Better Together Policy Roundtable

Held September 25-26, 2017
Ottawa, ON

Since 2014, CFHI has championed the Better Together Campaign to encourage the adoption of family presence policies across Canada. What started as a grassroots movement is now sweeping the country. Nearly 50 Canadian hospital and healthcare organizations, including the provinces of Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have pledged to the Better Together campaign and are now reviewing or have already adopted family presence policies. We know many more organizations across the country are taking on this challenge as well.

The evidence continues to build, supporting family presence and enhanced patient involvement in their care as one strategy to improve safety, quality, and experience of care 1,2 .

To maintain momentum and continue to spread family presence policies across Canada, CFHI hosted a pan-Canadian Roundtable in mid-September. At the roundtable, we aimed to facilitate the exchange of evidence and experience for provinces and territories that want to learn more about this work and explore applying it within their own jurisdictions. 

Report of the Better Together Policy Roundtable » 

CFHI provided livestreaming of the event. Watch now »

Definition of Family Presence

Family presence policies enable patients to designate family members and loved ones who can stay by their side 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Family presence policies are a practical step for organizations to implement patient and family centered practices that enhance quality, safety and patient and family experience of care. This change in policy and practice of family presence represents a cultural shift that recognizes the role of families as partners in care and has the potential to catalyze patient- and family-centred care and patient and family engagement at large.

Meeting Aim

To bring together leadership from government, organizational partners, and advisors to learn from provincial jurisdictions who have implemented family presence policies across healthcare organizations within their jurisdictions and to gain an understanding of the practical implementation of this policy. Leaders left day two of the policy roundtable with clear, actionable next steps to begin the process of adoption within their jurisdictions.

Patient Scholarship Application Now Closed

Meeting Objectives


  • Shared experiences and considered the evidence about family presence policies and practices
  • Learned from others who have successfully implemented province-wide family presence policies and practices
  • Identified common enablers and barriers and developed strategies to address implementation challenges
  • Understood the role of patient and family advisors as partners in the development, implementation and evaluation of this policy change 
  • Learned how to apply family presence policies and practices in their own jurisdictions through an introduction to available tools and resources to support policy adoption and practice change, as well as measure the difference it makes

Rodakowski, J., Rocco, P. B., Ortiz, M., Folb, B., Schulz, R., Morton, S. C., Leathers, S. C., Hu, L. and James, A. E. (2017), Caregiver Integration During Discharge Planning for Older Adults to Reduce Resource Use: A Metaanalysis. J Am Geriatr Soc. doi:10.1111/jgs.14873

2 Institute for Patient and Family Centered Care. "Facts and Figures" About Family Presence and Participation. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from