Local hospitals to require proof of COVID-19 vaccine from care partners

Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital have implemented a vaccine policy for care partners.

Starting Nov. 9, care partners visiting or accompanying a patient will need to provide proof of full immunization against COVID-19, along with a government photo ID.

Hospital officials say care partners are members of a patient’s family or a close-friend, someone who a patient determines is an important contact as they seek care.

“Care partners are an integral part of a patient’s journey,” said Bonnie Camm, executive vice president of clinical services at Grand River Hospital, in a press release.

“We want to enable that level of support, while ensuring that we incorporate this additional measure to protect the health and wellness of patients, staff and our community.”

During the pandemic visitors to both hospitals have been banned or heavily restricted.

Since May, those receiving in-patient care have been able to have two people deemed “care partners”. Currently, a patient is only allowed one care partner visit a day.

With the new immunization policy, patients can have five care partners. Starting on Nov. 9, each patient will be allowed two care partner visits a day.

“It is our responsibility as healthcare professionals to balance the wellbeing of our patients with the health and safety of everyone and this policy allows us to do that,” added Lee Fairclough, president, St. Mary’s General Hospital in separate release.

“Mandatory vaccinations within the hospital puts one more layer of protection around everyone so that Care Partners, physicians, staff and volunteers can work together to support the patient, safely”

Both hospitals say this is an additional step to ensure the health and safety of patients and their staff, while expanding access for care partners to visit loved ones.

There will be few exceptions to this guidance.

“No person will be denied care based on their vaccination status—that does not change—nor does the fact that regardless of vaccination status, everyone, who is able to, must continue to wear the appropriate PPE while onsite. We remain committed to supporting our patients and their Care Partners as we work towards the same goal of a successful, safe healing journey for everyone. This is one more step that we are taking to protect everyone; that has and will always be our first priority,” said Fairclough.

Officials at Cambridge Memorial Hospital and Guelph General Hospital said they are currently discussing this matter, and that no decision has been made yet.