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Veterans Units and Palliative Care Unit - COVID-19 Information

Below you can find information about changes made to the Veterans Centre programming and visitation due to COVID-19, as well as other COVID-19 related information specific to the Veterans Centre and the Palliative Care Unit. For all general information about COVID-19 from Sunnybrook, please visit sunnybrook.ca/COVID19

If you have any questions about the below, please contact the resident or patient's unit directly. 

- Last updated March 8, 2022


Questions specific to the Veterans Units

Can I visit my relative on the Veterans units?

General visitors, including children under the age of 5, may visit (please see testing status and vaccination requirements below):

  • Up to a maximum of 4 visitors at a time may visit a resident inside.
  • All visitors still need to wear a mask at all times when in our facility (except for visitors under 2 years of age).
  • Physical distancing is not required for visits.

Visitors may accompany a resident for dining with a mask on, but may not eat with the resident (this includes in the room, in the dining room, or Sunny’s cafeteria).

Vaccination & testing requirements for visitors:

All visitors are expected to show proof of full vaccination (at least 2 doses) to be able to enter our facility (exception: children under age of 5, compassionate visits at end of life).

Indoor Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) visit testing requirements are as follows:

  • Regular/frequent visits (multiple days each week): testing required 2 times per week on separate days.
  • Visits twice a week on consecutive days: testing required on the first day each week.
  • Visits 1-2 days each week or less, not on consecutive days: testing is required for every visit.

May I take my loved one (a resident) outside of the facility?

Outdoor visits

If the visitor arranges with the resident to meet at the L-wing entrance to go around the Bayview campus for an outdoor visit only, Rapid Antigen Testing is not required. However, if you need to enter the building past the screening entrance for any reason, Rapid Antigen Testing requirements are in place.

Overnight / extended absences

All residents who are eligible, can again go on social overnight absences, regardless of vaccination status, however post-absence testing requirements are required.

Why does the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre sometimes have different visiting policies for its residents than long term care homes?

Sunnybrook Veterans Program is a hospital-based complex continuing care facility, and not a designated long-term care home.

We care for over 300 Veteran residents whose average age is 96. As a complex continuing care facility, these Veterans are at some of the very highest risk of serious outcomes from COVID, should it become entrenched in our facility. We therefore have taken significant care of the health and safety of our Veterans throughout the pandemic.

Our visitor guidelines are being constantly evaluated with the advice of our Infection Prevention and Control experts, and take into account:

  • GTA hospital visiting guidelines
  • various residential guidelines including those in the LTC sector
  • Sunnybrook’s unique facility layout, and
  • specific risk factors.


We have been monitoring the physical and mental health and well-being of our Veteran residents throughout the pandemic, which have been sustained. We continue to offer many social and therapeutic activities and programs to engage and stimulate.

We have received positive feedback from many Veterans and family members about the visiting framework as it has evolved through the pandemic, and the majority are in support. Veterans especially have been asked their feelings and are in support of the approach and the programming that is being offered to them.

Will there be entertainment for residents of the Veterans Centre?

We are able to begin expanding the number of residents across units who can be together for some of our programming. Unit-specific information will be provided about upcoming events so your resident’s unit can attend.

We will continue to be very mindful to avoid crowding, and ensure that residents will be able to wear a mask to the event, if that is their preference.

Opportunities for social interaction, physical activity and engagement will continue through unit-based programs and therapy services. We continue to use technology to bring entertainment and engaging activities (i.e. pet therapy and bingo) to the units.

Do the Veterans and staff all wear masks/PPE?

Anyone who enters the Veterans Centre must wear a mask. All staff wear masks and face shields or goggles with direct patient care; in some cases, additional PPE is required.

Veteran residents continue to have masks available to them, should they wish to wear them.

We are taking every precaution including additional screening and cleaning measures to preserve the health and well-being of all residents and staff. More information at sunnybrook.ca/COVID19.

Questions specific to the Palliative Care Unit

Who may visit a patient who is in the Palliative Care Unit?

We continue to welcome our visitors back to the Palliative Care Unit with a reminder that we politely share safety guidelines when requirements are not being met, such as:

  • reminding to physically distance
  • wearing a mask at all times
  • keeping visits within families.

A patient on our palliative care unit is eligible to have full visitors if he/she is:

  • not on admission isolation
  • not a person under investigation (PUI), and
  • not actively COVID infectious.

How many visitors can an eligible patient have?

At present the policy is: Five visitors per patient (fully vaccinated) on the visitor list, two may be in the building at a time.

What are the visiting hours?

8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Guidelines for visits

  • Visitors will present to the K-wing East entrance for the visit. A visitor presenting at the entrance must be wearing a mask and sanitize their hands upon arrival. The visitor's name will be on a list at the door and visitors will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Do not visit if you are unwell. Visitors will not be permitted in the hospital if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • In and out privileges are permitted within visiting hours.
  • Visitors may use public washrooms only (K1W and K1C lounge).
  • Our visitors are permitted to purchase food from Sunny’s, however they are not permitted to eat at Sunny’s. Please use the same elevators (K1W) we use to go to the palliative care garden.
  • A garden area is designated for our palliative patients and families, accessed through the K1W elevator. For more information, please discuss with your health care provider.
  • Pets are allowed to visit, in line with our pet visitation policy (pets to remain on a leash, visit in the patient room on the unit or outdoors, utilize a short leash and be in control at all times, proof of vaccination must be produced if requested).

View all information about COVID-19