Essential Care Partners & Visitors

Visitor restrictions are in effect at Joseph Brant Hospital

At this time, visitors are not permitted, with the exception of Essential Care Partners (ECPs) or paid support workers.

When coming to the hospital for ambulatory care, diagnostic imaging or emergency care, ECPs are only permitted under exceptional circumstances. 

Joseph Brant Hospital understands the important and invaluable role loved ones play in supporting family members and friends receiving care. We will make every effort to ensure that the needs of patients and families are met while these temporary measures are in place.

We pledge to continue to support family connections by allowing alternative options to in-person visitation.


A visitor is an individual who has a relationship with a patient but is not identified as the patient’s Essential Care Partner (ECP). Their time with the patient is optional and usually brief. The intent of their visit is most often social in nature and not part of the patient’s health care.

At this time, visitors are not permitted at Joseph Brant Hospital.

Essential Care Partners

An Essential Care Partner (ECP) is a support person whose presence is considered essential to the safety and well-being of a patient while they are in the hospital. An ECP is different from a visitor or a paid support worker. Most often, they are family or close friend of the patient who know the patient’s health history, lifestyle and personal values. In pediatrics, an ECP is most often a parent or legal guardian.

When the patient is unable to identify an ECP, the patient’s next of kin or substitute decision maker provides the identification.

At this time, ECPs are permitted at Joseph Brant Hospital.

Why Essential Care Partners are needed

Having a familiar person available to patients to provide different types of support can help improve their health outcomes. Some of the ways ECPs support patient care include:

  • advocating for them
  • supporting their decision making
  • providing emotional and cognitive support
  • being a part of planning their care while in the hospital and once they are discharged
  • helping them use technology to connect with friends or loved ones
  • helping them eat, move around, bathe and communicate as needed
  • participating in patient and family education
  • letting the care team know when they see a change in the patient

Choosing Essential Care Partners

Essential Care Partners (ECPs) are chosen by the patient or their Substitute Decision Makers (SDM). ECPs are not required. Not every patient will want or need an ECP.

Documenting Essential Care Partners

At this time, the patient or Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) can identify up to 5 people as ECPs. But, only one ECP can be onsite at a time.

Once identified, ECPs will be documented  by the health care team/clerk and unit manager. The name of approved ECPs will be shared with screeners and checked on entry to the hospital.

Coming to the hospital

ECPs can not come to the hospital if

  • they have a fever, new or worsening cough, or any other symptoms of respiratory or other illness 
  • they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test, or
  • they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

In those cases, ECPs must inform the unit manager or other person in charge so that the hospital can perform contact tracing.

ECPs must also:

  • self screen for symptoms of COVID-19 and other illnesses the day before or morning of each visit
  • complete screening for symptoms of COVID-19 and other illnesses by hospital staff at the hospital entrance
  • agree to follow all Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) practices—including:
    • Washing hands frequently and often
    • Wearing a mask properly at all times
    • Staying at the patient’s bedside
    • Using public washrooms
    • Refraining from eating and drinking while in the patient room
    • Disinfecting phones, tablets and essential items brought on the unit
    • Consulting with the health care team to determine when to come and how long to stay
    • Following instructions from people in the health care team and on the unit
    • Accepting education and coaching from the health care team
    • Reviewing safe donning and doffing procedures before you visit
    • Following public health guidelines in the community such as limiting contacts, wearing a mask and physical distancing

When to visit

ECPs are permitted between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Only one ECP is permitted onsite at a time. Please consult with the health care team to determine what time and duration is best. Visits should be coordinated during times when you are providing essential care as directed by the patient and healthcare team.

Personal Protective Equipment

ECPs must wear a face mask during their visit. ECP’s may also be asked to wear other personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE is required when visiting someone who is placed under contact and droplet precautions (like those with COVID-19). Please review these safe donning and doffing procedures before you visit. 

Eating and drinking

ECPs are not permitted to eat or drink while in the patient room. Food and beverage must be consumed in designated areas of the hospital while ensuring social distancing. This includes the cafeteria.

If you are bringing in food or beverage for the patient, please ensure it is individually packaged. Do not share. Discard waste and leftovers immediately after consuming.  


ECPs are not permitted to use washrooms in patient rooms. Please use the public washroom on Level 1.

Personal items for patients

Approved personal items can be dropped off to screeners at the South Tower Main Entrance from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Please pack them in a clear plastic bag.

We will confirm the patients name and room number on arrival, before delivery. 

Approved personal items

  • Books, magazines, puzzle books
  • Clean clothes 
  • Electronics: cellular phone, tablet
  • Medications
  • New unused toiletries 
  • New unused grooming items: toothbrush, comb, hair brush, and razor
  • Photos 

Unapproved personal items 

  • Decorative arrangements: balloons, edible and floral 
  • Food
  • Jewelry 
  • Vitamins, supplements and over the counter remedies

Keeping you connected

Wherever possible, patients are encouraged to connect with their loved ones by telephone or by video. To help keep you connected, we are offering free telephone and Wi-Fi to patients.

Sharing your feedback

Patients and visitors with concerns about our visitor policy are asked to share this information with their health care team so that they can work with you to meet your needs.  If further support is required, please contact Patient Relations

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