COVID-19 Updates
IWK & COVID-19: Latest Updates
Hotline: 1-902-233-3495
IWK

1.902.470.8888

1.888.470.5888

Emergency: 911
Telecare: 811
Poison: 1-800-565-8161
5850/5980 University Ave., Halifax, NS B3K 6R8

Patient + Visitor Restrictions

Updated: August 23, 2021 / 05:50 PM

Your safety is our biggest priority

 

We are delighted that Nova Scotia Public Health pandemic measures are changing and reopening across the province has begun. At IWK Health because of the patients and families we serve, we continue to require enhanced measures even as the provincial restrictions are eased.

These ongoing measures remain in place to ensure safety for all as we continue to navigate reopening. They include pre-screening before your appointment or admission, door screening on arrival, masking when you come on site, testing when you’re admitted, and limits on the number of support persons who can come with you. 

If you have questions before your arrival about your appointment or admission, you may contact your health care team directly, or you can call the IWK COVID hotline at 1-902-233-3495.

 

Latest support person restrictions

 

Based on improving epidemiology and increasing immunization against COVID-19 in NS, inpatients can now designate a total of four consistent Family/Primary Support Person(s) or Family Caregivers with a maximum of two persons present at the same time. This change applies to the following care areas:

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Birth Unit (Doula would be considered a support person)
  • Prenatal Special Care Unit
  • Adult Surgery Unit
  • Family Newborn Care Unit
  • Pediatric Inpatient Units (except Pandemic Response Unit)
  • All Mental Health & Addictions Inpatient Units

Additionally, two designated support people are now permitted in Early Labour and Assessment Unit.

There are differences in the physical layout where care is being provided. These differences impact our ability to practice appropriate physical distancing therefore we have taken a location-by-location approach to support person restrictions.

 

Emergency Department
Emergency Department
1
One support person
Pregnant, in Labour, Delivering or Postpartum
Early Labor and Assessment Unit
2
Two support people
Obstetrical Day Unit
1
One support person
Fetal Assessment and Treatment Centre
1
One support person
Perinatal Centre
1
One support person
Birth Unit
2
Four support people with a maximum of two present at the same time (Doula is considered one support person)
Prenatal Special Care Unit
2
Four support people with a maximum of two present at the same time
Family Newborn Care Unit
2
Four support people with a maximum of two present at the same time
Obstetrical Ultrasound
1
One support person
Postpartum Clinic
1
Parent, baby + 1 support person
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
2
Four support people with a maximum of two present at the same time
Perinatal Follow Up Clinic
Perinatal Follow Up Clinic
1
One support person
Pediatric Inpatients
(for Pandemic Response Unit see category below)
Pediatric Inpatients
2
Four support people with a maximum of two present at the same time
Pandemic Response Unit
Pandemic Response Unit
1
One support person
Adult Surgery Inpatients
Adult Surgery Inpatients
2
Four support people with a maximum of two present at the same time
Women's/Adult Ambulatory Clinics
Breast Health Clinic - New Diagnosis
1
One support person
Breast Health Clinic - Annual Recheck
1
One support person
Early Pregnancy Complication Clinic
1
One support person
Women’s/Adult OR / Pre-Admission Clinic
Women’s/Adult OR / Pre-Admission Clinic
1
One support person
Mental Health & Addictions
Ambulatory Clinics
1
One support person (exception for interventions requiring more)
INPATIENT UNITS & DAY TREATMENT SERVICES
Adolescent Intensive Services
2
Four support people with a maximum of two present at the same time
Children’s Intensive Services
2
Four support people with a maximum of two present at the same time
Secure Care Unit
2
Four support people with a maximum of two present at the same time
Garron Centre
2
Four support people with a maximum of two present at the same time
Pediatric Day Surgery Appointments
Pediatric Day Surgery Appointments
2
Two support people
Pediatric Outpatient (Ambulatory) Appointments
Pediatric Outpatient (Ambulatory) Appointments
1
One support person
Adult Outpatient (Ambulatory) Appointments
(for pregnant, in labour, delivering or postpartum see category above)
Women’s Ambulatory Clinics
1
One support person
Perioperative Clinic
1
One support person
Breast Imaging/Screening
Breast Imaging (IWK 6th floor)
1
One support person
Breast Biopsy (IWK 6th floor)
1
One support person
Breast Screening (Halifax Shopping Center, Dartmouth and Cobequid)
1
One support person
Diagnostic Imaging
Pediatrics
1
One support person
Adult Ultrasound
1
One support person
Obstetric Ultrasound
1
One support person
All other adult procedures (includes MRI, Nuclear Medicine and Bone Density)
1
One support person
Blood Collection Lab
Pediatric Patients
1
One support person
Adult Patients
1
One support person
Maritime Medical Genetics
Pediatric Patients
1
One support person
Adult Patients
1
One support person

 

We understand the complexity involved in implementing these changes and that some areas may have difficulty accommodating additional support people due to the need to maintain physical distancing requirements. In these cases, care teams will work with families to discuss options based on care needs. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make additional changes as required.

 

Important reminders for all patients and support people:

  • A masking policy and other safety measures are in place.
  • The no visitor policy and support person restrictions are still in effect.
  • Screening of patients and support people at entrances into the building continues. To streamline patient flow we are asking that patients enter through designated entry points. Signage is in place. The assessment centre is not for building entry screening.
  • Patients are asked to report directly to their clinic or care area and not wander through the building or linger.
  • Children under the age of 12 are not considered a support person and should not be coming onsite unless they are patients themselves. Please make childcare arrangements for siblings and children not receiving care. Infants (12 months and younger) who are breastfeeding will be supported to come to the health centre during outpatient appointments and are allowed to remain with their mothers in the event of overnight admission.
  • We understand that screening can lead to delays but it is critically important and we ask for patience. At the current time the average screening time is 10 minutes. However, this can be variable and has the potential to increase with a continuing resumption of service. Allow 15-20 minutes for door screening but please do not arrive too early as physical distancing must be maintained in waiting areas.
  • A maximum of two people, or one family/support person unit, will be permitted on elevators. For inpatients who are permitted to have two support people present, all three persons of the same “bubble” are permitted in the same elevator.
  • The Emergency Department remains open and this entrance should only be used for patients visiting Emergency.

 

The IWK encourages the public to continue to do the things that keep themselves and their families healthy and well. This includes seeking support for time-sensitive care and for any concerning symptoms or issues that may arise.

Please continue to have your child vaccinated according to schedule.

Please continue to attend well-child visits or contact your primary care provider or pediatrician if there are concerns about things like development, feeding or growth.

If your child has acute or chronic health issues and there are new or worsening symptoms or issues, there are a number of options: 

  • Please contact your primary care provider, pediatrician or specialist providing care for your child to arrange virtual or if needed, onsite care.
  • The IWK Emergency Department is open 24/7 should you need to bring your child in for emergency care. Extra precautions have been taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. Patients are screened upon arrival and may be asked to wear a mask. Patients with possible infections are separated from those coming to the Emergency Department for other reasons. Strict infection prevention and control measures are in place to keep patients and families safe.
     

The Mental Health & Addicitions program is still open and here for you during the COVID-19 pandemic.