Visiting the hospital & clinics
Learn about what to expect when you visit the hospital, clinics or other health care facilities.
Visiting hospitals & clinics
As of October 26, 2021 visitors need to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status to enter acute care facilities. When you arrive, please have your BC Vaccine Card (or equivalent) and photo ID ready to show the Experience Ambassador at the entrance.
This vaccination requirement doesn't apply to:
- Visitors with an approved medical exemption
- Children under the age of vaccine eligibility (all children aged six months and up are currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine)
- The following care settings:
- Visits to the emergency department and intensive care unit
- Visits for compassionate care including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end-of-life and medical assistance in dying
- Visits for pediatric care, labour and delivery (e.g., support persons)
- Visits paramount to the patient's physical and mental well-being
- Visits to support the patient's decision-making
Up to two people 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., avoiding visits during shift change or patient rounds). Our health care team may restrict visitation in the patient's best interest. This may differ by hospital unit, clinic 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 or clinic, or read the Ministry of Health - Overview of Visitors in Acute Care.
Frequently asked questions
What are considered essential visits?
Vancouver Coastal Health continues to support visitors for essential visits. Essential visits include, but are not limited to:
- Visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end-of-life and medical assistance in dying (MAID)
- Visits that are essential to the patient, client or resident's physical care and mental well-being (mental and emotional support). This includes:
- Assistance with feeding, mobility, personal care
- Communication assistance for persons with hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual or memory impairments
- Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities, including emotional support
- Visits for supported decision-making
- Visits for pediatric care, labour and delivery
- Existing registered volunteers providing the services described above.
- Visitors are required to move belongings in or out of a patient/client or resident's room.
- Police, correctional officers and peace officers accompanying a patient/client for security reasons.
- Spiritual care providers of all denominations are considered part of the care team. The single visitor guideline does not apply to them
Review of decisions about essential visits: Families and visitors can ask for a review of a decision about what is considered an essential visit by contacting the VCH Patient Care Quality Office.
These restrictions are in place to protect the health of our patients, clients, residents, staff and physicians. Thank you for your understanding.
What are the visiting hours for hospitals?
Please check in with the unit before visiting to determine the best time for your visit and what you should do when you arrive.
What can I expect during my upcoming outpatient client or surgery appointment?
Visit our Care during COVID-19 page to learn what to expect when visiting our hospitals and outpatient clinics in the time of COVID-19.
What do I need to know before I enter hospitals and clinics?
Be a health hero and help us fight the spread of COVID-19.
- Please allow additional time for parking and the COVID-19 screening process
- Please enter the hospitals and clinics at the patient-designated entrances only for the safety of our patients and staff
- All visitors will be screened for signs and symptoms of illness, including COVID-19, and possible exposure to COVID-19, prior to every visit
- All visitors must wear a medical mask for the duration of the visit
- Do not enter if you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, sore throat, loss of appetite, chills, loss of sense of smell or taste, nausea and vomiting, cough or exacerbation of chronic cough, headache, muscle aches, shortness of breath, fatigue, runny nose or diarrhea
- Wash or sanitize your hands upon entry and exit
- Please respect others’ personal space and follow signage guidelines
- Sneeze or cough into your elbow
- Please have your BC Vaccine Card (or equivalent) and photo ID ready to show the greeter at the entrance
How can I send well wishes and gifts to friends and family in the hospital?
Well Wishes is a free service that allows you to stay in touch with friends and family staying at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), UBC Hospital, Lions Gate Hospital, Richmond Hospital and GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. Visit our send well wishes page to get started.
Gift shops are available at many of our locations for those who would like to support a patient with a gift.
- Lions Gate Hospital gift shop: 604-988-3131 ext. 3733
- Powell River General Hospital gift shop: 604-485-3211 ext. 4347
- Sechelt Hospital gift shop: 604-885-2224 ext. 4273
- Squamish General Hospital gift shop: 604-892-5211 ext. 3372
- Vancouver General Hospital gift shop: 604-875-5895
Stay home if you aren't feeling well
We want to give our patients and clients every chance to get well. Do not visit the hospital if you are feeling unwell, if you have a cold or the flu, or have been near someone else who is sick. It is also important to wash your hands or use available alcohol-based liquid/foam hand sanitizers before and after visiting a loved one in the hospital or clinic.
More about hospital care
Staying at the hospital
If you're a patient at one of our health care facilities, you'll likely have questions about what to expect. Find out the steps we take to make your stay as comfortable as possible.