Toronto (June 23, 2003) - Last week, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care released new directives for health care facilities in the Greater Toronto Area. These directives spell out procedures to be followed in a SARS outbreak (which is the current status within most of the GTA) as well as in "routine" periods. Based on our review of the new directives, the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute is taking several steps, effective June 24, as outlined below. It is important to note that we are continuing to take precautions and even to strengthen some measures to protect patients and staff. As we move forward, heightened vigilance, infection control measures and screening continue to be very important.

Changes effective June 24:

  • Staff in contact with patients do not have to wear masks and goggles unless a patient is showing SARS-like symptoms or a high-risk procedure is being performed. Under such circumstances, our approach continues to be to protect, isolate and then investigate. Education sessions have been taking place to ensure that staff maintain a high level of suspicion and immediately report any patient with signs of SARS.
  • Inpatients with no respiratory symptoms do not need to wear masks in the hospital.
  • Patients may have only one visitor at a time, except for compassionate reasons. All visitors continue to be required to wear a surgical mask, provided they pass SARS screening. The tighter visitor policy will reduce traffic as we try to strike a reasonable balance of overall precautions.

Please note that other precautions continue, including:

  • Outpatients must wear a surgical mask while in the hospital. (This does not apply to Rumsey Centre, where outpatients and visitors are not required to wear masks.)
  • Visiting hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. To help ease traffic at our screening desks, we ask that visitors not arrive between 2:30 and 4 pm. Children under the age of 14 are not permitted, except for compassionate reasons.
  • Screening at our doors; screeners are required to wear N95 masks, gloves and gowns.
  • Entry restricted to one entrance at each site.
  • Universal infection control measures and frequent hand washing.
  • New patients accepted subject to SARS screening before arrival, at the door and upon arrival on the unit. Temperatures are taken twice a day for 10 days. We are grateful for everyone's continued cooperation and vigilance.

Media Contact

Phone: 416 340 4636
Email: UHN.News@uhn.ca

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