Visitor Guidelines at Hospitals and Health Care Facilities

Horizon is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our patients, clients, staff, physicians, and communities.

Important Information for Patients, Designated Support Persons (DSPs) and Social Visitors

Our top priority is to make sure everyone is safe when they come to our health care facilities.

Masking Requirements

  • Patients and DSPs will be required to mask in Emergency Department and Oncology Unit/Clinic waiting areas, as waiting areas are spaces where patients gather.
  • Symptomatic patients and health care workers (HCWs) will be required to wear a medical-grade face mask at all times when in a Horizon facility. Symptomatic patients are not required to wear a mask while in their room/bedspace during hospitalization, but masking is recommended when they are within two metres of another person.
  • For symptomatic DSPs, please click here for instructions.

Signage will be put in place to help patients, DSPs and visitors understand when masks are required and when they are optional.

Medical-grade face masks are accessible for patients, social visitors, DSPs and HCWs at all Horizon facilities.

Outbreak Units

Social visitors are not permitted in hospital or long-term care units that are experiencing an outbreak. Designated support persons (DSPs) may have access to visit during an outbreak and are requested to speak to the hospital or long-term care health care staff before their visit regarding what is required of them. The number of DSPs may be limited.

Continuous use of medical grade face masks will be required for health care workers and DSPs on outbreak units. On these units HCWs, DSPs and patients (when out of their room) wear a medical grade face mask at all times.

FacilityOutbreak Units
The Moncton HospitalCardiology
Oncology

May 21, 2024

Precautions when entering a Horizon facility

All patients, DSPs and social visitors must self screen by answering the questions below before they enter our health care facilities.

In the last 10 days, have you had a new onset of:

  • Fever/chills/sweats
  • Loss of taste/smell
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting/Diarrhea
  • Runny nose/Sneezing
  • Unexplained skin rash
  • A negative self-administered Point of Care Test does not override screening criteria.

Have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days or are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test? We ask everyone to do their part to help keep our health care facilities safe by answering questions honestly and respectfully every time they arrive. We thank everyone for keeping our patients, visitors, staff, and physicians safe.

Who Can Visit

Designated Support Persons (DSPs)

Designated Support Persons (DSPs) are individuals identified by the patient as an essential support, and who the patient wishes to be included in care planning and decision making. DSPs may include family members, close friends, or other caregivers and are identified/designated by the patient or substitute decision maker (SDM).

All hospitalized and long-term care patients may have a DSP.

Addictions/mental health and community-based services such as detox treatment centres have visitation and family presence practices consistent with their clinical practice. Please contact the service for more details.

Social Visitors

A social visitor is an individual who socializes with the patient. They are not an essential partner in care planning and/or decision-making. Access for social visitors is limited to the facility’s visiting hours which are 2 to 8 p.m. unless noted otherwise.

Social visitors cannot visit patients on a hospital or long-term care patient care unit that has a respiratory virus outbreak.

General Visitation Guidelines

DSPs and social visitors must follow the health care facility’s Infection Prevention and Control policies, such as maintaining physical distancing from health care staff, cleaning their hands frequently, and not eating or drinking in a patient’s room.

At any time, staff can restrict the number of visitors in an area or the length of visits to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.

Hospital Inpatients

  • In most units, TWO healthy visitors are allowed to be present with inpatients at one time. This may be two DSPs OR two social visitors OR one DSP and one social visitor.

Emergency Departments

  • Patients visiting the Emergency Department may have up to TWO DSPs accompany them. Social visitors are not allowed.

 Outpatients

  • Patients visiting Outpatient Departments may have up to TWO DSPs accompany them. Patients requiring obstetrical ultrasounds may have ONE DSP present in the exam room for the second part of the exam (viewing). Social visitors are not allowed.

Addiction/Mental Health and Community Based Services

  • Addictions/mental health and community-based services such as detox treatment centres have visitation and family presence practices consistent with their clinical practice. Please contact the service for more details.

