CKHA tightens visitor restrictions

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As of Tuesday morning, the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance ramped up visitor restrictions due to rising COVID-19 numbers in the municipality and the hospital itself.

Officials call it Phase 2 visitor restrictions. In this phase, patients are allowed one care partner only on the rehabilitation/inpatient stroke, psychiatry and complex continuing care units; and two consistent care partners, limited to one at a time, in the ICU.

Effective Thursday, all visitors and care partners coming to either Wallaceburg or Chatham hospitals must show proof of vaccination or have proof of a negative COVID test.

Exceptions to the CKHA visitor policy that is now in effect continue to include:

  • An inpatient who is imminent risk of dying, as determined by the clinical provider, may have no more than two visitors present at a time.
  • An inpatient who is considered palliative, as determined by the clinical provider, may have one visitor present at a time.
  • Pediatric patients may be accompanied by one adult visitor.
  • Women in active labour/post-partum may be accompanied by one visitor.

In the emergency department a patient who is at imminent risk of dying may have a loved one present with them. Patients with cognitive or mobility difficulties may be accompanied by one person. Pediatric patients in the ED can be accompanied by one adult.

As is the current practice, visitors will be screened at the main entrance at the Chatham site, and emergency department entrance at the Wallaceburg site. If they fail screening, they will be denied entry into the hospital.

All visitors must wear a mask and/or additional personal protective equipment as required, practice frequent hand washing and will be restricted to visitation in the patient’s room.

Hospital officials ask that if you have a loved one in hospital and will be visiting daily/frequently, try to limit your movement throughout the community as much as possible to avoid the potential spread of illness.

If a patient or loved one/advocate wishes to appeal the visitation policy, they should discuss with the care team.

On top of this, effective Dec. 9, visitors and care partners entering both the Chatham and Wallaceburg sites will be required to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination and/or a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) or rapid antigen test with limited exceptions. This approach is similar to visitor policies established at other hospitals throughout the region and the province.

“With our mandatory vaccination policy now in place for all staff, physicians and volunteers, we’ve applied similar principles to our visitor policy as our next step to ensuring our hospital sites are safer places to receive and deliver care,” said Lori Marshall, CKHA president and CEO, in a media release. “It was particularly important that we make this adjustment to the policy as cases are rising in the community and in hospital, particularly in critical care. With the recent reports of the Omicron variant of concern in Canada, it was also imperative we take this extra measure to protect our most vulnerable populations.”

Exceptions to the proof of vaccination/testing policy for care partners and visitors include:

  • Palliative patients or patients at end-of-life;
  • critically ill patients or life altering diagnosis, or imminent risk of dying;
  • child birth (triage, labour and delivery, post-partum);
  • major surgery;
  • pediatric patients;
  • patients with disabilities that are determined by clinical teams to require the personal support of a family member/caregiver;
  • post mortem.

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