Due to the COVID‑19 situation in Québec at this time, guidelines for hospital visits by informal caregivers and other people are presented below.

According to the guidelines, the following people are not allowed to visit a loved one:

  • a person who has been diagnosed with COVID‑19 in the last 10 days and who does not meet the other criteria for ending self-isolation;
  • a person who has symptoms consistent with COVID‑19;
  • a person who has been advised to self-isolate because they are suspected of being infected, because they are waiting to get tested or for a test result or because they have symptoms consistent with COVID‑19;
  • a person who has been instructed to self-isolate because they have returned from travel outside Canada.

During the curfew in effect from January 9 to February 8, 2021, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., informal caregivers and visitors will have to adjust their visits to their loved ones accordingly. The following guidelines must be followed:

  • Informal caregivers and visitors must leave the hospital no later than 7:30 p.m. so that they can get home by 8 p.m.;
  • All informal caregivers must comply with the curfew. The only exceptions allowed are to:
    • accompany a person during childbirth;
    • be with a loved one in a critical situation;
    • be with a loved one in a situation where death is imminent, based on the judgment of the health care team.
  • Restrictions on the number of informal caregivers or visitors allowed based on the current regional alert level continue to apply.

Informal caregivers and visitors

An informal caregiver is someone who, on a continuous or occasional basis, provides support to a loved one who has a temporary or permanent disability and with whom they share an emotional bond, whether or not they are family. Support is provided on a non professional, informal basis and regardless of the loved one’s age, living environment or the nature of their disability, whether physical, psychological, psychosocial or otherwise. Support can take a variety of forms, such as personal care assistance, emotional support or help with organizing care.

A visitor is someone who wants to visit someone in hospital, who is not a close or immediate family member and who does not fall within the definition of an informal caregiver. This may be someone the person in hospital knows and has contact with from time to time that is not essential to their physical and psychological well-being. It may also be someone the person in hospital does not know.

Close and immediate family members, even if they are not informal caregivers, must be able to visit the hospital where their loved one is hospitalized.

More restrictive higher alert level guidelines may apply to ensure more vulnerable patients are protected (e.g., immunosuppressed patients).

More than one informal caregiver may provide significant support and assistance to the same person in a hospital centre. Restrictions may be eased for highly vulnerable people who are hospitalized, such as older people or people with disabilities.

Visits by volunteers are allowed and are considered equivalent to visits by informal caregivers.

Hospital visits allowed based on the alert level

Level 1 – Vigilance (green zone)

Visits allowed

1 to 2 people at a time

Level 2 – Early Warning (yellow zone)

Informal caregivers only*

1 to 2 informal caregivers at a time

Level 3 – Alert (orange zone)

Informal caregivers only*

1 informal caregiver at a time, maximum 2 per day: a maximum of 3 different informal caregivers who can take turns must be identified

Level 4 – Maximum Alert (red zone)

Informal caregivers only*

Maximum 1 informal caregiver per day: a maximum of 2 different informal caregivers who can take turns must be identified

* In critical situations or for hospital stays of more than 7 days, minors are allowed to visit their parent. Children age 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult when they visit.

Some sectors have special guidelines; see the section Special conditions for certain sectors.

Special conditions for certain sectors

Emergency rooms

One informal caregiver is allowed to accompany a patient during a visit to an emergency room, unless other people are required to be present for medical reasons or for the announcement of bad news; this applies regardless of the regional alert level.

Visitors may be temporarily banned during busier times.

Cancer sector

Visits by informal caregivers are restricted, unless required due to the patient's condition. At the clinical team’s discretion, an informal caregiver may be allowed to be present during visits where results or important elements related to the next steps in the patient's clinical care are discussed.

Informal caregivers are not allowed in outpatient bone marrow transplantation and cell therapy clinics. For inpatient bone marrow transplantation and cell therapy inpatient, consult alert level 4 on the list Hospital visits allowed based on the alert level.

Access to cancer centres is restricted to patients undergoing treatment and to staff, doctors and other professionals who work at the cancer centre

In pediatric oncology, as a general rule, it is recommended that an informal caregiver be present at the bedside of the hospitalized child and that only one informal caregiver accompany the child during visits to the hematology-oncology day centre. Note that the parent of a hospitalized child is not considered a visitor or informal caregiver.

Obstetrical, neonatal and pediatric care

Obstetrical care

All reasonable measures must be taken to enable an accompanying person to attend the delivery if they do not have symptoms of COVID‑19. However, for pregnant women who have COVID‑19, the second parent or an accompanying person who has COVID‑19 may be allowed to be present if they only travel to the hospital at the same time as the pregnant woman (e.g., when they arrive) and wear a mask. Women are asked to contact their birthing centre to find out how the facility operates.

