We are taking precautions at the Middlesex Hospital Alliance (MHA) to ensure the safety of our patients, families, caregivers and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Updates will be shared frequently to ensure everyone has the information required to remain safe.

Please visit the Province of Ontario’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage  to help educate yourself about COVID-19, including how you can protect yourself and what to do if you suspect you may be at risk.  Please select from the menu below:

COVID-19 Information

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19, which is the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus, range from mild — like the flu and other common respiratory infections — to severe.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever (feeling hot to the touch, a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher)
  • chills
  • cough that’s new or worsening (continuous, more than usual)
  • barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing (croup)
  • shortness of breath (out of breath, unable to breathe deeply)
  • sore throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • runny, stuffy or congested nose (not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions)
  • lost sense of taste or smell
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • headache that’s unusual or long lasting
  • digestive issues (nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain)
  • muscle aches
  • extreme tiredness that is unusual (fatigue, lack of energy)
  • falling down often
  • for young children and infants: sluggishness or lack of appetite

How can I protect myself?

COVID-19 is spread mainly from person to person through close physical contact.

Handwashing is your best defense against a range of illnesses, including COVID-19. Wash your hands often to help prevent exposure to, and transmission of, illness.

Other usual health precautions that can help you protect yourself against COVID-19 and other illnesses:

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you are unwell
  • Cough/sneeze into a tissue or into your sleeve or arm (immediately wash your hands after)
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Clean your hands before eating/drinking
  • Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, like bathroom sinks, kitchen counters, etc.

Visitation Policy during COVID

Current process and visitor restrictions

Please note: Everyone who enters the hospital must participate in the mandatory screening process, wear a hospital-issued mask and sanitize their hands. This includes individuals (patients, staff and essential visitors) who have been vaccinated.

Middlesex Hospital Alliance (MHA) sites have implemented restricted visiting guidelines to keep patients, families and our health care teams safe. The MHA Hospital sites continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation locally and may be required to change/update the visitation policy in response to local COVID-19 activity.

Middlesex Hospital Alliance (MHA) recognizes the important role that essential care partners play in the support and recovery of their loved ones in hospital. As such we continue to work to balance the need for essential care partner presence while limiting the number of people coming into the hospital in order to keep our patients, staff, and physicians safe.

Who is considered an Essential Care Partner?
An essential care partner plays a key role in the safety and well-being of a patient while in the hospital and supports the patient by providing emotional, cognitive, or physical care. Essential care partners do not have to be living with the patient or biologically related to the patient. Essential care partners must be 18 years of age or older. Essential care partners under the age of 18 must be approved by the manager or in-charge person/clinic in advance of the visit. Screeners will contact the area manager to have a conversation with the family should issues arise.

The COVID-19 Hospital Operations Table has created a Care Partner Presence framework to support a phased approach that aligns with the provincial COVID-19 Roadmap to Reopen Ontario.

IN CONJUNCTION WITH THIS FRAMEWORK, AND EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, MHA IS IMPLEMENTING THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES FOR ESSENTIAL CARE PARTNERS:

• Care partners are to be identified by inpatient units and communicated to screeners in advance of visiting
• Care partners will be screened at the Main Entrance
• Care partners who fail screening will NOT be permitted to enter the hospital
• Care partners that answer “NO” to all screening questions but have a COVID swab pending completed for their employment, to visit a nursing or retirement home will be permitted
• Care partners must perform diligent hand hygiene and wear a hospital-provided mask at all times
• Care Partners will refrain from eating or drinking in the patient room during their visit.
• All visits will be with the same individual (NOT including palliative patients), exceptions will be made based on a case-by-case basis
• Care partner presence is limited to three (3) hours per day excluding palliative care, or obstetrics, or at the discretion of manager/clinical team
• If able, the patient should wear a hospital approved mask during the visit.
• Patients in a multi-bed room will have curtains pulled around them when the care partner is present. The care partner will stay within the curtained area.

Designated visitors who do not follow these guidelines will be asked to leave. Thank you for your continued support to keep our patients, staff and physicians safe.

