Here's what you need to know about visiting rules at N.S. hospitals

·2 min read

Visitor restrictions are in place at all Nova Scotia Health hospitals, but they aren't the same everywhere.

If you have a loved one in hospital and are wondering if you can visit, here's what you need to know.

Tightened restrictions

Hospitals in the Halifax area and West Hants, as well as Annapolis and Kings counties, are no longer allowing hospital visits.

However, up to two people will still be allowed in to support patients at the end of life, in palliative care, women in labour, and children under 18 who are admitted.

One designated support person is allowed for hospital in-patients, children in outpatients and those who have physical, intellectual, cognitive and emotional conditions. People coming for an early labour assessment can also bring one person with them.

People who live in the Halifax area and West Hants, as well as Annapolis and Kings counties, are not allowed to visit patients or attend appointments with patients in hospitals outside of these communities.

These restrictions come into effect on Dec. 18. The central health zone was already under similar restrictions, but these changes allow a support person for all hospital in-patients.

Regular restrictions

In all other parts of the province, regular COVID-19 restrictions allowing two support people for all hospital in-patients are in place.

Regular restrictions also allow one support person for patients arriving for emergency, appointments and procedures. General visitation is not permitted.

These are in place in the eastern zone (Cape Breton, Antigonish and Guysborough counties), the northern zone (Municipality of East Hants, Colchester, Cumberland and Pictou counties), and some parts of the western zone (Digby, Shelburne, Yarmouth, Lunenburg and Queens counties).

Additional family members may be allowed for patients approaching end of life.

Some facilities may not be able to accommodate support people due to size and the need to maintain physical distancing. In these cases, care teams at the facility will work with families to discuss possible options.

Information for caregivers, support people

Family members, support people and designated caregivers will be screened upon entering the facility. Anyone who has travelled, been to an exposure site or is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to enter.

Masks are mandatory and must be worn at all times. Visitors must wash their hands entering and exiting a patient's room.

Six feet of distance must be maintained from staff and anyone in the room other than the loved one.

A visitor must go directly to and from the patient's room and refrain from using the patient's washroom or sharing anything like a device or a book.

More information can be found at the NSHA website.