Family presence during COVID-19 Important information for support people/visitors

Updated: October 13, 2021

Proof of vaccination is not required for patients seeking or receiving care or treatment. 

Effective October 13, most visitors and support people coming to Nova Scotia Health sites will be required to show proof of vaccination (or a medical exemption letter) along with government-issued identification, when entering Nova Scotia Health facilities. 

While we ask that whenever possible all visitors and support people entering Nova Scotia Health facilities be fully vaccinated, there are some circumstances where a patient requires support and their only option for support is an unvaccinated person. Exceptions will be granted for someone accompanying: 

  • A patient under the age of 19
  • A patient in labour and delivery 
  • A patient requiring a substitute decision-maker 

Additional exceptions may be made in discussion with a patient’s care team for compassionate reasons, such as for those who are critically ill or those nearing end-of-life. 

When a patient requires support from an unvaccinated person, they can only have that one support person. No additional, vaccinated visitors or support people will be permitted.

Otherwise, support people/family caregivers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are permitted for patients in the following situations:

Three designated family/primary support person(s) or family caregivers are welcomed:

  • Palliative care and other patients nearing end of life*
  • Patients receiving medical assistance in dying MAiD*

Two family/primary support person(s) or family caregivers are welcomed:

  • Children under 18 admitted to hospital.
  • Patients in intensive care units and critically ill patients in emergency departments
  • Patients in labour and giving birth

One family/primary support person or family caregivers are welcomed:

  • Children under 18 in outpatient settings
  • Hospital inpatients*
  • Patients in emergency departments
  • Prenatal visits, including ultrasounds
  • Ambulatory care clinics, appointments or procedures

* Please note, hospital inpatients are asked to identify three support people per week. These three designated support people may visit each day, but only one will be permitted to visit at a time

Palliative patients and others nearing end of life may identify a maximum of five designated support people. Three of these five designated support people may visit each day and can visit at the same time where space permits.

If you have questions please talk to your care team.

If you feel unwell or have felt unwell in the past 48 hours (fever/chills/sweats, new or worsening cough or sore throat, runny nose, headache or shortness of breath), or are supposed to be self-isolating, please do not visit.

Important information for family caregivers, primary support people

Visitor restrictions are in place at all Nova Scotia Health hospitals to protect our vulnerable patients and staff and limit the spread of COVID-19. We understand how difficult these restrictions are for patients and families and how important it is to have loved ones present while a patient is in the hospital.


The following measures will help ensure patient, staff and visitor safety. All primary support person/family caregivers must:

  • be feeling well at the date and time of the visit
  • be screened upon entry - anyone with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or are supposed to be self-isolating will not be permitted to enter
  • show proof of vaccination (or a medical exemption letter) along with government-issued identification. Some exceptions will apply.
  • wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times. Some areas require medical masks.
  • maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet) from staff and others, except your loved one
  • wash their hands when entering and leaving the hospital and when entering and leaving the patient’s room
  • go directly to and from the patient’s room, or visit location, and remain there for the duration of the visit

Procedures may vary by site and inpatient unit. If you have questions or concerns please speak with the care team or contact Patient Relations at 1-844-884-4177.

To learn more please visit Frequently Asked Questions.