Visiting Us

Update to Family Presence Information

Updated September 17, 2021

Visitor restrictions continue to remain in place at Lakeridge Health, in order to balance the need for safety, and to provide a supportive and healing environment for all.  In alignment with provincial public health measures, we continue to assess how to safely support family presence across the organization.  To maintain the safest possible environment, the following changes are now in effect: 

  • Out of Country Travellers, within 14 days of arrival and regardless of vaccination status will only be permitted to visit a patient in hospital in very limited circumstances.  Please speak with a member of the healthcare team to review your unique circumstance prior to making travel arrangements. 

All requests for Out of Country Travellers must be discussed and scheduled in advance with the healthcare team. 

  • In outpatient areas where there are high volumes and limited capacity for physical distancing, an essential care partner will be permitted only in exceptional circumstances, in consultation with the healthcare team.  Please note, there may be times when an essential care partner, who does meet an exception cannot be permitted in waiting areas due to high volumes and/or limited capacity.  In these situations, we will make every effort to support the involvement of an essential care partner virtually, over the telephone or by video and where applicable, we will welcome the essential care partner to the patient’s bedside when it is safe to do so.  Please speak with the healthcare team to inquire about these options.

The current Family Presence guidelines for inpatient areas are:

Patients admitted to the hospital (excluding those admitted in the Emergency department) may receive up to 2 visits each day from a family member/partner-in-care.  Only 1 person can visit at a time for a maximum of 2 hours per visit.  These visits must be scheduled in advance with the healthcare team.  Please note, these guidelines apply to both indoor and outdoor visits.

We continue to allow some patients to have the additional support of an Essential Care Partner during their hospital stay. This needs to be discussed and scheduled in advance with the healthcare team. 

All family members/partners-in-care, essential care partners and outpatients must continue to follow these guidelines at all times, when in hospital and during indoor and outdoor visits:

  • Wear a mask
  • No eating or drinking

Thank you for your continued support and understanding. We look forward to providing ongoing updates regarding family presence.

Virtual Connections

Virtual Connections allows hospital inpatients to connect with their family members face-to-face through a video call.  While patients and families can stay connected through telephone calls, our team is happy to arrange a virtual connection whenever possible.

Before you begin, please review the Guide to Getting Started.

Once you are ready, please call your patient’s unit and speak to a health care team member to arrange the virtual connection.

You will need:

  • An active working telephone number
  • Working Internet via WiFi or hardwired
  • An active working email account
  • Audio and video capable device

 You may use any of the following devices with audio and video capabilities:

  • Cell phone (Smart Phone)
  • Computer (PC)/Laptop
  • Tablet

If you are experiencing issues after you have reviewed the Guide To Getting Started, please fill out our Virtual Connections form.

NOTE: Virtual Connections is for social connection and is not intended for family discussions with the health care team. If you have questions for the health care team, please contact the patient’s unit by phone.

If your patient has their own device, they can connect with the hospitals FREE Guest WiFi and use video apps.

Email a Patient

We value the vital role that families and partners-in-care contribute to the healing and wellbeing of our patients and appreciate how difficult this is for everyone.

To assist any family and friends looking to further connect with their loved one, Lakeridge Health is supporting and encouraging virtual and telephone calls as staying connected is an important part of healing. We offer a free messaging service called Email a Patient where you can send a personalized electronic message that will be printed and read to your loved one.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Family Presence at Lakeridge Health

I am an essential visitor - what is important for me to know in order to safely visit the hospital?

We need your commitment to adhere to our safe visiting guidelines.  This includes the following:

  1. Masks must always be worn while in the hospital or on hospital property (i.e., while in parking garage, walking to the entrance).
  2. Absolutely no eating or drinking while in the hospital.
  3. Personal items (i.e., mobility aids, personal hygiene items, clothing as appropriate) can be brought to patients
  4. Food items (individually wrapped and commercially prepared) can be brought to patients. No shared food is allowed

We are screening everyone that comes to Lakeridge Health to ensure those entering are feeling well and free of illness.  This includes all of the Lakeridge Health team.  Please follow the signage to the screening entrance.

