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.

On February 17, 2022, the Ontario government resumed the steps to reopening. While changes may be implemented in a variety of public settings they do not apply to hospitals. Hospitals are a high risk setting. Screening, masking and vaccine mandates will remain in place and be enforced.

As healthcare leaders, we need to do everything possible to continue to safeguard our patients, families, communities and those who provide their care.

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 range from very mild to more serious. They may vary between age groups

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
• new or worsening cough
• shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• temperature equal to or more than 38°C and / or chills
• new loss of smell or taste

Other symptoms might include:
• fatigue or weakness
• muscle or body aches
• nausea, vomiting and/ or diarrhea

Less common symptoms include:
• sore throat
• runny or stuffy nose
• headache
• pink eye
• abdominal pain
• no appetite

How can I protect myself?

1. Get vaccinated against Covid 19
2. Avoid contact with people who are sick.
3. Social distance and avoid crowds.
4. Wear a mask and maintain a distance of 6 feet from people outside of your household.
5. Wash your hands frequently.
6. Get tested if you develop symptoms

 

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.

March 4, 2022
As Ontario moves to reopen, Middlesex Hospital Alliance (MHA) continues to ensure patient, staff and community safety is a top priority.
Together with partners across the region, we maintain multiple layers of protection including screening, distancing, masking/ use of personal protective equipment and requiring proof of vaccination.
We will continue to review and adjust our family/ essential care partner policy to balance the important role that family and essential care partners play in the support and recovery of their loved ones in hospital with safety.

Who is considered family?

Family includes a spouse/domestic partner, guardian, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, relative, neighbour and/or friend

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.

Guidelines for Family/ Essential Care Partners:

  • Care partners must be fully vaccinated.
  • Care partners will be screened at the Main Entrance
  • Care partners who fail screening will NOT be permitted to enter the hospital
  • Care partners must perform diligent hand hygiene and wear a hospital-provided mask at all time
  • Care partners must wear additional personal protective equipment if requested by staff
  • All visits will be with the same individual, exceptions will be made based on a case-by-case basis
  • Care partner presence is limited to one visit per day excluding palliative care, or obstetrics, or with pre-approval 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.
  • Care partners are to be identified by inpatient units and communicated to screeners in advance of visiting.
  • Care partners will not eat or drink in the patient room.
  • Care partners will use public washrooms.

Family/Essential Care Partners should NOT come to the hospital if they:

  • Are feeling unwell
  • Have tested positive for COVID-19
  • Have been tested for COVID-19 with results pending (or unresolved)
  • Have had close contact with a confirmed or suspect case of COVID-19
  • Have been advised to isolate by public health

Family/essential care partners must follow infection prevention and control guidelines as directed at all times while at the hospital. Masks are mandatory and provided by the hospital for the duration of time spent at the hospital.

Definitions for the purposes of the Guidelines
Full Vaccination 14 days after the last dose given in a COVID-19 vaccination series
Family Includes a spouse/domestic partner, guardian, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, relative, neighbour and/or friend.
Essential Care Partner Is a family member, guardian, friend and/or neighbour who provides support, assistance and/or care for family members and friends in need in any capacity or length of time. An essential care partner must be 18 years of age or older.
Palliative Patient Is a patient with a life threatening diagnosis who is receiving specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms.
Children Children: Children are individuals under the age of 18 years. MHA supports the presence of children for palliative or MAiD patients accompanied by a fully immunized adult. Pre-approval is required for all visits by children. The child’s vaccine eligibility and status will be considered when making exceptions. Children will not be permitted if aerosol generating medical procedures are in the current care plan.
Patient Population Institutional Guidance
Palliative MHA supports up to four (4) fully vaccinated family / essential care partner(s) to be present 24/7 where the patient is receiving care. Additional family will be approved on a case by case basis by the unit manager during business hours (manager on call outside of business hours) in consultation with Infection Prevention and Control and family/essential care partner(s). Multiple factors are considered including availability of palliative care room and staffing. A list will be provided for screeners.
Inpatients MHA supports up to four (4) designated fully vaccinated care partners. One may visit once per day between 8:00am and 8:00pm. Additional times or visits may be approved on a case by case basis as needed for patient safety or well-being by the manager in consultation with infection prevention and control.

