Growing number of Canadian Hospitals getting rid of visiting hours for families

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Ottawa: A bold healthcare initiative by the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) is revolutionizing the relationship between healthcare providers, patients and family members – by including families as partners in care. What started as a grassroots movement launched under the banner of Better Together is now sweeping the country; nearly 50 Canadian hospital and healthcare organizations, including the provinces of Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are now reviewing or have already adopted family presence policies – including 24/7 visiting hours.

A November 2015 study by CFHI found that fewer than one in three Canadian hospitals had accommodating visiting policies, and even less offered 24/7 access to designated family members. “Despite evidence clearly showing better care and health outcomes, family presence policies were more the exception than the norm in this country,” says Maria Judd, Senior Director, CFHI. “We’re encouraging Canadians to have conversations with their hospitals and healthcare organizations about whether they could identify a loved one to stay by their side around the clock if they so choose.

According to CFHI, research into the benefits of family presence shows: improved patient outcomes and experience of care; fewer medication errors and falls, better informed medical assessments and care planning; reduced lengths of stay, readmissions and emergency department visits.

CANADIAN HOSPITALS, HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATIONS AND PROVINCES THAT ARE REVIEWING OR ADOPTING FAMILY PRESENCE POLICIES

Province Healthcare organizations
British Columbia Interior Health, Northern Health, Providence Health Care
Yukon Yukon Continuing Care
Alberta Alberta Health Services – South Campus, Alberta Children’s Hospital, Pincher Creek Health Centre
Saskatchewan Entire province has adopted an open family presence policy
Manitoba Victoria General Hospital, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Ontario Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare, Parkwood Mennonite Home, Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital, Markham Stouffville Hospital, Norfolk General Hospital, Ross Memorial Hospital, North York General Hospital, St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, Humber River Hospital, Headwaters Health Care Centre, The Ottawa Hospital, The Scarborough Hospital, Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, Stevenson Memorial Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences, Arnprior Regional Health, Lake of the Woods District Hospital, Red Lake Margaret Cochenour Memorial Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital, North Bay Regional Health Centre, Deep River and District Hospital, William Osler Health System, Kemptville District Hospital, Kingston General Hospital, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, St. Elizabeth Health Care* (Markham)
Quebec Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais, Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Montéregie-Est, Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de la Mauricie-et-du-Centre-de-Québec, Centre hospitalier de l’université de Montréal
Nova Scotia IWK, Nova Scotia Health Authority Harbourview site
New Brunswick Horizon Health Network, Réseau de santé Vitalité
PEI Health PEI
Newfoundland & Labrador Eastern Health, Western Health

*St. Elizabeth Health Care’s policy will apply across Canada, including British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

“Because this innovation was a culture shift for many organizations, we knew that providers, patients and families would have questions,” says Maureen O’Neil, President, CFHI. “Would there be too much noise? Would other patients and staff be bothered? Yet, what we have found is that these concerns haven’t materialized and instead family presence has enabled loved ones to be part of the decision-making process, especially during physician rounds and helping transition from hospital to home.”

“From a few early adopters to a grassroots movement that is sweeping the country, Better Together’s exceptional growth is reaching a tipping point in Canada,” says Stephen Samis, Vice President, Programs, CFHI. “We’re calling on hospitals and healthcare delivery organizations nationwide to take the pledge and begin the process of implementing the family presence policy innovation as a practical step towards delivering more patient and family-centred care.”

In a 2015 poll conducted for CFHI, nine in 10 Canadians supported family presence policies.