Better Together Stories

Hospitals and healthcare organizations across the country have quickly realized the many benefits from implementing family presence policies. Hear from patients, families and health leaders how these policies have had a transformational effect on culture and care.

Better Together helps hospitals welcome families as partners in care

Health PEI When families are welcome to visit their loved ones in healthcare facilities, patients tend to do better. A growing body of evidence indicates that traditional visiting hours limiting the presence of family members can have negative effects on quality, costs and outcomes. Patient- and family-centred care is an approach to the planning, delivery and evaluation of healthcare that recognizes the importance of partnerships between healthcare providers, patients and families.


Prince Edward Island tells families, “You’re welcome to stay.”

Health PEI When CFHI launched a call for applications for its Better Together e-collaborative, Health PEI leadership was in the midst of discussing strategies for implementing patient-experience initiatives. When CFHI launched a call for applications for its Better Together e-collaborative, Health PEI leadership was in the midst of discussing strategies for implementing patient-experience initiatives. The group had recently completed a series of presentations to its facilities on patient- and family-centred care.


Harbour View Hospital Family Presence

Harbour View Harbour View joined the e-collaborative in May 2016 and immediately began to make changes. The improvement team set up a steering committee, developed an action plan, designed a new client and family information booklet and set out to revise its family presence guideline to include 24/7 visiting hours for families and loved ones. Harbour View set out specifically to implement a guideline that would meet patient needs – rather than reflect the improvement team’s wants and needs. To ensure this outcome, the improvement team had Brennick survey patients and families to get their input and feedback throughout the process.

At IWK in Halifax, Family Presence Policy Helps to Maintain Sense of Normalcy

Better Together Stories While pregnant with her second child, Catherine Gunn spent nine weeks at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, then remained around the clock when her newborn was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Every day, her husband visited with their 20-month old child. “It didn’t matter what time.They brought a crib in and we had family sleepovers. It was just about maintaining some sense of normalcy and keeping us together,” she says.


Saskatchewan Becomes First Province to Adopt Open Family Presence Policy

Patient Story PhotoWhen a loved one faces health problems, being close to family becomes more important than ever, says Charlene Guraluick. She saw that firsthand when her father-in-law, Sam, was in his last days at the Bengough Health Centre in southern Saskatchewan. “At the end stages of life, when every little glance or smile is precious, knowing he was comfortable and had everything he needed was comforting to us,” she says.


Advocate of Better Together Campaign Sees “Power of Presence” in Her Own Family Story

Patient Story PhotoIn her job, Christine Maika advocates for policies that enable families to be with their loved ones in the hospital as they wish, with no restricted hours. As a granddaughter, she saw the value of such policies firsthand. For years, Maika was used to having her beloved grandmother, Anne, around all the time. This was a three generation home in Ottawa, with mom, dad, eight kids, and a granny suite.


New Brunswick’s Horizon Health Network Adds Family Presence Policy to Boost the Care Experience

Patient Story PhotoRoger Stoddard is a regular at Saint John Regional Hospital in New Brunswick. In the past 15 years, the resident of Quispamsis, N.B. has had a dozen surgeries related to an old injury, and been hospitalized for other conditions too. Sometimes, Stoddard’s stays have lasted months. That’s why he’s thrilled that Horizon Health Network, which runs the hospital, has adopted a family presence policy.


B.C.’s Providence Health Care Sees Family Presence Policy as Way to Gain Partners in Care

Patient Story PhotoAt Providence Health Care in B.C., the focus is on “welcoming and embracing the family as partners in care,” says Candy Garossino, Director, Professional Practice and Nursing. “It’s a journey and a culture change.”A big part of that shift is Providence’s policy to allow families to visit their loved ones at any time, discarding formal visitor hours for families.



To Ottawa Hospital, Open Visitors Policy is Visible Sign of Commitment to Patient- and Family-Centred Care

Patient Story PhotoAs a nurse, Julie Sabourin understands the importance of family visits to a patient’s well-being and experience, and to the family’s too. She gained a different appreciation when her father, Robert, was a patient at her very own hospital.