Last Updated: March 30, 2022
Sites with outbreaks or on-watch situations may require additional temporary restrictions to those listed below. Please contact the site before arrival for the most current access requirements.
AHS continues to implement safety precautions to limit the transmission of COVID-19 in our facilities. These precautions go beyond public health measures due to the vulnerability of the patients we care for and the needs to keep health facilities safe.
Some of these precautions include enhanced screening, continuous masking requirements, limited entry, access restrictions, and access restriction exemption processes. Currently, entry in acute care is limited to patient-identified designated support persons and those visiting a patient at the end-of-life.
We request you come to the site to support or visit a patient only if necessary and encourage patients and family to maintain contact virtually instead. Please do not come to a site if you are feeling unwell. For more information, refer to our virtual visitation tools and resources.
Who are designated support persons?
Designated support persons are individuals identified by the patient as needed support and involved in their health matters (for example, family members, close friends, or privately-hired caregivers).
Who are visitors?
A visitor is an individual who temporarily supports or socializes with the patient. They are not an essential partner to care planning and/or decision-making.
All designated support persons and visitors are:
Failure to adhere to these precautions will result in the individual being required to leave the site.
Acute Care Inpatient Services - Adult & Pediatric Acute
Ambulatory Including Adult & Pediatric, Community Health Clinics & Immunization Sites
One (1) designated support person per patient however, patients are encouraged to attend appointments alone unless the appointment is for a minor, or for an adult who requires assistance. Two (2) designated support persons can attend with the patient when pre-arranged with the clinic area and in situations involving:
Access requirements to Continuing Care facilities are determined by the Chief Medical officer of Health. Learn more about access requirements through the current Alberta Health Visiting Policy and contact the specific facility you wish to visit. Review the health screening requirements for continuing care visitors, see COVID-19 Continuing Care Daily Checklist/ICU.
Units will expand bedside access for End of Life or potential loss of life situations to all identified support persons and visitors as approved by site administration/designate. Simultaneous presence may be limited by the ability to safely accommodate more than two (2) designated support persons. This will be dictated by room configuration and patient care needs.
Emergency & Urgent Care
One (1) designated support person only if the patient requires assistance. Seniors, minors and patients with mobility and/or cognitive challenges will be given priority to have their designated support person remain with them in-person.
Units will expand bedside access for End of Life or potential loss of life situations to all identified support persons and visitors as approved by site administration/designate. Simultaneous presence may be limited by the ability to safely accommodate more than two (2) designated support persons. This will be dictated by room configuration and patient care needs. Visitors must schedule an appointment through the service area before coming. The service area must schedule time between visitors to avoid queuing. Visitors must leave the site as soon as their visit is over. There are compassionate exemptions available for those who may not meet access requirements. Community spiritual/religious care providers, Indigenous elders and traditional knowledge keepers can schedule time to perform end-of-life ceremonies, rituals and rites as requested by the patient.
Two (2) designated support persons can be on-site with the patient. One (1) of the designated support persona can be a doula. One (1) additional designated support person (for the infant) will be considered in cases of adoption or surrogacy if physical distancing permits. If the designated support person is a close contact and is asymptomatic and exemption may be granted by site administration or designate. For more information, view frequently asked questions about Designated Support Person Access in Maternity.
Two (2) designated support persons can be identified and all efforts are made for them to be present at the same time in the NICU, however, due to the vulnerability of patients, access is dependent on the ability to maintain physical distancing and other risk factors. The health care team will work with the designated support persons to collaboratively determine the safest access plan.
Individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate by public health order. They cannot enter an AHS site unless to visit a patient who is at end of life seeking urgent medical care for themselves, a minor child or a dependent adult.
AHS has put in place enhanced access requirements for designated support persons and visitors beyond public health measures due to the vulnerability of the patients we care for and the staff who care for them. Enhanced screening precautions for those wishing to support or visit a patient currently include:
Preventing the transmission of COVID-19 is everyone’s responsibility. All designated family/support persons and visitors entering an AHS facility/setting shall be asked to perform hand hygiene, provided with a mask, and informed of the requirement for continuous masking in all areas of the building.
