In 2010, KGH made a bold move: the hospital eliminated visiting hours, allowing patients’ loved ones to be at their bedsides at any hour of the day. Though this trend had taken off in the United States, few hospitals in Canada had taken the leap.
Since then, 20 other Canadian hospitals and healthcare facilities have followed suit, and many other institutions easing restrictions on visiting hours.
It didn’t take long for KGH to see the positive effect, with patients’ families taking advantage of this policy change. No longer being shuttled out the door at 8pm, family members can stay together as much as they desire. Family members not only play a comforting role to patients, but are able to assist in practical ways too. They can help patients make bathroom visits, keep track of medications and learn how to provide care when the patient returns home
Now a few years in, the ‘Family Presence’1 policy isn’t without its critics. In a recent Globe & Mail video feature2, Leslee Thomson, President & CEO of KGH (right) addressed fears that a lack of visiting hours would translate into noisy rooms and hallways, preventing other patients from resting. In fact, noise has not been a problem, and Leslee reported that “common sense prevails” among patients and their visitors.
Having a support network of encouraging, positive people can be a key factor in the recovery of patients in hospital. It seems to me that allowing patients greater access to their loved ones can only serve to provide comfort, reduce stress and accelerate healing. This in turn will mean healthier patients who spend less time in hospital. It sounds like a win-win to me.
The blog was developed with the help of Jen Valberg, the new communications officer in our Faculty. Jen replaces Peter Aitken whose help has been invaluable for the last three years. We welcome Jen to her new job.
If you have any thoughts on hospital visiting hours (or lack thereof), please comment on the blog, or better yet…please drop by the Macklem House, my door is always open.