If you have any questions about the visiting hours policy, please ask a member of your care team.

 

Patient Population Institutional Guidance
PHASE 1: Modified
Palliative Patients who are imminently dying may have eight identified care partners. Only two care partners are allowed in hospital at a time.  COVID positive patients will need to be assessed on a case by case basis.
Inpatients Patients may have up to four care partners identified for their stay.  Only two may visit per day, one at a time.
Obstetrics Two Designated Care Partner for labor support and throughout stay.  Care Partner may have in and out privileges at the discretion of the nursing staff.
Emergency Department Patients will be permitted one care partner while waiting to be triaged.  After triage assessment, the triage nurse will determine if the care partner meets criteria to remain with the patient. Patients arriving by EMS will be permitted to have a care partner if the care partner meets the criteria to remain with the patient.   Care partner will remain with the patient at all times and not wander the hallways.
Ambulatory Care and Diagnostic Imaging and Outpatient Appointments Care partners for outpatient appointments will be determined on a case-by-case basis.  Exceptions will be made for one care partner to remain with patient if deemed essential by health care team e.g. mobility, cognitive, significant language barrier, <18 years of age, developmental disability.  A patient requiring a driver after an outpatient procedure will have the driver stay in at the designated area in the hospital.

In order to help keep everyone safe and minimize the chance of transmission of infections during this pandemic, parents are required to find alternate childcare arrangements for any children or siblings not requiring treatment. Pediatric patients are permitted to have one parent with them.

Scheduling departments or the physician’s office will ensure this information is shared and explained to patients at the time of booking.

Endoscopy Drivers for endoscopic procedures are required and will be permitted to pick up the patient from the Endoscopy Department after their procedure.

Guidelines for Visitors

  • Please wash your hands or use the available liquid sanitizer when entering and exiting the hospital.
  • Do not visit if you are ill or have been in contact with a person with a contagious illness (e.g. respiratory illness with fever, colds, chicken pox, flu)
  • Help us maintain a Scent Free environment. Please do not bring strongly scented flowers or use heavily scented body products (e.g. perfumes, lotion) when visiting.
  • Do not bring latex balloons.
  • The Hospital is a Smoke Free Environment. Anyone wishing to smoke will be required to leave the Hospital property.

Active Screening

Access into the hospital is limited to the following entrances:

Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital: the Main entrance and Emergency, the Emergency remains open 24/7.

Four Counties Health Services:  Emergency, the Emergency remains open 24/7.

Screeners actively screen all patients, approved visitors, and staff upon entry at all entrances by asking questions about:

  • Symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, muscle aches, diarrhea, abdominal pain)
  • Travel history
  • Contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 patient
  • Contact with person with acute respiratory illness who has travelled in the past 14 days

Visitors who fail the screen are not permitted to enter.

What steps are Middlesex Hospital Alliance taking to keep patients, visitors and staff safe?

MHA has coordinated prevention activities to align with recommendations from Public Health Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Health, Ontario Health and Regional Pandemic Advisory Boards. These include;

  • Controlled entry points and perimeter screening to assess for the presence of COVID-19 symptoms and identified exposure risks for everyone who enters our facilities.
  • Increased hand hygiene stations
  • Adoption of masking/facial covering policy
  • Placement of physical barriers, e.g. PlexiglasTM , stanchions
  • Enhanced signage to promote hand hygiene, masking, and physical distancing
  • Incorporated alternative ways to provide care in a safe manner, e.g. virtual or remote appointments
  • Updated visitor policies
  • Adhered to a slow and measured resumption of services

Universal Masking

Middlesex Hospital Alliance requires all outpatients, visitors, caregivers to wear a mask for the duration of your time at both of our hospital sites.

Why are patients and care partners being asked to wear masks at Middlesex Hospital Alliance?

Physical distancing, or staying more than two metres (six feet) apart from others is the most important strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from person to person. Some people who have COVID-19 may not have symptoms but can still spread the virus without knowing. Because we cannot guarantee physical distancing at all times, we require all patients and care partners wear a mask upon entry so we can keep everyone safe.

