Not being restricted to when we could come was what our family needed. Having that flexibility really helped us. The nurses never rushed us. They encouraged us to take breaks but we were never asked to leave. It was such a long, hard battle for Jim and the compassion shown to us by everyone at STEGH, and the fact that we didn’t have to work around visiting hours made it easier for all of us.

Sonia McComb, daughter-in-law of Jim, a former patient at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital

The University Health Network (UHN), recognizes that the involvement of caregivers, such as family and friends, is a key component of patient-centered care. UHN recognizes that caregivers provide support and assistance to each and every patient in a way that is important and meaningful. UHN also recognizes that it is the patient’s right to identify individuals whom they view as “caregivers” and who will be their “partners in care”. As such, UHN has an open policy regarding patient visitation on all units. Patient visiting is welcomed at all times unless indicated by the patient’s condition or unless the patient, physician or unit manager requests restrictions on visitation. Patient visiting is also subject to possible exceptions due to concerns around communicable diseases. We are committed to working together to make this a truly patient centred experience.

Sharon Rogers, Senior Director of Patient Relations and Hospital Ombudsman University Health Network, Toronto

This CFHI report, and others like it, are building on a national dialogue around what person-centred care looks like in practice. Central to the work ahead is the need to integrate the direct voices of patients and their loved ones – this is how we guide change forward in a way that is meaningful.

Michael Decter, Board Chair, Patients Canada

Having my family with me while I was in hospital not only made the experience more tolerable, it was also an important part of easing my transition back home. They had been with me every step of the way which meant they understood how to support me when I left the hospital.

Emily Nicholas Angl, Patient Advisor, Patients Canada, and Director of Health Communications, Evans Health Lab

I appreciate how CFHI’s report mentions the need for flexibility as part of the family presence policy. We can have the best policies in place, but to really be people-centred we have to allow for responsiveness to individual needs.

Emily Nicholas Angl, Patient Advisor, Patients Canada, and Director of Health Communications, Evans Health Lab

I don’t remember anything else after my own surgery except my husband’s relieved face. It was important for me to show my husband that I’m OK; that surgery went well. As a nurse, I know how important it is for family members to visit their loved one in order to relieve their anxiety. For the first time at TGH, one or two loved ones are allowed to visit a patient for five minutes after the patient has woken up after surgery. Families leave smiling, teary-eyed, they are so overwhelmed with emotion. They are so grateful for this short visit to make sure their loved one is okay.

Donna Williams, Nurse Manager, Perioperative Services, Toronto General Hospital (TGH). This year, she and her team launched Post Anesthetic Care Unit (PACU) visiting at TGH.

Seeing is believing. When I saw my wife after surgery, I knew everything was going to be okay. It was so reassuring.

Marcus George, the husband of Donna Williams