To keep its patients and healthcare workers safe, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s (RVH) will require all visitors to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 starting November 15. This includes RVH’s main campus and all offsite locations.

Visitors, designated essential caregivers and anyone accompanying a patient to an appointment will be required to provide proof of vaccination demonstrating 14 days have passed since their second dose, as well as photo identification, or provide documentation they have been granted a provincially recognized medical exemption from a physician. Visitors must also wear appropriate personal protective equipment as directed by RVH and must only go directly to and from the patient room.

“RVH has a duty to do everything possible to protect our patients and the people who care for them while ensuring we are able to continue to provide the services our communities depend on. Precautions include strict adherence to safety protocols, universal mask-wearing and mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers and, now, visitors,” says Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO. “As a regional health centre, RVH cares for acutely ill, vulnerable patients and while we understand the importance of visitors and essential care providers, we must be able to say to our patients, ‘you can be confident RVH has done everything possible to protect you from COVID-19’. Our patients and their families expect nothing less.”

If a visitor or essential care provider does not have proof of vaccination or a valid exemption, or there is not time to produce the required proof, the visitor or designated essential caregiver may still enter the health centre with explicit approval from the care team under the following exceptions:

  • Patient is a child
  • Patient is palliative/end of life
  • Patient is in labour
  • Patient is experiencing a life altering or critical illness as identified by the clinical team
  • Patient requires a support person due to underlying condition

“We know the important role visitors play in a patient’s recovery and comfort and RVH wants to accommodate them wherever we can, however, patient safety must be our highest priority,” says Nancy Savage, executive vice president, Patient and Family Experience and chief nursing executive. “If the visitor or designated essential caregiver does not fall under the exceptions and they are not able to provide proof of vaccination status or documented proof of medical exemption, we do have an appeal process. We will work closely with the patient and their designated visitors for the best possible outcome.”

It’s important to note, vaccination is not a condition of receiving care at RVH.

RVH is currently in Step 3 of its visitation policy. Inpatients are allowed one visitor per day for one hour, seven days a week. Visits must be pre-scheduled by calling the inpatient unit no later than 6 a.m. on the day of visitation and visits are permitted between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Visits on the Child and Youth Mental Health inpatient unit are seven days a week between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Outpatients, including day surgery, endoscopy and cancer patients, may have one support person with them if assistance is required. Emergency Department patients are allowed one designated visitor, at the discretion of the care team depending on availability of space and distancing

Ontario residents can download their proof of vaccination in a PDF via the provincial COVID-19 website.