Family Presence and Opening Visiting Policies in Ontario Hospitals

Family Presence and Opening Visiting Policies in Ontario Hospitals

Hospitals in Ontario have re-examined policies that govern the presence of family and friends at the patient’s bedside as they receive care. The traditional model of firmly established visiting hours has given way to family presence and open visiting policies.  This report presents the findings from a research partnership between The Change Foundation and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) where we interviewed a sample of 13 hospitals with family presence policies or open visiting policies to get a sense of how developed the policies were, how the policies were implemented, and what has changed for patients, families, staff  and caregivers.

This report summarizes insights and reflections from hospital staff who were interviewed on their family presence policies. We hope these reflections and insights are helpful to those hospitals considering a move to family presence policies.  We also hope that those hospitals who have experience with family presence policies or those who want to shift to family presence policies will consider Caregiver ID initiatives as part of their family presence culture.

About the Caregiver ID initiative

caregiver idRecognizing that families and caregivers are an integral part of the collaborative care team, the Caregiver Identification (ID) initiative was co-designed with caregivers and providers in Changing CARE projects. The purpose of the Caregiver ID program is to formally identify caregivers within care settings and provide them with a form of identification to facilitate their participation and role as members of the care team.

There is a strong link between Caregiver ID programs and the introduction or expansion of family presence policies in hospitals. Offering an identification card, badge or lanyard is a concrete and visible way to recognize and validate caregivers and remove barriers to their participation as a member of the care team.

To make it easier for hospitals to introduce a Caregiver ID program to coincide with or enhance their Family Presence policies, we developed a set of tools and resources to draw on. Check out our toolkit online to access an implementation checklist, case studies and the Caregiver ID visual icon.

WEBINAR: Including Caregiver ID initiatives as part of Family Presence and Open Visiting Policies in Ontario

On Thursday June 6 at 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. (EST), The Change Foundation and OHA co-hosted a webinar for those who wanted to learn more about this research on family presence and open visiting policies, and how Caregiver ID initiatives can play an important role in a family presence culture.

Attendees also heard from a healthcare provider who led the implementation in a hospital. She shared lessons learned and helpful reflections on how to integrate a Caregiver ID initiative with the introduction of a family presence policy.

Speakers included:

  • Lori Hale, Executive Lead, Research and Policy, The Change Foundation
  • Christa Haanstra, Executive Lead, Strategic Communications, The Change Foundation
  • Jennifer Ridgway, Program Lead, Changing CARE at BridgePoint Active Healthcare, Sinai Health System

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