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 healthcare facilities. These protocols are necessary to protect patients, residents, staff, and physicians from the virus, and to avoid the spread of COVID-19 (and other respiratory illnesses). The visitor protocol is regularly reviewed and changed as necessary depending on the current threat from the virus.
Note: Health PEI's healthcare facility's protocols may differ from those of other organizations.
Masks are no longer required when entering Health PEI facilities unless individuals wish to do so. However, anyone with respiratory symptoms including symptoms of COVID-19 must refrain from visiting.
Unless in a designated area, or for some exceptional circumstances, we also ask that no food or drink be brought in or consumed in any patient area, waiting room, or other public space within the health care facility.
What is the difference between a partner in care, a 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.
All patients in acute care facilities are permitted six partners in care. Only two partners in care are permitted at the bedside at any one time.
Patients/residents in Long-Term Care and Mental Health and Addictions transitions and recovery homes can have up to six partners in care and three designated visitors with only two permitted at the bedside at any one time when operationally safe to do so.
For all Health PEI healthcare 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 healthcare facilities, if an outbreak of COVID-19 or another respiratory illness is declared at the facility or on a unit within the facility, only three partners in care will be permitted and only one partner in care is allowed to visit at a time.
The length and frequency of bedside visits depend on whether or not there is an outbreak at a site/patient care unit. 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 the patient's 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.
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 or have a respiratory illness?
Partners in care who have tested positive for COVID-19 are not permitted to enter a healthcare facility until they are deemed recovered. Recovered means 10 days from the onset of symptoms or the date of the positive test as long as symptoms are improving.
Partners in care who have a respiratory illness are not permitted to enter a healthcare facility.
Under exceptional or compassionate circumstances, a partner in care or designated visitor who tests positive for COVID-19 or has a respiratory illness may be permitted. 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. If they are permitted they must :
- be asymptomatic;
- wear full PPE (visor/goggles, gown, gloves, and a medical mask) for the duration of the visit; and
- be the sole person 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.
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 hospitals 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 the facility administration.
What are the restrictions for COVID-19-positive patients or patients with another respiratory illness?
Patients or residents who are COVID-19 positive or test positive for another respiratory illness may have three partners in care, but only one is permitted to visit at a time.
Additional partners in care or designated visitors may be permitted to visit COVID-19-positive patients/residents under compassionate and exceptional circumstances. Full PPE (visor/goggles, gown, gloves, and a medical mask) is required for the duration of the visit.
Partners in care may visit with a COVID-19-positive or suspect-positive patient/resident (or patient/resident who has tested positive for another respiratory illness) 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 are allowed.