DRDH to Gradually Resume Visiting for ALC Patients and Family Caregivers


At the Deep River and District Hospital (DRDH), we recognize that patients have been missing their loved ones since visiting restrictions were put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. Hospitals in the Champlain Region welcome the move by the province to gradually resume visitation in the safest way possible, as we know that visits from family and caregivers contribute greatly to a patient’s quality of life and wellbeing while in hospital.

We are working with hospitals across the region to welcome more visitors back, focusing on balancing the safety of patients, staff and visitors with the wellbeing of patients. With the gradual resumption of visitation, along with the forthcoming resumption of certain services, things will not go back to the way they were before. The organization will look and feel different as strict public health measures are in place to ensure that our patients, residents, and staff members are safe.

For this first phase of visiting, we will be gradually welcoming back visitors classified as “family caregivers or care partners”, as well as visitors for Alternate Level of Care (ALC) patients.

Family caregivers or care partners include, but are not limited to, those who provide:

  • Assistance with meals, mobility and personal care
  • Communication assistance for patients with hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual or memory impairments
  • Assistance as the designated representative for patients with disabilities
  • Emotional support
  • Supported decision making

For medical inpatients, family caregivers or care partners can include a loved one, a friend, a religious or spiritual care provider, or other support person of the patient’s choosing. Beginning later this week, one designated family caregiver or care partner per patient will be permitted to visit for the purpose of providing care. Schedules for family caregivers or care partners will be developed based on patient need, and in consultation with nursing staff. For those patients already in hospital, staff will work with the patient and their family to designate a family caregiver or care partner and incorporate them into the care team, if applicable. Family caregivers or care partners will be identified as required during the admission process for new patients moving forward.

ALC patients are those who are awaiting transition to an alternate care setting, such as Long-Term Care. Beginning on June 25, 2020, one visit per week per ALC patient may be coordinated.

Both family caregivers or care partners and those visiting ALC patients will be required to pass active screening every time they visit, must attest that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous 2 weeks and subsequently not tested positive. The Deep River and District Hospital is not responsible for providing testing. Testing is available through the Renfrew County Virtual Triage and Assessment Centre by calling 1-844-727-6404. Visitors must also comply with infection prevention and control protocols, which include bringing and wearing a face covering during visits.

Visits for ALC patients will take place in designated outdoor spaces where physical distancing of 2 meters must be maintained at all times. To accommodate visits, new outdoor spaces have been created.

“We have been doing all we can to ensure the safety of those in our care, and we recognize that visitor restrictions have been tough on our patients and their family members,” said Janna Hotson, Vice President of Clinical Services. “The gradual approach to resuming visits for those hospital patients most impacted by the visiting restrictions supports ongoing safety of staff and patients, while also supporting patients to be closer to their loved ones”. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, only those visitors classified as “essential” were allowed to visit on compassionate grounds.

If you are looking to coordinate a visit at the Deep River and District Hospital, please email assistance@drdh.org or call 613-584-3333 x 7402 to make arrangements.

DRDH will continue to ensure that families and loved ones can remain connected with patients by helping to facilitate other forms of communication such as “virtual” visits.

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, direction on visits may be continually updated keeping the safety and wellbeing of patient, residents, and staff at the forefront. At this time, ‘general’ visitation remains restricted at the Deep River and District Hospital.