Western Health believes in the media's right to information about the organization. However, Western Health also has a moral and legal obligation to protect the privacy and personal information of our patients, clients, residents and staff.
All media inquires must be directed through the Communications Department, which includes requests for interviews with patients, clients, physicians or any employee. Communications will then forward media inquiries to the appropriate administrator, specialist, or authority in the field of question.
Officials of Western Health can not speak publicly about: specific patient cases; issues that are before the courts; or internal Human Resource issues that involve a specific employee of the organization.
Western Health is responsible for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of its patients, clients and residents and adheres to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
As a result of those privacy standards and in keeping with the organization’s values, Western Health will protect the individual’s right to confidential care. Therefore, Communications will not release to the media any specific information about a patient, client or resident without that individual’s consent.
All visits by news media to any Western Health facility must receive prior clearance through the Communications Department.
A representative of the organization must escort all journalists, photographers, videographers or any other news media personnel while they are on-site. An organizational representative will also be present during all interviews and/or filming or photography sessions.
Media interviews will not be permitted in critical care areas and patients, clients, residents and relatives who wish to talk to the media must make arrangements to do so through a representative of the Communications Department.
Upon approval from the Communications Department and once appropriate consent forms have been signed, news media may photograph and videotape at Western Health facilities. However, a representative of the organization must be present at all times.
Patients, residents and clients may not be photographed or videotaped in such a way as to be recognized unless the patient, parent, client, resident or other responsible party signs a consent form. Photographers must make every effort to ensure visitors, patients, residents and clients who may be inside a facility at the time of photography are not recognizable. This is especially relevant in areas where individuals are unable to give consent.
During an emergency or disaster situation the news media will need timely and accurate information. Therefore, media briefing sites will be identified in each region as part of our All Hazards Plan.
Although in some cases, access to facilities may be restricted or denied depending on the crisis situation, the Communications Department will make every reasonable effort to continue to provide updated information to news media representatives.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Corporate Communication
709-637-5252 or 709-637-5000 ext. 6419