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Veterans Centre 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 April 9, 2021


Questions specific to the Veterans Centre

Can I visit my relative at the Veterans Centre?

Only designated Essential Care Partners (ECPs) can

At this time, visits between Veteran residents and their Essential Care Partners (ECPs) remain in place as scheduled. Only ECPs that are currently on our visit lists are eligible at this time; no new ECP’s will be added to the list.

We continue to follow our pre-arranged schedule for visits with ECPs in our designated location inside the Veterans Centre. We continue to follow all safety precautions: wearing a mask, hand hygiene and physical distancing.

Vaccinated versus unvaccinated ECPs

ECPs continue to be offered vaccination from Sunnybrook. For ECPs who choose not to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, they are required to continue to attest to a negative weekly PCR COVID-19 test within 7 days of their visit.

ECPs who have had two weeks pass after their first COVID-19 vaccination, may begin participating in close-contact visits (i.e. hand holding and hugging) your family member. Please speak with your relative’s social worker for more information about these visits.

ECPs who choose not to receive the vaccination may continue to enjoy a socially-distanced visit, but a close-contact visit is not an option.

*Please be aware that no test is 100% accurate all the time. Therefore, we recommend you continue actively self-screening for symptoms prior to visiting your loved one to ensure their health and safety can be maintained. We continue to follow all safety precautions: wearing a mask, hand hygiene and physical distancing.

Residents approaching end of life

Visits for residents approaching end of life will remain in place; you will be notified by your relative’s healthcare team to discuss this.

How can I connect with my loved one?

Connecting with your family member is of utmost importance during this time. A member of your healthcare team will reach out and work with you to support visits with your family members in a format that is equitable and beneficial.

Aside from in-person visits, alternative options for connecting with your loved one may include telephone calls, emails/photographs or virtual visits. You may consider a weekly virtual visit should on-site visiting not be a preferred option for you during the 4-week State of Emergency and Stay-at-Home Order announced by the Premier’s office.

Please contact your relative’s social worker to discuss a virtual visit if you would like to place your in-person visits on hold.

What are you doing to protect Veterans and those in Palliative Care, those who may be at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19?

We are taking all precautions, including limiting the number of people on site and offering vaccinations to residents, patients, staff and Essential Care Partners (ECPs) who visit.

Our Infection Prevention & Control team is diligent in ensuring the best practices are maintained to protect our patients, residents, visitors and staff. This includes cleaning surfaces often, limiting visitors and using the proper personal protective equipment when needed.

We appreciate your support in keeping everyone safe.

How are COVID-19 restrictions affecting daily life for the Veterans living at the Veterans Centre?

While visitation and external entertainment programs are temporarily on hold, there will continue to be many opportunities for social interaction, physical activity and engagement through unit-based programs and therapy services the Veterans Centre is known for.

Garden access

Our gardens have been landscaped and refreshed for spring. We have been opening the garden daily (weather permitting) for residents to get out for fresh air and a walk or wheel about. Residents who may need assistance are also accommodated. We are fortunate to have this early warm weather and are taking advantage of it.

Will there be entertainment for residents of the Veterans Centre?

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.

Can the Veterans still visit Sunny’s or the gift shop? And is it safe to do so?

Yes, only Veteran residents and their direct staff may continue to visit Sunny’s restaurant and the Artisan Gift Shop during opening hours and conditions noted below:

  • Sunny’s restaurant is open, with minimal and distanced seating, from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Weekends from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • The Artisan Gift Shop will be open to Residents/Patients on Monday - Friday from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. for the purchase of essential items and snacks.
  • Debit or credit cards are preferred. If a resident doesn’t have a card, Sunny’s will run a tab and submit to Patient Accounts for payment.

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

Do the Veterans and staff all wear masks/PPE?

Anyone who enters the Veterans Centre must wear a mask. Masks are provided to those who pass screening. All staff wear face masks and shields 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.

Can I drop off a care package, flower or food delivery for a resident or patient?

We are happy to deliver your care packages to Veterans and patients for you. Please review these important requirements when preparing the package (no donations for staff please):

  1. A known family member must provide items only for their immediate relative.
  2. We can accept homemade food for patients. It must be a single portion – no leftovers, no multiple meals, or shared food. Food must be safe to remain at room temperature due to variability of delivery timelines to the units. Any leftovers will be disposed of and containers will not be washed or returned.
  3. Notes from friends and family member to your loved one are welcome.
  4. Please deliver packages to the screening desk from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. for same-day delivery by our staff. Hand hygiene must be performed before and after the delivery. Please have the care package labeled and kindly exit the building immediately to maintain a clear and COVID-safe entry way. We will deliver the package to your family member. We cannot assume responsibility for lost items.

Please contact your unit Patient Care Manager or Social Worker, with questions related to your family member.

You may also consider purchasing an item online from the Sunnybrook Gift Shop and sending it to your loved one using the shop’s free delivery service.

Questions specific to the Palliative Care Unit

Can I visit a patient who is in the Palliative Care Unit?

We understand the importance and value of visits and spending time with patients or family members on our palliative care unit. Continuing to maintain a safe environment for our patients, Veterans, staff and visitors is also top of mind for everyone. Adequate physical distancing is still a key measure to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, and for this reason some visiting restrictions remain.

Visits for patients approaching end of life will remain in place; you will be notified by your relative’s healthcare team to discuss this.

How many visitors can a patient have?

A patient on our palliative care unit is able to have a visit by up to two individuals during visiting hours, with only one of the individuals permitted in the building at a time. There is no interchanging of names or in and out privileges permitted.

If more than one visitor is required, in the case of persons requiring support or minors, the health-care team will offer direction for this request.

If a patient at any time is significantly approaching end of life (or death), the substitute decision maker (SDM) will be contacted to offer visits in hours outside of the usual daily schedule. If a patient’s condition improves, the team will discuss a plan for returning to daily visits.

Guidelines for visits:

  • Visitors will present to the K-Wing East entrance for the visit. 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.
  • Visits will occur between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Visitors may not leave the building and return. Visitors may use public washrooms only (K1W and K1C lounge)
  • Visiting opportunities are for family members only and are not available to privately-hired companions.
  • A garden area is designated for our palliative patients and families, accessed through the K1W elevator. For more information, discuss with your health care provider.

If a patient is approaching end of life and is COVID-19 positive or under investigation, only one healthy symptom-free visitor may visit. The visitor will be informed of the risk of visitation and receive careful instruction on the use of the required personal protective equipment (PPE). Visitors must use the PPE as advised or the visit will be ended.

Visitors must wear a face mask at all times while in the facility, perform frequent hand hygiene, and follow staff direction if additional PPE is required. Visits must occur on the patient care unit or the designated palliative care garden only.

Please contact the palliative care team if you have questions or require clarification.

Visitor access to K-Wing

Access to the entrance of K-Wing is located at the far east door of the facility. Signage will be visible to direct you to the entrance.

No individual physician or health-care worker can make an exception.

Have visiting hours changed for the Palliative Care Unit?

During this time, visiting hours are between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. 


View all information about COVID-19