Neonatal care

All reasonable measures must be taken to enable parents to visit if they do not have symptoms of COVID‑19. Parents who have COVID‑19 may not visit, except in exceptional circumstances.

Pediatric care

All reasonable measures must be taken to enable parents to visit if they do not have symptoms of COVID‑19. However, for children who have COVID‑19, parents who have COVID‑19 may be allowed to be present if they only travel to the hospital at the same time as the child (e.g., when they arrive) and wear a mask.

Visits by regional alert level for obstetrical, neonatal and pediatric care

Presence of the 2nd parent or a significant person (1st accompanying person) - Alert level 1

Prenatal

Allowed

Per natal (including Cesarean section operating theatre)

Allowed

Postnatal

Allowed

Neonatology

Allowed

Pediatrics — Parents

Allowed

Presence of the 2nd parent or a significant person (1st accompanying person) - Alert level 2

Prenatal

Allowed

Per natal (including Cesarean section operating theatre)

Allowed

Postnatal

Allowed

Neonatology

Allowed

Pediatrics — Parents

Allowed

Presence of the 2nd parent or a significant person (1st accompanying person) - Alert level 3

Prenatal

Allowed

Per natal (including Cesarean section operating theatre)

Allowed

Postnatal

Allowed

Neonatology

1 parent at a time; however, the decision as to whether or not both parents may visit at the same time should be based on the child’s clinical situation.

Pediatrics — Parents

1 parent at a time; however, the decision as to whether or not both parents may visit at the same time should be based on the child’s clinical situation.

Presence of the 2nd parent or a significant person (1st accompanying person) - Alert level 4

Prenatal

Allowed

Per natal (including Cesarean section operating theatre)

Allowed

Postnatal

Allowed

Neonatology

1 parent at a time; however, the decision as to whether or not both parents may visit at the same time should be based on the child’s clinical situation.

Pediatrics — Parents

1 parent at a time; however, the decision as to whether or not both parents may visit at the same time should be based on the child’s clinical situation.

Presence of a birth attendant or a significant person (2nd accompanying person) - Alert level 1

Prenatal

2nd accompanying person not allowed

Per natal

Allowed (except in operating theatre)

Postnatal

Allowed

Presence of a birth attendant or a significant person (2nd accompanying person) - Alert level 2

Prenatal

2nd accompanying person not allowed

Per natal

Allowed (except in operating theatre)

Postnatal

Allowed

Presence of a birth attendant or a significant person (2nd accompanying person) - Alert level 3

Prenatal

2nd accompanying person not allowed

Per natal

Birth attendant allowed (except in operating theatre). No one else allowed.

Postnatal

Allowed. Telephone/video support may be considered.

Presence of a birth attendant or a significant person (2nd accompanying person) - Alert level 4

Prenatal

2nd accompanying person not allowed

Per natal

2nd accompanying person not allowed

Postnatal

2nd accompanying person not allowed

Visitors, siblings and extended family – Level 1

Postnatal

Allowed except children under the age of 18 and no more than 2 people at the same time (including the 2nd parent or accompanying person).

Neonatology

Allowed except children under the age of 18 and no more than 2 people at the same time (including the 2nd parent or accompanying person).

Pediatrics

Allowed except children under the age of 18 and no more than 2 people at the same time (including the 2nd parent or accompanying person).

Visitors, siblings and extended family – Level 2

Postnatal

Allowed except children under the age of 18 and no more than 2 people at the same time (including the 2nd parent or accompanying person).

Neonatology

Allowed except children under the age of 18 and no more than 2 people at the same time (including the 2nd parent or accompanying person).

Pediatrics

Allowed except children under the age of 18 and no more than 2 people at the same time (including the 2nd parent or accompanying person).

Visitors, siblings and extended family – Level 3

Postnatal

Not allowed

Neonatology

Not allowed

Pediatrics

Not allowed

Visitors, siblings and extended family – Level 4

Postnatal

Not allowed

Neonatology

Not allowed

Pediatrics

Not allowed

Medical imaging

Informal caregivers are allowed to be present, but only in the following cases:

  • during an obstetric ultrasound;
  • during an examination of a child;
  • for people with decreased autonomy;
  • for people with mental disorders;
  • for people with cancer or who are under investigation for cancer.

The informal caregiver will be given a triage questionnaire on risk factors for COVID‑19.