Visitor Guidelines at Hospitals and Health Care Facilities

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Horizon has taken measures in our facilities to reduce patient traffic and create a safe and healthy environment for our patients, clients, staff, physicians, and communities.

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 include family members, close friends, or other caregivers and are identified/designated by the patient or substitute decision maker (SDM).

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 visiting hours, 2 to 8 p.m. Social visitors cannot visit patients on a patient care unit that has a respiratory virus outbreak.

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

Our top priority is to make sure everyone is safe when they come to our hospitals.

Outbreak Units

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

There is a respiratory virus outbreak on the following hospital units:

  • The Moncton Hospital 
    • Neurosciences and Surgical Unit
  • Saint John Regional Hospital 
    • Transitional Care Unit
  • Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital 
    • Medical Unit
  • Miramichi Regional Hospital 
    • Cardiac Step down/Stroke Unit
  • Charlotte County Hospital 
    • Restorative Care (Floor 2)

30 May 2023

Precautions when entering a Horizon facility

  • All DSPs and social visitors will be asked to self-screen before they enter our hospitals. Do your part to help keep our health care facilities safe by answering questions honestly and respectfully. Thank you for keeping everyone safe!
  • Any DSPs who respond “yes” to the following questions are asked not to enter and to contact the nursing unit for further direction. A negative self-administered Point of Care Test does not override screening criteria.
    • tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days and are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test,
    • been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person, or
    • any COVID-19 and other respiratory illness related symptoms
  • Consideration will be given to DSPs who do not pass screening if they need to be with a patient for compassionate reasons. Please refer to the information below, under Exceptions.
  • Social Visitors who do not pass screening will not be permitted to visit.
  • Everyone who enters our buildings must perform proper hand hygiene (clean their hands) regularly and practice social distancing.
  • The continuous use of face masks will no longer be required in Horizon hospitals and health care facilities, with a few exceptions.
    • Designated support persons (DSPs) and social visitors will be required to wear a medical grade face mask when in a patient room on Oncology units or clinics. Oncology patients are not required to wear a mask while in their room or treatment chair, but masking is recommended when they are within two (2) metres of another person.
    • Outpatients with symptoms of COVID-19 or a respiratory illness and/or who have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last seven (7) days must continue to wear a medical grade face mask.
    • The continuous use of medical grade face masks will be required on outbreak units.
  • Wearing a mask remains optional in most settings across Horizon and medical grade face masks will be available for patients, social visitors, DSPs and health care workers who choose to wear one.
  • If a patient chooses to wear a face mask, health care workers will support the patient’s decision and will wear a medical grade face mask while providing patient care.

General Visitation Guidelines

DSPs and social visitors must follow the 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 the patient’s room.

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


  • Inpatients are allowed TWO healthy visitors at a time. This may be two designated support persons (DSP) OR two social visitors OR one DSP and one social visitor.


  • Patients visiting Outpatient Departments may have ONE support person accompany them. Patients requiring obstetrical ultrasounds may have ONE support person present in the exam room for the second part of the exam (viewing).

Designated Support Persons – Guidelines

  • Hours for DSPs are flexible and are determined in discussion with the health care staff. Exceptions to these visiting hours can be found below.
  • DSPs will be required to complete online 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 education, click here. (If there are problems completing the online training, DSPs can request an appointment to receive training within the hospital.)
  • If you have questions about the DSP program, please email or call the toll-free number 1-833-625-1653.

Social Visitors

  • Access for social visitors is limited to visiting hours, 2 to 8 p.m.
  • May be asked to leave the room if staff are completing care procedures.
  • Your hospital 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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

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

Critical Care and Neonatal Intensive Care patients may have up to TWO designated support persons with up to TWO designated support persons at a 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.

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

TWO designated support persons can be appointed and visit at a time. One of the DSPs can be a Registered Doula.


For Pediatrics and post-partum patients, TWO designated support persons or two social visitors OR one DSP and one social visitor can visit. Social visitors are permitted to visit during designated visiting hours.

Residents of Ridgewood Veterans Wing (Ridgewood) (Saint John) and the Veterans Health Unit (VHU) (Fredericton) can have up to FIVE DSPs, with TWO present at any given time.

At Ridgewood, up to TWO social visitors are also welcome from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

At VHU, up to TWO social visitors are also welcome from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

TWO visitors can be present at any given time. This may be two designated support persons (DSP) OR two social visitors OR one DSP and one social visitor.

Patients visiting Emergency Departments can have ONE support person accompany them.

Patients visiting Outpatient Departments may have ONE support person accompany them.

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

At DischargeONE healthy individual is allowed to pick up discharged patients.

Visitation processes are in place for DSPs screened to be “at risk”. DSPs who have symptoms of a respiratory virus will be required to have a PCR test. 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


Two or more of the following symptoms:

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


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).


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.