NEW: Unvaccinated family members/visitors will now need to follow a new and formalized pre‐approval process for visiting an inpatient unit. These requests will be reviewed by the unit manager, Infection and Control Specialist and Vice President Clinical Services, and if approved, will be communicated to the care team and documented on the patient chart. The new process will require the family member/visitor to make a visit request through MHA Patients Relations by telephone at 519 245‐5295 ext. 5594 or email at patientrelations@mha.tvh.ca. A response will be provided on the next business day. If the situation is urgent, please ask staff to reach out to the area manager (manager on call if outside business hours).
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.

Outpatient Surgery MHA supports one (1) fully vaccinated family/ essential care partner may attend as needed for safety or to enable care prior to the procedure. They must leave hospital and may return to area to pick up patient for discharge.
Obstetrics MHA supports one (1) fully vaccinated family/essential care partners to provide support during labour and delivery.
Emergency Department MHA supports one (1) fully vaccinated family / essential care partner to accompany patient throughout the Emergency room visit. Should the patient be admitted, inpatient guidance will apply.

Patients arriving by EMS will be permitted to have care partner one fully vaccinated family / essential care partner if the care partner meets the criteria to remain with the patient. Care partner will remain with the patient at all times.

Ambulatory Care and Diagnostic Imaging and Outpatient Appointments MHA supports one fully vaccinated family/ essential care partner to attend appointments as needed. An unvaccinated family/ essential care partner will be accommodated as essential for safety, support or to enable care.
If an additional person is required to attend a diagnostic test or appointment, please reach out in advance of the appointment to Patient Relations at MHA Patients Relations by telephone at 519 245‐5295 ext. 5594 or email at patientrelations@mha.tvh.ca.
Reasonable exceptions will be supported.
Endoscopy Drivers for endoscopic procedures are required and will be permitted to pick up the patient from the Endoscopy Department after their procedure.

A family member or essential care partner who is not fully vaccinated may be allowed entry in specific clinical situations:
• patients who are children or infants,
• palliative patients
• patients experiencing an unpredictable or urgent circumstance, including end of life, a mental health crisis or childbirth
Manager preapproval is required in consultation with Infection Prevention and Control.
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.

Spiritual Care Providers

Spiritual care providers must be fully vaccinated, pass screening, wear appropriate PPE at all times and limit their limit visit to one person. Spiritual care visits must be approved on a case by case basis by the unit manager during business hours (manager on call outside of business hours) in consultation with Infection Prevention and Control.

Expectations While In Hospital

It is expected that family and/or essential care partners will:
• Stay in the loved one’s room until during the visit
• Sit in chair provided and not on patient’s bed
• Not use the patient washroom. Public washrooms are available; inquire with the unit where the patient is receiving care for locations
• Not leave the unit for smoking / vaping or other purposes. If they choose to leave the hospital, they will be unable to return until the following day
• Not linger in hallways or spend extended time in public/common areas. Public washrooms are open and cafeteria seating areas are open (subject to availability).

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.

Food and Personal Items for Patients
• Family / essential care partner may not bring food or beverages for personal consumption into a patient room or in patient care areas.
• Meals, snacks and beverages are available in designated areas.
• If family / essential care partner bring food for their loved one, food containers must be disposed of or taken home with the family / essential care partner when they leave. There is no location to store leftovers.
• Diabetic patients may bring their own food and drink to their appointment.
• Flowers/plants are not permitted in patient rooms at this time

To maintain Infection Prevention and Control standards and the safety of our staff and patients, please bring only the listed items below to the hospital for patients.
• glasses, hearing aids and dentures
• mobility items (canes, walkers, wheelchairs)
• new toiletries only
• new grooming items – toothbrushes, combs and hair brushes
• personal items- books, magazines, puzzle books, family photos etc.
• mobile phone/tablet,
• clean clothing and footwear

Please direct requests for special items to the Manager of the Unit where the patient is receiving care

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)
  • Contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 patient
  • Testing- if you are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test
  • Vaccine status against COVID-19

Visitors who fail the screen are not permitted to enter.