N95 and KN95 masks
Designated family/support persons and visitors may wear their own N95 or KN95 respirator when entering an AHS facility if it is clean, in good condition and does not have a valve. Masks with a valve are not intended for use in health care settings, as they allow the wearer’s exhaled droplets to escape. A designated support person or visitor wearing a mask with a valve will be required to either change to an AHS mask or cover their mask with a procedure mask. Anyone wearing their own N95 or KN95 are strongly recommended to follow the steps outlined in General Instructions for Putting on an N95 Respirator Mask or How to do a Seal Check for Disposable KN95 Respirators.
Certain masks and/or additional personal protective equipment (PPE) may be required once the designated support person or visitor enters the service area. Designated support persons and visitors must follow all PPE precautions as directed by AHS staff. Please be aware that Albertans entering AHS facilities who have an authorized mask exception will be required to follow alternate safety precautions as directed by staff. Designated support persons or visitors who refuse to mask will not be allowed entry. Those who do not comply with continuous masking while in the facility will be required to leave.
Additional precautions all designated support persons and visitors must follow include:
Access Restrictions Exemptions
CMOH Exemption - for isolated persons who have minor children or adult dependents that require medical care – Individuals that have a confirmed/probable/suspected case of COVID-19 may leave isolation for the purposes of procuring needed medical care for minor children or an adult dependent. Sites and service areas must be familiar with the precautions and requirements outlined in the exemptions. Screeners should contact the service area service area to arrange safe site access.
AHS Exemption for DSPs of Minor Children and Adult Dependents who are close contacts of a confirmed/probable/suspected case of COVID-19 - DSPs who are close contacts of a confirmed/probable/suspected case of COVID-19 may enter AHS sites for the purposes of procuring needed medical care for a child or an adult dependent. Screeners should contact the service area to arrange review and safe site access.
AHS Exemption for DSPs who are Close Contacts and Asymptomatic - Obstetrics - DSPs who do not meet access criteria because they are close contacts of a confirmed/probable/suspected case of COVID-19 may request an exemption. Site administration/designate must approve entry. DSPs of COVID-19 confirmed or suspected patients must be treated as a dyad and co-isolated with the patient. If a DSP leaves the parameters of isolation, they cannot return to the patient and will have to leave the site. Screeners should contact the service area to arrange review and safe site access.
Compassionate Exemptions for End-of-Life and Critically Ill Patients
CMOH Exemption from Isolation for COVID-19 positive and symptomatic individuals who need to be present during the End-of-Life of a loved one, or a client – A confirmed/probable/suspected case of COVID-19 may leave isolation for the purposes of visiting a loved one in a health care facility at End-of-Life. These individuals must make an appointment with the service area in advance of arrival.
Government of Canada Compassionate Exemption from Quarantine – Access may be granted to international travelers who have a valid Government of Canada and AHS authorized Compassionate Exemption to leave their federally-required quarantine for the purposes of visiting a critically ill or End-of-Life patient. This exemption requires completion of the application process for the COVID-19 Exemptions from Quarantine and Access Restriction. These individuals must have been approved by leadership
AHS Exemption for Visitors who are Close Contacts and Asymptomatic to visit an End-of-life or Critically Ill Patient - Individuals who do not meet access criteria because they are close contacts of a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 may request an exemption to visit an End-of-Life or critically ill patient by following the process outlined on the COVID-19 Exemptions from Quarantine and Access Restriction webpage. These individuals must have been approved by leadership prior to arrival and must have an appointment booked with the service area.
Outdoor Visitation in Acute Care
Note: due to the risk of transmission, outdoor visits for COVID-19 positive, probable or suspected patients cannot be accommodated.
For patients who are admitted, outdoor visitation can occur between the patient, their DSPs and/or other visitors per the following: