Western Health Adopts a Family Presence Policy

Jun 18, 2018

Western Health is inviting patients, residents and families to become more engaged in care by encouraging family presence. 

“Family and friends can play an important role in healing and have a calming effect on the patient,” said Teara Freake, Director of Patient Services. “We have developed the family presence policy in response to feedback from patients, residents and their family. The policy ensures there are guidelines in place for individuals in our facilities to have friends and family there to support them when they need it most.” 

The new family presence policy means there are no set visiting hours for hospitals, health care centres and long term care homes throughout the region. Visits from family and friends will now be individualized based on the needs of the patient or resident, their family and their health care team.

“While Long Term Care has traditionally welcomed family presence, this new policy supports the acknowledgement that care should be centred around the individual,” says Renee Luedee Warren, Regional Director of Long Term Care. “We encourage residents to consider this as their home where family, friends, and even personal pets are encouraged to visit and can positively contribute to their everyday lives.” 

Friends and family should discuss their visiting plans when possible with their loved one’s care team to determine what times will work best for everyone. There may be times the length of visits or number of visitors will need to be restricted, for the safety and well-being of everyone including: 
• If you feel unwell, have an infection or flu-like symptoms, we ask you to not visit until you are feeling well again.
• People who are in the hospital need to rest and recover. We encourage you to visit often, but consider keeping your visits short in duration. However, this is not the case in long term care and because long term care is considered a resident’s home, we encourage families and friends to visit in keeping with residents wishes.
• The number of visitors that a patient or resident should have at any one time is best determined with the help of the care team.
• Children under the age of 14 should always be accompanied by an adult and have direct adult supervision (from someone other than the patient/resident) at all times.
• In some cases, we may need to restrict visiting opportunities to protect the privacy and rights of other patients and residents. Also, in some cases, we may need to interrupt a visit if care is required.


Media Contact:
Tara Pye 
Director of Communications