What type of mask is allowed?

Level 1 Procedural Masks are allowed for all patients and visitors entering either of our hospital sites. Patients and visitors are asked to remove any cloth masks, perform hand hygiene and put on a Level 1 procedural mask, provided by the hospital. Patients and visitors who do not wish to remove their own mask will be permitted to place the hospital Level 1 procedural mask over their own mask after they performed proper hand hygiene.

When should I wear a mask?

Please leave your mask on the entire time you are inside the hospital. If you need to take it off to eat or drink, or as part of your medical appointment, first wash your hands and then remove your mask carefully, without touching your face

Do inpatients have to wear masks?

Inpatients are not required to wear masks, unless they have COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19.

What if I refuse to wear a mask?

You will not be allowed within any MHA hospital site to visit or provide assistance for your loved one if you refuse to wear a mask.

You will not be allowed to attend any scheduled procedures if you refuse to wear a mask.

You will be asked to leave by our MHA screening staff.

COVID Vaccination

For information on COVID-19 Vaccination eligibility and  information on booking system  please visit the Middlesex-London Health Unit website:

https://www.healthunit.com/covid-19-vaccine-eligibility

 

Preparing for your Surgery

Ensuring the safety of our patients and staff is a top priority. We recognize the added stress of the COVID-19 Pandemic may have you feeling more anxious about your upcoming surgery or procedure.

Please be assured that our routine diligent infection prevention measures are still in place as well as additional pandemic measures in accordance with recommendations to hospitals by the Ontario Ministry of Health.

Please refer to the Having Surgey During a Pandemic Infection Prevention Guide

Pre-admission/pre-anaesthesiology appointments

Some patients may require additional assessment. Be assured, this does not mean your surgery will not take place. It’s recognized that patients who have infection at the time of their surgery are at greater risk of developing complications during their health care journey. You may be require an in-person or remote assessment by our pre-admission nursing staff or anaesthesiology physicians. Your safety is very important to us. Please provide us with thorough and accurate information.

Self-Isolation

It is recommended that patients adopt a period of self-isolation prior to their surgical procedure to prevent exposure to the virus. Ideally, your period of self-isolation should last for 14 days prior to your surgical procedure.

Please refer to Public Health Ontario Fact Sheet on Self-Isolation formation.  

You will be notified by your physician’s office or hospital staff if testing for COVID-19 is required prior to your surgical procedure. Please arrange testing through a COVID-19 Assessment Centre.

To ensure the health and safety of all staff, physicians and patients at MHA, please follow the guidance provided when preparing for your surgery and on the date of your procedure.

 

 

 

Preparing for your Outpatient visit

Although outpatient services are returning, restrictions to the number of people in areas of the hospital is limited. Please help us all stay safe.

  • If you are able to come to your appointment unattended, please do so. One support person is permitted for the following reasons;
    • To assist with a physical or cognitive impairment
    • If they are a parent/guardian accompanying a minor
    • If they are a designated driver for an appointment in which the patient is receiving sedation or medication in which operating a vehicle is not recommended
    • If they are supporting a person for a scheduled elective surgical procedure
  • Exceptions must be requested and will be assessed on a case by case basis in consultation with your health care provider prior to the day of your appointment.
  • Please ensure you arrive for your appointment at the time provided. If you are early, you may be asked to wait before you are able to enter the facility.
  • On arrival, you (and your support person) will be asked questions about symptoms you may be experiencing or exposures to the virus you may have had. These questions may be asked at multiple points during your visit.
  • Everyone must perform hand hygiene when entering and prior to exiting the facility
  • Facial protection that adequately covers the nose and mouth is required by everyone entering the building. If you choose not to wear facial protection, your elective outpatient appointment will be rescheduled or cancelled.
  • Waiting room space is limited due to physical distancing requirements. If you are a support person meeting the requirements above, waiting space will be provided. Additional persons may be requested to find an alternative waiting location external to the hospital building.
  • Follow signs and practice physical distancing

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