Care Partners Vaccine Guidelines: FAQ for Admitted Patients

Grand River Hospital is asking Care Partners that wish to visit patients in hospital to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Patients and Care Partners can discuss an exemption to this guideline with the manager of your care area.

Many of our patients are vulnerable. Making this change will limit the opportunity of exposure in our buildings and support our focus protecting patients, staff and our community from COVID-19.

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to support you. If you have a question that is not answered here, please let a member of your care team know.

Why are you making this change?

Many of our patients are vulnerable. We are asking our staff to be vaccinated, and asking care partners to do the same will limit the opportunity of exposure in our buildings and support our focus on protecting staff, patients and our community from COVID-19.

Will care partners have to show ID and proof of vaccination?

Care partners will be required to show their proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, or have an approved exemption and accompanying government-issued ID to be able to visit in hospital.

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 care partners need to show proof of vaccination and ID each time they visit the hospital?

Yes, proof of vaccination and ID is required each time a care partner arrives to visit. 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.

My care partner doesn’t plan to get vaccinated, does this mean they can’t visit me?

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 you are receiving care.

Can care partners 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.

My care partner is not vaccinated but have been approved to visit as an exception. Why do they need someone to accompany them when they 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 children who are 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 those in this age group.

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

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

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.

If care partners only have one dose of the vaccine, will they be allowed in?

No, unless they have been 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 speak with your care team, or contact our patient relations team at patient.feedback@grhosp.on.ca or 519-749-4300, ext. 2966.

How can my care partner request an exception to this process?

If your care partner would like to be considered as an exception, they can call the hospital at 519-749-4300, ext. 0 and ask to be connected to the manager of the program where you are 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.

If my care partner isn’t fully vaccinated, what are our options?

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

Alternatively, you can identify another care partner to support your care provided they are fully vaccinated.

Care partners can find a list of clinics that are providing the vaccine and book their appointment at regionofwaterloo.ca