Emergency Department During COVID-19

Last Updated: 2024-04-29

Mount Sinai Hospital’s Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Centre serves close to 60,000 patients a year who come through our doors 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. As partners in care, visitors have an important role in keeping our hospital safe.

Visitor access for the Emergency Department

Space is limited in the Emergency Department (ED). If physical space allows in the waiting rooms, visitor access will be prioritized for the following patients:

  • Patients under age 18
  • Patients with cognitive impairment
  • Patients who are unable to effectively communicate
  • Patients at end of life
  • Patients experiencing a critical event or illness

Only one visitor per person will be able to accompany the patient.

If there is no space for visitors, the following steps will be taken:

Step 1: Visitors are asked to wait outside of the hospital until the patient is in an assessment space that allows for physical distancing. This may take some time depending on the number of patients in the ED. You can provide the patient with a contact number where you can be reached for updates.

Step 2: When you are able to join the patient in person, the ED team will work with the patient to inform you.

Step 3: If you are not able to join the patient in person, we encourage you to ask the clinical team about ways to connect remotely.

*Note: Visitors of patients meeting specific criteria may be asked to accompany the patient to triage to assist with sharing important information with the clinical team before being asked to wait outside.

Staying connected with the patient and plan of care

The ED has a number of ways to engage family and friends who are not able to be physically present with the patient.

  • With patient consent, the ED staff are supportive of including families in the discussion about clinical findings and/or the care plan using telephones and tablets. Let the clinical team know if you would like to be included virtually.
  • The ED team also has social workers and peer support workers who may be able to greet patients and families at the entrance to the department, facilitate the patient’s transition into the department and, if the patient consents, provide updates as to the patient’s care trajectory.

Visitors for admitted patients from the ED

Once a patient is admitted to an inpatient unit, essential care partners will be required to follow Sinai Health’s Visitor Policy at our COVID-19 Information and Resources page.

Visitor Appeals

Please contact Patient Relations with any appeals related to your situation, if the care team is unable to assist you, or if you have further questions. Appeals can take 48 hours to process, so please address time-sensitive requests with the care team. Patient Relations can be reached at 416-586-4800 ext. 5066 or [email protected] (Use “Appeal” in your subject line).

Help Keep our Hospitals Safe

Help keep our hospitals safe if you are visiting.

  • Sinai Health is a mask-friendly environment in all areas of our buildings. The choice to wear a mask will be respected and supported. Patients with respiratory virus symptoms will be asked to put on a mask during Emergency Department triage. Please take a medical-grade procedure mask when you enter.
  • Clean your hands often for at least 15 seconds.
  • If the patient you are visiting is on Additional Precautions (there will be a sign on the door to the patient’s room), you may be required to wear additional protective equipment. The clinical team will tell how to properly put on and take off personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Essential care partners and visitors must strictly follow hospital protocols. If they do not, they may be asked to leave.