Designated Support Persons – Guidelines

  • Hours for DSPs are flexible and are determined in discussion with health care staff, the patient and the DSPs.
  • Each DSP must complete education about Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guidelines to help keep them, their loved one and health care workers safe. To access the DSP online DSP education, click here. (If there are problems completing the online training, DSPs can request an appointment to receive training within the hospital.)
  • After completing the mandatory online education, the DSP will call the toll-free number (1-833-625-1653), email DSP-PSD@horizonnb.ca, or speak to a health care worker to register. When a person is registering as a DSP, they will provide the following information:
    • Confirmation they have completed the online education
    • Their full name and contact number
    • The patient’s full name and birth date
    • The patient’s location (i.e., hospital/long-term care facility AND health care unit)
    • A description of how they wish to support the patient

Social Visitors

  • Hospitals and long-term care units may need to implement restrictions to social visitation if a patient care unit or a department has an outbreak of a respiratory illness such as COVID-19. Please call ahead to confirm social visitation is permitted.
  • Access for social visitors in hospitals is limited to visiting hours, 2 to 8 p.m. daily

Children

  • Children under 18 years of age are considered social visitors. Children 12 and under must be supervised at all times by an adult who is not the patient or a caregiver.
  • Children over the age of two (2) are required to practice hand hygiene, physically distance themselves from others, and wear a medical-grade face mask when required.

Vaccination

  • DSPs and social visitors are no longer required to show proof of vaccination.
  • Horizon strongly urges all visitors and DSPs to be up to date on their vaccinations. You are up to date if you have received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses, including any booster dose(s) when eligible, in accordance with New Brunswick Public Health’s vaccination schedule for COVID-19. Vaccines have been proven to reduce the incidents of severe illness, hospitalization or death. The vaccination requirement for DSPs and Social Visitors as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will continue to be monitored and reinstated as needed.

 Pet Visitation

  • Personal pet visitation is permitted for patients who have no symptoms of COVID-19.
  • In exceptional circumstances personal pet visitation may be arranged for a COVID-19 suspect or confirmed palliative patient.
  • Arrangements for pet visitation must be coordinated with the patient’s clinical team and nurse manager.

Exceptions

To request an exception to these guidelines, please speak to the patient’s nurse manager who will bring the request forward for further consideration.

Some hospital departments have specific visitation guidelines for DSPs and social visitors. They are:

The patient may identify as many DSPs as they need.

DSPs may speak to the nurse manager if they have questions about numbers of DSPs allowed at one time.

Critical Care and Neonatal Intensive Care patients may identify as many DSPs as they need, however only TWO DSPs will be permitted to be with the patient at one time. Exceptions to accommodate the identified number of DSPs or increase the number of DSPs will be discussed on a case-by-case basis and will be based on the personal circumstances of the patient and physical limitations of the space.

Social visitors are not allowed.

The length of these visits will be determined by the unit staff based on patient needs.

TWO DSPs can be appointed and visit at a time. Social visitors are not allowed.

The patient may identify as many DSPs as they need.  TWO DSPs or two social visitors OR one DSP and one social visitor can visit. Exceptions to accommodate the identified number of DSPs or increase the number of DSPs will be discussed on a case-by-case basis and will be based on the personal circumstances of the patient and physical limitations of the space.

Social visitors are permitted to visit only during designated visiting hours.

Social visitors are permitted from 2 to 8 pm*.

Long Term Care patients may identify as many DSPs as they need, however only TWO visitors can be present at any given time. This may be two DSPs OR two social visitors OR one DSP and one social visitor.

Exceptions to accommodate the identified number of DSPs or increase the number of DSPs will be discussed on a case-by-case basis and will be based on the personal circumstances of the patient and physical limitations of the space.

*For residents of Ridgewood Veterans Wing (Ridgewood) (Saint John), social visitors are welcome from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

*For residents of the Veterans Health Unit (VHU) (Fredericton) social visitors are welcome from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Patients visiting Emergency Departments can have up to TWO DSPs accompany them.

