room. 

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 items for patients

Food and personal items for patients will not be accepted at screening desks due to infection control and safety risks for our staff and patients. EXCEPTION: Patients who may require glasses, hearing aids, dentures, one personal cell phone/tablet. For patients who are being imminently discharged, they may have clothing dropped off. Women admitted to the antenatal program, may receive a one-time drop off of toiletries and a change of clothes. Please arrange with the clinical unit when and where items should be dropped off.

All personal items will be put in a plastic bag, and room tagged prior to delivery to the patient’s room. 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.

Items will NOT be accepted if the person delivering them does not pass the screening criteria. Do NOT bring items to hospital if you:

  • Are symptomatic
  • Have been outside of Ontario in last 14 days
  • Have been tested for COVID-19
  • Have had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
  • Have had close contact with a person with symptoms who has been out of the province in the 14 days before symptom onset

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.

  • LHSC is now offering free Patient terminal access with TV service over the next few months.
  • 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.