Visitor policy and protocols for Health PEI facilities, including Long-Term Care facilities
Information for patients, residents, partners in care, visitors, staff and physicians
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Health PEI has had to implement protocols for visiting at our health care facilities. These protocols are necessary to protect patients, residents, staff and physicians from the virus, and to avoid the spread of COVID-19. The visitor protocol is regularly reviewed and changed as necessary depending on the current threat from the virus.
Health care facilities and providers (public and private) should continue with their masking policies until advised otherwise by CPHO.
What is the difference between a Partner in Care, Designated Visitor and a Visitor?
A Partner in Care is defined as a person whom the patient or resident identifies and designates as a partner in care. A Partner in Care may support feeding, mobility, personal hygiene, cognitive stimulation, communication, assistance in decision-making, and provide emotional support. They may touch the patient or resident as part of their duties. A Designated Visitor is designated by the patient or resident as someone who may visit primarily for social or other supportive reasons. A Visitor is someone who visits for social or supportive reasons but who is not “designated” by the patient or resident to visit.
What are the current protocols in place across Health PEI?
For all Health PEI facilities, including Long-Term Care, general visitation is not permitted at this time. Patients and residents will be supported by Partners in Care (PICs) and designated visitors only at this time.
With the exception of patients who are in hospital awaiting Long-Term Care, all patients in acute care facilities are permitted three (3) Partners in Care. Only two (2) Partners in Care are permitted at the bedside any one time.
Patients/Residents in Long-Term Care and Mental Health and Addictions transitions and recovery homes can have up to six (6) Partners in Care and three (3) designated visitors with only two (2) permitted at the bedside at any one time when operationally safe to do so. Patients in the hospital awaiting Long-Term Care are also permitted six (6) Partners in Care with only two (2) Partners in Care permitted at the bedside at any one time.
For all Health PEI health care facilities, additional visitors may be permitted to visit for compassionate reasons and in exceptional circumstances (end-of-life palliative patients and patients with a life-threatening condition).
In all PEI health care facilities, if an outbreak is declared at the facility or on a unit within the facility, only three (3) Partners in Care will be permitted and only one (1) Partner in Care is allowed to visit at a time.
Length and frequency of bedside visits are dependent on the site’s outbreak status. All Partners in Care and Visitors are required to follow all infection control precautions relayed to them by staff, including maintaining physical distancing between themselves and patients and staff and must wear full PPE (visor/goggles, gown, gloves, and a medical mask) for the duration of the visit to the health care facility.
Partners in Care are not required to schedule their visit as they are considered part of the care team for the patient or resident. However, there may be times due to patient treatment schedule that Partners in Care will be asked to defer visiting.
Partners in Care may visit in an outdoor setting without masks if they maintain physical distancing.
Both Partners in Care and Designated Visitors may be asked to step into the hallway while care is provided to allow for physical distancing.
What are the infection control precautions for Partners in Care?
Partners in Care must follow all infection control precautions relayed to them by staff, including maintaining physical distancing between themselves and patients and staff and must wear full PPE (visor/goggles, gown, gloves, and a medical mask) for the duration of the visit to the health care facility.
With some exceptions, no food or drink shall be brought in or consumed by the Partner in Care while in the facility.
All Partners in Care must have their name and contact information recorded. Partners in Care will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and must be asymptomatic. If symptomatic, they are not permitted in any facility.
Are Partners in Care permitted in the facility if they test positive for COVID-19?
Partners in Care who have tested positive for COVID-19 are not permitted to enter a health care facility until they are deemed recovered.
Are Partners in Care permitted in the facility if they are self-isolating?
Partners in Care are not permitted in the facility when they are self-isolating unless it is for compassionate end-of-life visits and in extenuating circumstances (ie. No other Partners in Care are available).
Under these exceptional or compassionate circumstances, the Partners in Care or Designated Visitor:
- must be asymptomatic.
- must wear full PPE (visor/goggles, gown, gloves and a medical mask) for the duration of the visit..
- is exempt from self-isolation ONLY for the specified timeframe to visit with the patient/resident.
- is required to be the sole person(s) visiting with the patient/resident for the duration of the visit. This visit must take place in a designated space, separate from other patients/residents, other Partners in Care, visitors and staff.
Visitation will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the most responsible Physician/Nurse Practitioner, must be approved by facility leadership and requires consultation with Infection Control to ensure a plan is in place for the visit to occur as safely as possible.
What is considered an exceptional circumstance?
An example of an exceptional circumstance would include compassionate reasons such as when the patient has a life-threatening condition as determined by the attending physician/nurse practitioner, or to support a patient who is a minor.
Are Visitors and Partners in Care permitted to visit more than one Long-Term Care facility?
Partners in Care may visit more than one Long-Term Care Facility provided they adhere to all facility infection prevention and control measures.
Are patients and residents permitted to leave the facility?
At this time patients and residents in all Health PEI facilities, may leave the facility for reasons related to their treatment plan, for critical personal business, and for discharge planning.
Long-Term Care residents, patients in hospital awaiting Long-Term Care, and patients in Mental Health and Addictions transitions and recovery homes may receive a pass for a predetermined amount of time. The pass must be approved by the most responsible physician or nurse practitioner and by facility administration.
What are the restrictions for COVID-19 positive patients?
Patient or residents who are COVID-19 positive may have three (3) Partners in Care, but only one (1) is permitted to visit at a time.
Additional Partners in Care or Designated Visitors may be permitted to visit COVID-19 positive residents under compassionate and exceptional circumstances. Full PPE is required for the duration of the visit.
Partners in Care may visit with a COVID-19 positive or suspect positive patient/resident only if they wear full PPE during the visit. Full personal protective equipment (PPE) includes (i.e., wearing medical masks, gowns, gloves, and visors/goggles). With the exception of Long-Term care, no other types of visitation is allowed.