Saskatchewan hospitals and care homes will now be open to visitors 24 hours a day, the first in Canada to do so.
The province is adopting an open family policy allowing patients more access to their loved ones, particularly for those in palliative care.
It will all be determined by the patient themselves. They will decide who is classed as family and when they want them to visit.
It is all part of the Patient-First approach that see a patients’ family as a vital member of their care team. Adopted around the world, studies have shown it improves the patient’s experience, leads to fewer re-admissions, better coordination with front-line staff and fewer medical errors.
“If I had been allowed to be at my mom’s bedside on my own terms, I would not have felt as much anxiety,” patient and family advisor Serese Selanders said. “The time left with my mom was measured in days. Every hour that we were prevented from seeing her was time we will never get back. Open family presence will change health care by helping everyone recognize that the ‘team’ includes families and loved ones.”
The open family policy has been operating successfully across the Sunrise Health Region, in east-central Saskatchewan, since 2014.
Each health region will adopt the policy specific to its needs and requirements, but the conversation will begin with the patient. Determining when a family visits is decided in consultation with their care team, their family and of course respecting the privacy of any other patient they may be sharing a room with.
More information about the open family policy can be found through the Health Quality Council.