Unvaccinated individuals are allowed entry only under specific circumstances

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

MHA COVID-19 Vaccination policy

On August 17, 2021, the Ontario government issued Directive #6. This directive affects COVID-19 immunizations and workplace policies for individuals employed in hospitals.

As healthcare leaders, we need to do everything possible to continue to safeguard our patients, families, communities and those who provide their care.

Middlesex Hospital Alliance has implemented a progressive plan to stage in mandatory vaccinations to ensure that all Middlesex Hospital Alliance “Workers” (MHA employees, physicians and credentialed staff, students, contracted staff/affiliates who regularly work on site) volunteers and tenants are fully vaccinated. We have introduced a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy which requires that all MHA workers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 29th, 2021.

COVID-19 Vaccination Receipts
Do you need a copy of your COVID-19 Vaccination Receipt?
Many people are looking for an electronic or print copy of their COVID-19 vaccination receipt now that the Ontario government has announced vaccination passports are required for certain indoor settings as of September 22.

With your postal code and green Ontario health card, you can print or download your receipt at https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca.  If you have a red and white health card or no health card, call 1-833-943-3900.

Many people don’t have printers at home. If you do, please consider printing for a neighbour or family member who needs assistance. You can also print at local libraries, and some large retailers such as Staples.

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 in place as well as additional pandemic measures in accordance with recommendations to hospitals by the Ontario Ministry of Health.

Change to Preoperative Covid Testing for Elective Procedures and Surgery – Effective January 10, 2022

Due to high levels of community transmission, all patients undergoing elective procedures or surgery will require pre-operative COVID-19 testing.  A 10 day self-isolation (except for essential reasons) will be required. Testing will be arranged when your procedure is booked or through the pre-admit appointment.

Please refer to the Preparing for Surgery During a Pandemic – Patient Handbook

Assesment:

There may be times when additional assessment of your health may be required. 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. Your safety is very important to us. Please provide us with thorough and accurate information.

Vaccination

Covid vaccine reduces the risk of Covid-19 infection. We encourage all patients and visitors to get vaccinated against Covid -19. If you have had your second dose of Covid vaccine more than 14 days before your surgery you will be considered fully vaccinated

Self-Isolation

• We encourage all patients to limit social activities for 10 days prior to surgery.

• If you are fully vaccinated be prepared to show proof of vaccination. Fully vaccinated means you have received your second dose (or booster dose if required) more than 14 days before your surgery.

• If you have been asked to obtain a COVID-19 swab before your surgery, you must adhere to strict social isolation practices from the time of your swab to your scheduled procedure.
If you are not able to maintain strict social isolation practices from the time of your swab to the day of your surgery, your surgery will be rescheduled

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

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.

Support Persons/Visitors
During this time we are required to limit the number of people coming to the hospital. If you need assistance or support the day of your procedure, please ensure that only one person who is fully vaccinated, free of symptoms and who has not been exposed to COVID -19 accompanies you to the hospital. Fully vaccinated means that your support person received their second dose of Covid vaccine more than 14 days before your surgery.
Our visitor policies are evolving. Please refer to our website visitation policy.

At the Hospital
• Everyone entering the hospital must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure risk
• Be prepared to show proof of Vaccination against Covid -19
• You will be asked to perform hand hygiene
• Everyone entering the hospital must wear a mask. The mask must remain on at all times unless you are directed by a healthcare worker to remove or replace it.
o Perform hand hygiene before putting on your mask
o Make sure the mask covers your mouth and nose
o Do not touch the front of the mask. If you do, perform hand hygiene.
o Remove the mask by handling the ties or ear loops only. Disposable masks should be discarded. Reusable masks can be placed into a clean paper bag.
o Perform hand hygiene again, once you have removed your mask

 

 

Preparing for your Outpatient visit

There are limitations to the number of people in areas of the hospital. Please help us all stay safe.

  • If you are able to come to your appointment unattended, please do so. Please refer to the Visitation Policy for family and essential care partners. If a support persons is required to assist please choose an asymptomatic fully vaccinated support person to attend with you. If you require more than 1 support person,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 approved family/essential care partner) 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, 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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