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NSHA to ease restrictions on hospital visits starting Thursday

Nova Scotia is relaxing visitor restrictions at the province's hospitals.
Nova Scotia is relaxing visitor restrictions at the province's hospitals. CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Nova Scotia’s restrictions on visitors to the province’s hospital put in place amid the novel coronavirus crisis will start to be eased back on Thursday.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority announced on Tuesday that the restrictions will be relaxed in order to allow for more opportunities for family members, support persons and caregivers to visit patients.

The province has stressed that general visitation is still not permitted.

Read more: No new coronavirus cases reported in Nova Scotia Tuesday

The NSHA says that starting on Thursday, all hospital inpatients will be allowed to have two support people/family caregivers visit at the same time.

The individuals will be allowed to change daily and appointments are not required.

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If a patient is receiving end-of-life care additional family members may be permitted, although that decision would left to the patient’s medical team.

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Patients arriving at the hospital for appointments or procedures will now be allowed to have one person accompany them.

Pandemic bonus for front-line workers at NSHA may not be paid until October
Pandemic bonus for front-line workers at NSHA may not be paid until October

However, the NSHA does say that in some cases there may be circumstances where space restrictions may not allow physical distancing with other patients.

The changes are being implemented as a result of the province’s “consistently low number of known” coronavirus cases in the province, a release from the NSHA states.

“It is hard for patients to be separated from their loved ones during a hospital stay. This change recognizes the important role of caregivers as essential partners inpatient care and will support the health and mental well-being of our patients,” said Madonna MacDonald, the NSHA’s vice president of health services.

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All support persons/family caregivers must adhere to the following restrictions in order to enter a hospital:

  • Be feeling well at the date and time of the visit
  • Be screened upon entering a hospital
  • Wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times
  • Maintain a physical distance of two metres from staff and other patients
  • Wash their hands when entering and leaving the hospital and when entering and leaving a patient’s room
  • Go directly to and from the patient’s room and remain there for the duration of the visit

Each NSHA site may have to modify the new rules in order to accommodate and adhere to the province’s public health guidelines.