Care during COVID-19
As we provide health-care services during COVID-19, keeping you safe continues to be our top priority.
Across Vancouver Coastal Health, our infection prevention and control standards are in place to protect our patients, clients, staff and physicians.
This information will help patients, clients and families understand what to expect for your upcoming appointment or procedure.
When visiting acute care facilities. Proof of vaccination is required for all visitors over the age of vaccine eligibility.
Visitors who do not demonstrate that they are fully vaccinated will not be able to enter a facility, including passing through the facility to access an outdoor space.
Before coming to the hospital or clinic
Before you arrive at the hospital or clinic, staff will contact you to inform you of the recommended public health guidelines. You may receive a pre-admission package that includes instructions for the COVID-19 self-assessment on the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website. Please follow the recommendations from the self-assessment.
What to expect when you arrive
We want to assure you that it is safe to come to the hospital or clinic if you need medical care. We are taking a number of measures to ensure you and your team of health care providers are safe every step of the way.
- Enter the hospital or clinic from the main entrance
- Sanitize your hands
- Physical distancing is not required; however, personal space should be respected.
- As you move through the hospital or clinic, you may notice:
- Staff and physicians are using personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks, gloves, gowns and eye protection. This is for both your protection and for the protection of our staff and physicians.
- Increased cleaning and disinfection of our clinical areas, as well as our waiting rooms, cafeterias, coffee shops and common areas.
If you require assistance (translation, mobility, etc.), please contact the clinic prior to your appointment. Your care team will work with you to ensure your needs are met. We provide free language services to people whose primary language is not English, including qualified interpreters. We can also set up telephone calls for family to be present for discussions about your health and plan of care.
Monitor yourself for cold or flu-like symptoms before your scheduled appointment or procedure date. If you’re experiencing any changes to your health, please notify us prior to coming to the hospital or clinic. Appointments and procedures may be postponed at the discretion of your care provider or our medical staff. If this happens, rest assured that you will be rescheduled once you are feeling better.
During your time at our hospital or clinic
All VCH facilities remain restricted to essential visits only in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please review the current visitation policies on the Visiting our hospitals, clinics and care homes page.
Please limit the number of items you bring. If there are any essential items that you need from home, please connect with your care team.
You and/or your support person may be asked to:
Wear a mask or other PPE if needed
Practice excellent hand hygiene by cleaning your hands often
Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose and eyes
Practice respiratory etiquette (sneezing/coughing into your elbow)
Please respect people's personal space in common areas such as elevators and waiting areas
For more information on infection prevention, visit the COVID-19 prevention page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to go to a hospital or clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, it is safe to come to our hospitals and clinics. At VCH, infection prevention and control have always been a top priority. To protect our patients, clients, staff and physicians, all our hospitals and clinics follow the safety standards set by Infection Prevention and Control, Public Health, the Provincial Medical Officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control.
We want to reassure you that it is safe to come to the hospital or clinic if you need medical care. We are taking several measures to ensure you and your team of health care providers are safe every step of the way.
- After arriving at the hospital or clinic site, you will enter the building from the main entrance.
- If you need assistance (mobility, translation, etc.), please let us know, and we will work with you to ensure your needs are met.
- You will be met with a greeter asking you to please sanitize your hands.
- The greeter will also ask you a few questions to check if you might have cold or flu-like symptoms. If you do, you will be asked to wear a mask.
As you move through the hospital or clinic, you may notice our spaces look a little different:
- You may see floor decals/markers and signage at elevators or in the cafeteria. These are to help us respect each other's personal space.
- You will also notice our staff and physicians use personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves, gowns and eye protection. This is for both your safety and the protection of our staff and physicians.
- We have also increased cleaning and disinfection of our clinical areas, waiting rooms, cafeterias, coffee shops and common areas.
Can I visit my friend or family member in the hospital?
Up to two visitors may visit a patient at a time. Patients and visitors are encouraged to work in partnership with care providers to determine how best to coordinate visits (e.g., it may be best to avoid visits during shift change or patient rounds). Our health care team may restrict visitation in the best interest of the patient/client. This may differ by hospital unit, clinic and/or patient. These precautions are in place in the interest of the safety of our most vulnerable patients and clients. If you have questions about visitation restrictions, please speak to the care providers in your unit/clinic or read the Ministry of Health - Overview of Visitors in Acute Care.
My loved one is in hospital and needs translation assistance. How do I support their care while visiting is restricted?
We provide free language services to people whose primary language is not English, including qualified interpreters. We can also set up telephone calls so you may be present for discussions about their health and plan of care.
My family member needs me to drop off an item. Can i bring it to them?
Yes, you can drop off items.
What if i experience changes to my health prior to my visit?
For the safety of our patients, clients, staff and physicians, please notify staff of any changes to your health prior to coming to the hospital. Appointments and procedures may be postponed at the discretion of your care provider or our medical staff. If this happens, rest assured that you will be rescheduled once you are feeling better.
Why are staff wearing masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE)?
Staff members who are providing direct care for patients and clients may be wearing masks and other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, gowns and eye protection for their safety and yours.
Do i need to wear a mask or personal protective equipment?
In November 2020, the B.C. Ministry of Health released a new provincial direction about mask use in health care facilities.
In our health care facilities, it is now mandatory for everyone to wear a medical mask. This includes common areas and break rooms, unless you are eating and/or drinking. Patients, clients and visitors must also wear a medical mask. PPE protocols for the relevant patient care procedures/settings remain in place.
As just one part of the hierarchy of controls, masks supplement but do not replace other important measures such as physical distancing, cleaning and disinfection, staying home when sick, and good hand hygiene.
Please contact your care provider or clinic staff if you have other questions that haven't been answered here. If you have symptoms related to COVID-19 and want to talk to a health professional, please call your care provider or HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.