The Cypress Health Region’s open family presence policy came into effect on April 21, 2016 and takes the place of traditional visiting hours.
For an organization to become patient and family centered; first it needs to embrace and recognize that families play an important role in the health and well-being of patients during hospitalization. In an effort to promote positive health outcomes, safety and security of patients, their families, visitors, staff and our community, health regions throughout Saskatchewan have implemented family presence policies.
The open family presence policy will guide the organization to ensure patients are comforted with the presence of family (as defined by the patient) while in the care of the Cypress Health Region. With each unique entry/admission into a health care facility, patients shall be given the opportunity to determine who can be considered “family” by coordinating such with their care team.
Research has shown that when a patient is supported by family and friends their emotional and mental health is much better, resulting in improvements to their physical health. It also improves management of chronic and acute illnesses. Often families can provide information that health providers are not aware of. There is also evidence that patients who have family involvement in care fall less while in hospital and retain the lessons taught in patient education activities better.
With all of this evidence, it is best practice to recognize that family members are integral to the overall well-being of the patient thus we welcome family members to be there whenever the patient would like them to be present.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is considered family?
Family is whoever the patient identifies that they consider ‘family’ or ‘partner(s) in care’. This is determined during the admission process and may be modified by the patient at any time.
Family: defined as “a group of individuals who are connected by kinship, affection, dependency, or trust. Family members are the people who provide the primary physical, psychological, or emotional support for the patient. Family is not necessarily blood relatives. The family is defined by the patient.” Family member(s) and/or friend(s) will be involved in their care and decision-making if the patient has indicated such.
Visitors: In addition to family members, the Cypress Health Region recognizes that other visitors may wish to see the patient. Visitors are ‘visitors’ of the patient or his/her family.
What if the patient does not want any visitors?
It is the patient’s right to refuse visitors while in care. As is current practice, clinical providers can advocate for the patient’s wishes by sharing this decision with the primary support person/‘partner in care’ and request that they notify other potential visitors. Clinical staff can also share the patient’s decision to not receive visitors to those who do visit the unit.
Does this mean someone can visit at 1 AM?
Yes, there are no hourly restrictions for visits. As long as the visits are beneficial to the patient and not disruptive to other patients on the unit, late hour and overnight visits are permitted.
What if the facility is on ‘Outbreak Status’?
Limiting traffic and visiting does assist the region in controlling an outbreak; however, it is also recognized that there are times where family members must be there. It is through collaborative discussions with patient and family that decisions would be made as to what family members would be welcomed during an outbreak. In such cases these family members need to be instructed in proper hand hygiene and the use of Personal Protective Equipment to ensure the safety of patients, staff, and others.
What if a visitor has signs/symptoms of infection or illness?
Family members and other visitors should refrain from visiting if they have the following symptoms:
- Flu-like symptoms
In circumstances where family members must visit with any of the above symptoms, the care team should instruct them regarding appropriate personal protective equipment (such as masks or gowns).
Further Information on the Open Family Visiting Hours
- Family members, as determined by the patient, are welcome 24 hours a day in all Cypress Health Region facilities. The number of people welcome at the bedside at any one time will be determined in the collaboration with the patient, family and inter-professional care team. In situations where the room is shared, this discussion will include the other patient and his/her family. To ensure safety, consideration will also be given to the physical limitations of the space.
- For the safety of all staff, patients, families and visitors are required to perform hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol based hand rub upon entering and leaving each patient’s room.
- Alternative visitors (e.g. pets and/or animal-assisted therapy) must be pre-approved with the care team (Example: Unit/Facility/On Call Manager, Nurse Unit Coordinator, Infection Control) and will be a case by case basis.
- Family and guests who are feeling unwell, have an infection, or have symptoms of respiratory illness or flu-like illnesses are asked to refrain visiting their loved one until symptoms have subsided.
- If an outbreak of infection requires visitation restrictions, staff will collaborate with the Infection Control and the patient and family to enable and ensure selected family members are still welcome to visit the patient.
- For the safety of the patient, families and guests are required to perform hand hygiene with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub, upon entering and leaving the patient’s room.
- Supervision of visitors is not the responsibility of the patient or staff.
- There may be interruptions to family presence to protect the privacy rights of other patients and to maintain safety and security.
For more information on Open family visiting hours go to unit staff or visit cypresshealth.ca