Once the screening questions are successfully passed, the family member/partner-in-care will be asked to perform hand hygiene and will be given a mask which is to be worn for the entire duration of the visit.  You may wear your own mask so long as it covers your mouth and nose.

The family member/partner-in-care must remain in the designated visiting area until the end of the visit when they are ready to exit the hospital. 

How can I schedule an appointment to visit my loved one on an inpatient unit?

All essential visits must be scheduled in advance by speaking to a member of the healthcare team on the unit.  Before booking your first visit, staff will outline key information with you over the phone to help you prepare for your scheduled essential visit.  Please do not schedule a visit if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days.

What do I need to know about planning an outdoor visit?

For outdoor visits, the following protocols should be adhered to:
  • The designated visitor must pass screening
  • The patient should meet only the designated visitor and no other visitors
  • Please practice physical distancing at all times
  • Wear masks at all times, and there is no eating/drinking permitted
  • Hand Hygiene should be performed when exiting and re-entering the hospital
  • It is preferred that a member of the care team bring the patient down for the outdoor visit

Where can I find more information on Compassionate entry for travelers and limited release from quarantine?

For more information, please visit the Canadian Government's Compassionate Entry Limited Release from Quarantine page.

Can families/partners‐in‐care bring in food for admitted patients?

Yes.  Food (prepared at home or from a food service establishment) can be brought in, aligned with the Provision of Home Prepared food for Patients During Visitor Restrictions for Covid‐19 guidelines.   

Can food be delivered to the hospital for admitted patients?

Yes.  Food deliveries (i.e. Skip the dishes, etc.) may be ordered for admitted patients and must be coordinated in advance, by speaking with your loved one’s care team on the unit. 

Do delivery food/drink containers or bags need to be wiped down before they are given to the patient?

No.  Delivery food/drink containers do not need to be wiped down.  Those who handle the delivery bag/containers should practice proper hand hygiene before and after handling.

Are visitors allowed to eat while in the hospital?

Visitors are not permitted to eat while in hospital.  Visitors may purchase food at the food court and eat it outside of the hospital, or in their vehicles. 

Are outpatients allowed to eat while in hospital?

In very specific circumstances (i.e. when the patient will be at the hospital for an extended period for treatment or tests), the care team can coordinate with the outpatient for nutritional intake while onsite. 

Are families/partners‐in‐care able to go in/out of the kitchenette?

No.  Families/partners‐in‐care are not permitted in the kitchenettes.  All families/partners‐in‐care should remain in the patient’s room/designated visiting area for the duration of their visit and use the call bell if they require assistance from a member of the care team.  

For any other questions, please speak with a member of the health care team. 
Thank you for your patience and support in keeping everyone safe.

What you can do to keep yourself and others safe

 Family Presence During COVID-19

Everyone that enters the hospital will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, asked to perform hand hygiene, and will be provided with a mask. Please ensure to practice physical distancing during your visit.

In addition, to assist any family and friends looking to further connect with their loved one, Lakeridge Health is supporting and encouraging virtual and telephone calls as staying connected is an important part of healing. We offer a free messaging service called Email a Patient where you can send a personalized electronic message that will be printed and read to your loved one.

Screening when Entering

For those able to visit within the visitor protocols, we are screening at all entrances of Lakeridge Health hospitals to ensure everyone entering is well and free of illness. This includes all of the Lakeridge Health team. Anyone who is unwell will not be allowed to enter the hospital as ultimately this protects everyone.

Other Visitor-Related Information

Where to Stay

The Region of Durham maintains a list of local accommodations for you to choose from.

What to do in an Emergency

If there is an emergency at one of our hospital sites, we will make an overhead announcement. Please stay calm and follow the instructions of our staff.

Fire Safety

If there is a fire at one of our hospital sites, you will hear an overhead announcement for "code red". Please stay calm and follow the instructions of our staff. Do not use the elevators or try to leave on your own, as fire doors will be closed.

All of our staff receive mandatory fire-safety training and participate in fire drills regularly.

We're a Smoke-Free Environment

In compliance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and Electronic Cigarettes Act and Regulations, Lakeridge Health prohibits the use of any form of smoking or the use/vaping of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) on any of its properties.