Care Partners and COVID-19 Vaccine: FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Updated November 8 at 1:30 pm

Grand River Hospital requires care partners to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, along with government issued ID, or to have an approved exemption to this guideline to be able to visit or accompany a patient in hospital. There will be few exceptions to this process, determined on a case by case basis with the manager of the area that is providing care.

Many of our patients are immunocompromised. In addition to mandating vaccines for our staff, making this change will limit the opportunity of exposure in our buildings and support our focus of protecting patients, staff and our community from COVID-19.

Thank you for helping us continue to ensure the health and safety of our patients, staff and the community.

Here are some frequently asked questions that may help.

Why are you making this change?

Many of our patients are immunocompromised. In addition to mandating vaccines for our staff, making this change will limit the opportunity of exposure in our buildings and support our focus on protecting staff, patients and our community from COVID-19. This aligns with our staff vaccine policy, both are extremely important to protect our patients and team members.

Will I have to show my ID and proof of vaccination?

Yes, all care partners will be required to show proof of vaccination and accompanying government-issued ID.

What are acceptable pieces of ID?

Acceptable forms of identification must include name and date of birth:

  • Birth certificate.
  • Citizenship card.
  • Driver’s licence.
  • Government (Ontario or other) issued identification card, including health card.
  • Indian status card /Indigenous membership card.
  • Passport.
  • Permanent resident card.

Will I need to show proof of vaccination and ID each time I visit the hospital?

Yes, proof of vaccination and ID is required each time you visit the hospital. This ensures we can accurately monitor our care partner vaccine guideline compliance as we continue to focus on protecting our patients, staff and the community.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Vaccine locations are available at regionofwaterloo.ca. You can also call your local pharmacy to book an appointment. If you have a smartphone, simply scan the below QR code below to be brought to the web page:

How can I download my proof of vaccination?

You can download or print your personal vaccination QR code at ontario.ca/proofofvaccination. If you have a smartphone, simply scan the below QR code below to be brought to the web page. You will need to have your valid Ontario Health Card with you to access your vaccine QR code.

Why are you allowing unvaccinated patients come into the hospital if an unvaccinated care partner cannot?

Patients don’t have a choice in coming to the hospital; if they require care, we will provide care, regardless of their vaccination status. However, care partners do not require care and do not need to be in the hospital. We are asking that they be vaccinated as a requirement to access the hospital site.

I don’t plan to get vaccinated, does this mean I can’t visit as a care partner?

There will be exceptions to our care partner vaccination guidance. If you have any questions about your specific situation, please reach out to the manager of the area where your loved one is, or will receive care.

Can I just be tested at the door? Why or why not?

We are focusing on devoting our staff resources to providing and supporting patient care as much as possible. We will not have the resources to offer COVID-19 tests at the entrance.

I am not vaccinated but have been approved to visit as an exception. Why do I need someone to accompany me to my loved one for a visit?

Exposure to others increases the risk of the spread of illness. To limit exposure as much as possible, care partners that are not vaccinated but approved to visit as an exception to the guidance will be – where possible – taken directly to their loved one’s room/designated visit space.

What about my child, who is too young to be vaccinated?

Currently, children under 12 are not eligible to be vaccinated. Our current care partner vaccination guidance will not apply to children in this age group.

If they change the age groups for vaccinations, will my child need to be vaccinated?

As the vaccine is released to additional age groups, we will review the guidance provided and update it if necessary.

I’ve already had COVID and have natural immunity. Why can’t I visit?

In a healthcare setting, we deal with a number of individuals whose immunity levels don’t respond well to the COVID-19 vaccine. Natural immunity is only good for so long. Previously infected, unvaccinated individuals are getting COVID-19 at a higher rate than vaccinated individuals. For more information on vaccine efficacy, we encourage you to watch our virtual vaccine education panel. If you have a smartphone, simply scan the below QR code to be brought to the web page.

Does this guidance only apply to care partners? What about staff and doctors?

As of October 12, all staff, physicians, students, volunteers and contractors working at and with GRH were required to be vaccinated. You can read more about our vaccine mandate on at grhosp.ca/news. If you have a smartphone, simply scan the below QR code to be brought to the web page.

Why do I have to be vaccinated to visit a loved one when paramedics can be unvaccinated?

Each organization is implementing their own guidance around vaccines. For more information about paramedics and EMS services and vaccines, please contact the Region of Waterloo.

I only have one dose of the vaccine, will I be allowed in?

No, unless approved as an exceptional circumstance, care partners must be fully vaccinated.

Who can I contact about this change?

If you would like to provide feedback about the process, please contact our patient relations team at patient.feedback@grhosp.on.ca or 519-749-4300, ext. 2966.

How can I request an exception to this process?

If you would like to be considered as an exception, please call the hospital at 519-749-4300, ext. 0 and ask to be connected to the manager of the program where your loved one is receiving care.

Are any programs exempt from this guidance? For example, an unvaccinated spouse being present for the birth of their child?

We’ve always allowed for exceptions under exceptional circumstances. We know in most cases, these occasions occur at the beginning of life, the end of life, for the most serious of illness and injury, and when a patient isn’t cognitively or developmentally able to advocate for themselves. Exemption decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. To discuss your situation, please speak with the manager where your loved one is, or will receive care.

What are my options if I’m unvaccinated? 

If you would like to be considered as an exception, please call the hospital at 519-749-4300, ext. 0 and ask to be connected to the manager of the program where your loved one is receiving care to discuss your case.

Alternatively, you and/or the patient can identify another care partner to support their care provided they are fully vaccinated.

Find a list of clinics that are providing the vaccine and book your appointment at regionofwaterloo.ca or if you have a smartphone, simply scan the below QR code below to be brought to the web page: