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SJHH / Patients & Visitors/ Your Visit Or Stay/ What you need to know before coming to the hospital

What you need to know before visiting the hospital

Visitor Information During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Last Updated September 1st, 2021

As Hamilton experiences an increase in the community spread of COVID-19, St. Joe’s is reducing the number of on-site visitors. As of September 1, we’re changing our visiting guidelines as per below. We continue to assess changes gradually, and in consultation with Patient and Family Advisors, to maintain the safety of everyone at our hospital, while recognizing that caregivers and support people play a critical role in providing physical, emotional, and occasionally translation support to our patients.

We want you to know that it is safe to be in our hospital. 

A Caregiver/Support Person - is an essential partner in case and determined by the patient.  Caregiver/Support people can be a family member, partner, friend or neighbor that play a critical role in providing physical, emotional, and occasionally translation support to our patients.

Visitor - individuals who have a relationship with a patient but are not identified as the patient’s Caregiver(s)/Support person; someone whose time with the patient is discretionary and usually temporary; visiting for purposes that are more social in nature and not involved in the patient’s healthcare.  

Caregiver/Support Person must be designated by the patient on admission and can be updated every 14 days or at the patient's request. They must continue to wear a mask throughout the hospital and while visiting the patient. We will continue to provide caregivers/support people with letters to show COVID Screeners upon entering the hospital.

Please see the following Caregiver/Support Person and Visitor Policy:

Inpatient Areas and Satellite Health Facility:

  • As of September 1, 2021, only designated caregivers/support people can visit inpatients.
  • Two (2) identified caregivers/support people to visit inpatients, with only one (1) person at the bedside at a time (exception Women’s & Infants program)
  • All Caregivers/Support People will need to sign in on arrival to the inpatient unit.

Women's and Infants':

  • Obstetrics Clinic and Obstetrics Ultrasound: People who are pregnant can bring one (1) support partner with them to their appointment. Waiting room capacity has been increased to 50%.
  • Patients in labour: Two (2) support people are permitted and once identified cannot be switched for another visitor. For patients with a Doula, the Doula is considered one of the two support people permitted.
  • Patients staying overnight with a newborn on the Mother Baby Unit: Two (2) support person are permitted at a time at the bedside.
  • Baby Assessment Clinic (BAC) and Breastfeeding and Newborn Assessment (BANA) Clinic: One (1) support person may accompany new mothers to their appointment.
  • Parents or caregiver of babies admitted to the Special Care Nursery: Two (2) people (parents or caregivers) are permitted at a time at the bedside
  • Caregiver/Support Persons and visitors should be over the age of 16 years. In exceptional circumstances children under the age of 16 may be allowed to visit as long as accompanied by an adult. This must be arranged in advance with the Manager.

Outpatient Clinics & Day Surgery

  • Please come alone to your appointments. In special circumstances, the Manager may approve a support person to accompany a patient to Outpatient clinic appointments. Any exception to the visitor restrictions must be approved by the unit or clinic manager. 

Emergency Department, Urgent Care and Psychiatric Emergency Services

  • Please come alone to the Emergency Department, Urgent Care Centre and/or Psychiatric Emergency Services unless required for cognitive or mobility issues. This is necessary to ensure physical distancing requirements are met.
  • With the higher volumes of patients presenting to our Emergency Department and Urgent Care Centre, caregiver/support person presence will continue to be limited to prevent community spread of infection and to support the requirements for physical distancing.

Patients with Confirmed COVID 19/ under investigation

  • No caregiver/support person allow unless patients are receiving end of life care.

  • Caregiver/Support Persons and visitors should be over the age of 16 years.  In exceptional circumstances children under the age of 16 may be allowed to visit as long as accompanied by an adult.  This must be arranged in advance with the Manager.
  • The Caregiver/Support Person works together with the healthcare team to ensure the safety of everyone.
  • Please connect with your care team who will help establish the schedule for visiting.
  • No food or drink is allowed while in the patient room.
  • Caregiver/Support person must wear a mask covering both mouth and nose for the duration of the visit.
  • While one (1) caregiver/support person may be present with the patient at any time of day, presence hours are encouraged to be within the time frame of 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. daily to promote good sleep hygiene.

Limited exceptions exist for allowing more or additional visitors to inpatient areas, including:

  • Compassionate grounds for palliative patients
  • Other special needs as determined by the care team

Caregivers and Support Persons are essential partners in care and play a critical role in providing physical, emotional, and occasionally translation support to a family member, partner, friend or neighbour in need.

Virtual visits

We encourage to continue virtual visits. We understand that some people do not feel safe coming to the hospital, and these are good alternatives. This is another good option for those who are not listed as one of the two visitors on the patient’s list.

Questions or concerns

Where can visiting take place? For the Charlton Campus, we encourage visiting to take place in the patient’s room. For the West 5th Campus, this will be left up to the discretion of the unit manager.

Can caregiver/support person move around the hospital OR go outside of the hospital? We are asking you to limit moving throughout the hospital as much as possible. The intent is to have the caregiver/support person go directly to visit the patient, and leave the hospital after the visit.

How long can visitors stay? This will be determined in partnership with the healthcare team.

Who can I contact if I have questions or concerns about the visitor policy? Please speak with the manager of the unit and if you have additional questions, please contact Patient Relations at 905-522-1155 ext. 33838 or by email at (Visiting hours are between 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.)

For more information, click here. 

Our hospital is safe. However, it is your responsibility when you are in the hospital to help keep it safe.

  • All visitors must be screened before entering the hospital. (Go to to use your phone and get through screening faster)
  • Visitors must use designated entrances (Go to for location of designated entrances)
  • Hospital visitors will be asked to wear the blue surgical masks provided for them when they enter the hospital, and will no longer be allowed to wear cloth masks. This will ensure alignment and universality of wearing a three-layer mask.
  • Please practice good hand hygiene when entering and leaving the hospital and entering and leaving the hospital unit.
  • Please practice physical distancing in all public areas.

It is very important that everyone coming into the hospital is vaccinated for COVID-19 to keep everyone safe, especially those who are ill and/or immunocompromised. For information on where to receive a vaccine, click here for Hamilton vaccine clinic information.

For more information about St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s services during the pandemic, please visit