courtesy of Georgian Bay General Hospital
As an important safety measure to protect patients and staff, Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) is implementing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for visitors, effective November 15, 2021. Visitors, including those accompanying a patient to an appointment, at the hospital will be required to show proof of immunization at the main and Emergency department entrances prior to being permitted entry.
“Throughout the pandemic, GBGH has taken measures to ensure the safety of patients and our team of staff and credentialed staff,” says Gail Hunt, president and CEO, GBGH. “We have asked our team members to be vaccinated for the protection of patients and colleagues. The next progression to reducing risk is to ask that visitors be held to a similar standard. Visitors play an important role in the patients’ experience, so it’s important we continue encouraging visitation in the safest way possible.”
There will be limited exceptions to the policy allowing visitation (with approval of the care team). These could include exemptions for patients who are:
- In childbirth
- Experiencing a severe trauma or critical illness
- Requiring an essential caregiver (due to language, mobility, cognitive ability, etc.)
Limited exemptions will also apply to those who provide documentation of a provincially-recognized medical exemption from a physician.
As per standard policy throughout the pandemic, visitors must continue to wear appropriate personal protective equipment, as directed by GBGH and regardless of being fully vaccinated. GBGH also asks visitors only travel directly to and from the patient’s room.
Patients do not have to show proof of immunization in order to receive care at the hospital.
This decision to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination among visitors was made after consultation with other Central Region hospitals and GBGH’s Patient & Family Advisory Council (PFAC).
“As a representative of patients and families, I commend hospitals for making this decision in the interest of patient safety,” says Ray Nason, member of GBGH’s PFAC. “When I’ve had family in the hospital, or been a patient myself, I want to be reassured that the hospital is doing everything it can to guarantee safety. Requiring visitors to be vaccinated provides an extra layer of assurance to patients and families that hospitals are making their safety – and the safety of their family members – a top priority.”