Visiting Someone in Hospital

Updated: November, 2021

In accordance with the Provincial Acute Visitors Policy, to enter any Island Health hospital, visitors are now required to show proof of vaccination. Exceptions will apply for: 

  • Children under 12 years
  • Visitors with approved medical exemption documentation
  • Unvaccinated visitors who meet specific care setting criteria 

See our visitor brochure for exception guideline details.

General Information

  • All patients are eligible for up to two vaccinated visitors at a time.
  • Emergency rooms and intensive care units may be limited to one visitor at a time depending on space and circumstance in the care environment.
  • All visitors (ages 5 and older) must wear a medical-grade mask in all areas of the hospital and not remove it to eat/drink when at the patient bedside. 
  • All visitors must clean/sanitize their hands before, during and after visiting.
  • Visitors must respect personal space of others within the facility. 

*Find information about visiting a Long-Term Care or Assisted Living Facility.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I expect when I arrive at an Island Health facility?

Try to arrive a little early for any pre-booked appointments or visits, and allow additional time to enter the facility.

  • There are signs posted at each facility indicating entrance points. For most sites, the Main Entrance is likely to be the best entrance point. 
  • Ambassadors are at each designated entrance point to screen all individuals entering the facility. When you arrive:
    • Be prepared to show proof of vaccination status
    • Be prepared to answer mandatory screening questions
    • Sanitize your hands 
    • Change your mask to a medical-grade mask (provided to you)
    • Please respect the personal space of others within the facility
    • As always – please stay home if you are feeling unwell
What safety measures should I be aware of when I visit?

Before Your Visit 
Talk to the primary nurse or unit clerk before going into the patient’s room to let them know you are there and see if there are any instructions.
 

During Your Visit with Your Loved One

  • Follow proper infection prevention precautions that the health care staff tells you to follow. 
  • Do not touch your face. 
  • Respect personal space.
  • Before you leave the patient’s room, wash your hands with soap and water. Make sure to wash all hand surfaces and wrists for 20 seconds. If you cannot wash your hands with soap and water, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
My loved one is palliative (receiving end-of-life care). Will I be able to visit?

More than two visitors may be allowed at one time in palliative and end-of-life care settings. Special considerations can be accommodated based on the unique care needs of the patient and will be coordinated by the care team.

How many support people are allowed to support a patient in labour/delivery/NICU?

More than two visitors may be allowed at one time for labour and delivery and pediatric care. The care team will consult with family members to support special circumstances. 

Can I phone the hospital and speak to my loved one who is admitted?

Yes. Units will accommodate phone calls as much as possible. 

If your loved one has their own personal cell phone with them, that is probably the best way to reach them.

I am worried that I have COVID-19. Should I come to the hospital?

To keep COVID from spreading in our healthcare facilities, we want to ensure that only patients who experience severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing, receive hospital care. 

  • Most Covid-19 infections can be managed at home and will not require hospitalization. 
  • If you or a loved one is experiencing severe symptoms, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department. 
  • By keeping people at home and under self-isolation, we are reserving our limited critical care resources for those who truly require life-saving medical care. 
  • Testing sites remain open and most test results will be returned within 24-hours. 
Can I bring my loved one their personal belongings or food? 

When arranging your visit with the unit, please let them know what you intend to bring – and only bring essential items (e.g., hearing aids, glasses, cell phone/charger) or items required for care. 

  • All non-essential items, such as flowers, gifts, blankets, food and other personal items are not permitted unless the unit leader approves them as essential to the care of the patient. 
What happens if I need to drop off and/or pick up someone who has a scheduled appointment?

When you get to the facility, please check-in with the Ambassador, who will help you.