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KHSC updates family presence policy to two approved visitors per patient

Kingston General Hospital main entrance. Photo by Josie Vallier.

Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) is easing some visitor restrictions to support increased family presence for both admitted patients and those coming to the hospital for outpatient services. 

Effective Monday, Apr. 4, 2022, the revised family presence policy now permits admitted inpatients to register two approved family visitors, according to a release from KHSC. To reduce the risk of crowding in shared rooms and on busy clinical units, only one visitor may be present at a time, the hospital organization stated. Visitors must be fully vaccinated, pass screening and be masked at all times, including at the bedside. Visiting hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. 

Patients on quarantine may not have in-person visits until their quarantine period is cleared, according to the release. Virtual and telephone visits are encouraged at any time.  

In August 2021, KHSC updated their visitor policy to allow two visitors per patient after the initial restrictions put in place due to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. However, in December 2021 restrictions were again increased to only allow virtual visits, due to rising cases of the virus in the region.

According to the release, patients coming for outpatient services, who feel they need a support person, may now be accompanied by one caregiver. A caregiver does not need to be registered but must pass screening and must remain masked throughout the visit. Family presence may be restricted as required in some areas due to physical space limitations and high patient volumes, KHSC stated. 

Along with mandatory masking for all visitors, other infection control precautions including hand hygiene and physical distancing remain in place at KHSC. Families and visitors who are unwell are asked to avoid visiting or accompanying patients at both KHSC hospital sites. 

“We remain very concerned about the rising prevalence of COVID-19 in the community,” said Dr. Renate Ilse, Executive Vice-President of Corporate Services and Chief Operating Officer. “However, visitor restrictions cannot be continued indefinitely. This change reflects KHSC’s commitment to patient and family-centred care, which values and respects family as integral partners in patient care.”

“At the same time, we are continuously monitoring COVID-19 levels within and outside the hospital and will make adjustments to family presence as needed for the safety of patients, families and staff.” 

To review the KHSC visitor policy visit www.KingstonHSC.ca/COVID19 and click on Visitor and Family Presence Restrictions. 

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