Patients visiting Outpatient Departments can have up to TWO DSPs accompany them.

Note: Patients requiring obstetrical ultrasounds may have ONE DSP present in the exam room for the second part of the exam (viewing).

At Discharge, ONE healthy individual is allowed to pick up a discharged patient.

Visitation processes are in place for DSPs screened to be “at risk” due to symptoms of a respiratory virus. Please speak to the health care staff for further information.

Other ways to communicate with patients:

  • Horizon’s Well Wishes Program: our dedicated staff are pleased to personally deliver a well-wishing email to a patient in any of our hospitals. Learn more and deliver a message today by clicking here.
  • Consider calling or using video messaging where technology permits. In partnership with local hospital Foundations and Auxiliaries, we offer free wireless Internet access for patients and their families at many of our hospitals and facilities. More information is available here.
  • Most patient beds are equipped with a private telephone. Upon request and by following the specific instructions a telephone service can be provided.

We hope you find comfort through these resources and continue to use them during these times when visits are limited. Remember: these guidelines will continue to protect your loved ones.

Banner for Communicating with Loved Ones

Patient/Designated Support Person Personal Items

In addition to these visitor guidelines, we have also introduced limitations to what items can be brought into or dropped off at our facilities for patients, including food and clothing. Please note: This does not apply to patients being admitted to hospital (new admissions).

We can accept a patient’s personal items as long as they can be easily wiped and cleaned with a disinfectant. Accepted personal items include: electronic devices, glasses, hearing aids, etc.

Patient/DSP personal items will be accepted into the facility if items can be easily cleaned and disinfected.

The PDF is an example of accepted and not accepted items but is not an all-inclusive list.

Take-Out Food and Homemade Food

Take-out and homemade food will now be permitted for patients in all phases of the pandemic.

Take-out food must come from a licensed establishment and will only be permitted if a support person or social visitor is available to deliver to the patient’s room. Staff will not be responsible for the delivery of food. Food delivery personnel will not be permitted to deliver food to the patient’s room.

If a patient chooses to have take-out food delivered at the hospital, the delivery person will need to successfully pass the screening protocol at the facility’s designated entrance before the food is accepted into the facility. The designated support person or social visitor will then pick up the food at the entrance.

Homemade food is permitted if a support person or social visitor is available to deliver the food to the patient’s room. The food must be stored in a container that can be easily cleaned and disinfected with a hospital approved cleaner/disinfectant wipe. The container must be taken home for cleaning and not left in the patient’s room.

Information for contractors

Contractors who are required to be at a Horizon facility for essential construction work must arrive on the property at an entrance that has been agreed upon with their Facilities, Engineering and Property Management (FEPM) contact.

They must notify the FEPM contact by phone when they arrive, and their FEPM contact will review all screening questions. No contractors should arrive on-site if, over the past 10 days, they have a new onset of:

One of following symptoms:

  • Fever/Chills/Sweats
  • Loss of taste/Smell
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting/Diarrhea
  • Runny Nose/Sneezing

OR

Two or more of the following symptoms:

  • Muscle Aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Unexplained skin rash
  • Fatigue

OR

Had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 7 days

A close contact is defined as a person who has had prolonged close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with an infected

person (two days before the person’s onset of symptoms date or specimen collection date).

OR

Tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 10 days

Contractors must be aware of and follow a designated path to the approved work area. Contractors must not travel through the hospital.

When a contractor is ready to leave a site because work is complete, or for lunch or supplies, they should notify the FEPM contact.

Note: Notification of construction start-up must be provided at least five (5) business days in advance. Contractors will need to provide a written COVID-19 compliance plan, measures and monitoring process that complies with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and associated regulations and Public Health directives and guidelines. Construction activity on-site must also follow all facility Infection Prevention and Control guidelines.

13 June 2023