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Essential Together Learning Bundles: Screening Processes

As part Essential Together, we have curated tools and resources from organizations across the country that support the reintegration of essential care partners.

This page is about supporting organizations to work with patients and patient partners to establish clearly communicated screening processes. It’s part of the policy guidance to support essential care partners as they enter health and care facilities.

It is paramount to reduce vectors of transmission when entering an environment with medically vulnerable people, especially during a pandemic. Screening processes ensure everyone – including healthcare providers, administrators, staff and essential care partners – entering a healthcare facility is symptom free. Contact information needs to be collected for tracing purposes as per public health guidelines.

There should also be clarity in the different ways screening may be done, such as self-screening prior to arriving at the facility and/or in person at the time of entry. Consistency is important so screeners at the facility are methodical with everyone entering. Screening provides an opportunity for essential care partners to identify themselves, which in some cases can be with the patient as they are enter the facility.

(From page 15 of Policy Guidance for the Reintegration of Caregivers as Essential Care Partners)

These resources provide examples of various methods and tools for screening essential care partners.

Current resources

The tools and resources are open source, which means you can use and adapt them to fit your local context. We will continue to add to these learning bundles. If you would like to be notified when we have new material, please let us know.

Alberta Health Services

Alberta Health Services is a province-wide health system. Their COVID-19 task force creates communication and resources to support the entire system, which covers multiple settings and patient groups. Among their tools is a communication friendly screening tool.

CISSS de la Montérégie-Ouest

CISSS de la Montérégie-Ouest’s website includes information for individuals in the care of intermediate and family-type resources (IR-FTRs), and residents of private seniors’ residences (PSRs). Among other resources are tools and guidelines for staff at the facility entrances and screening logs.

Perley and Rideau Veteran’s Health Centre

Perley and Rideau Veteran’s Health Centre is a long-term care centre in Ontario. They have launched an online screening app for designated caregivers.

Saskatchewan Health Authority

The Saskatchewan Health Authority supports health organizations across Saskatchewan. Their Family Presence expert panel and support team have created many resources to support screening.

Windsor Regional Hospital

Windsor Regional Hospital supports Windsor and Essex Country in Ontario. The hospital has both online and print options for patients and essential care partners to use before coming to the facility.

If you know of other tools and resources to contribute to these learning bundles, or if there is something specific you are after, please send us an email via


We know there is different language and terminology used across the country, but to make sure we provide as much clarity as possible, in this context:

Blanket visitor restrictions refer to restrictions that extend to all “visitors” entering a facility, often without exceptions, including essential care partners.

Essential care partners provide physical, psychological and emotional support, as deemed important by the patient. This care can include support in decision making, care coordination and continuity of care. Essential care partners are identified by the patient (or substitute decision maker) and can include family members, close friends or other caregivers.

Patients includes residents and clients.

Patient partners include patients, residents, clients, families, caregivers and care partners, and others with lived experience who are working together with teams to improve the quality and safety of healthcare.

Health and care facilities refers to hospitals, long-term care/residential care/nursing homes and other congregate care settings as well as primary care and outpatient care settings.

Open family presence policies support the presence of essential care partners at patient bedside at any time and not restricted by “visiting hours.”