Family caregiver holding new identification badge for Bridgepoint's Family Presence Policy

Steven Reece has a new caregiver ID badge so that he can be by his wife’s side any time 24-hours a day.

For over a decade, Steven Reece has been an active member of his wife’s health care team both at home and in hospital. With a range of complex health conditions, Steven has been the one constant team member throughout his wife’s care. He is able to anticipate her needs and knows how important it is to keep her schedule of medications, exercise and appointments on track.

Steven’s wife has been a patient at Bridgepoint for a year, and the care and support that he provides to his wife is indispensable. But Steven is no stranger to the policies of hospitals that say visiting hours end at 8 p.m. In fact, there have been many times when he’s been told by hospital staff and security that he must leave. But how can you tell a valuable member of a care team that they must leave, when they know the patient better than anyone?

“Having to visit during visiting hours has been restricting. There have been many occasions when it just doesn’t work to get there by the time visiting hours are over and I’ve ended up having to ask for special permission to come in,” says Steven.

Bridgepoint has spent the last year reviewing the impact of our visiting hours. Research shows that the presence of families and caregivers during a hospital stay improves outcomes, reduces the risk of falls and decreases readmission.

That’s why, as of June 5, 2018, Bridgepoint is welcoming families and caregivers with 24 hour access to their loved ones. As part of this process, Quiet Hours are being introduced from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. so patients can get the rest they need without restricting the access to families and caregivers. Each patient is able to designate up to two caregivers who are able to stay with them during these Quiet Hours. Family caregivers who stay during Quiet Hours will be issued a caregiver badge from security giving them access to the units of their loved ones.

“I’ll now be able to do some of my own errands (taking care of myself) and then come in for a visit without having to ask for permission,” adds Steven. “This is a very significant change and formalizes that there is something worthwhile to family and patient centred care.”

Not only does this change give families the option to stay during Quiet Hours, it gives families the option to visit after 8 p.m or before 11 a.m. For many visitors, those few extra hours are exactly what they need.

Implementing our Family Presence Policy at Bridgepoint is a major milestone in our Quality Improvement Plan. Because at Sinai Health we promote and support a patient and family centred approach to care and know that families are an integral part of our collaborative care team. This is just one of the first steps in engaging patients and their family caregivers in the care we provide.

Changing our visiting hours is one of the ways we are co-designing a caregiver friendly hospital and community through our Cultivating Change project with The Change Foundation and WoodGreen Community Services.