Back to Top The Ottawa Hospital opens visiting hours to encourage family presence - The Ottawa Hospital Website scanner for suspicious and malicious URLs



The Ottawa Hospital opens visiting hours to encourage family presence

The Ottawa Hospital opens visiting hours to encourage family presence

When Julie Sabourin’s father, Robert Sabourin, was in hospital, she found that flexibility in visiting hours made a big difference to her family.

When Julie Sabourin’s father was an inpatient at The Ottawa Hospital’s General Campus, the official 3 to 8 p.m. visiting hours didn’t work well with her shifts as a nurse.

But, she said, the unit staff let her visit outside the regular hours. They knew she was there to help.

Since September 2015, family members like Sabourin haven’t had to worry about breaking the rules: the hospital now has an open visiting policy. Families are encouraged to visit when it works for them and their loved one.

“We know that when families are here, patients are less anxious, they heal faster and they don’t feel as isolated,” said Evelyn Kerr, Director of Nursing Clinical Practice. Kerr co-chaired the hospital’s Family Presence Working Group alongside Director of Mental Health Chris Clement.

Studies have shown that open visiting hours reduce patient falls and improve hospital readmission rates. When families are present for discharge instructions, they’re more likely to understand what they need to do when their loved one gets home, said Kerr.

Sabourin said she sees big benefits for allowing families to visit when it works for them.

“I was glad I was with my dad when the doctors were there. Many times, he wouldn’t understand but he would nod that he did,” said Sabourin. “Families are patient advocates and they often have crucial medical information.”

In addition, she said, open visiting hours can give a sense of control to patients who might otherwise feel overwhelmed: “I would ask him when he wanted me to be there, and it gave him more power to be involved.”

Nurses may still need to ask families to wait outside while they talk to another patient or provide care, said Kerr, and common sense must prevail when it comes to rooms with multiple patients. “If there are a lot of people in a room, and someone is trying to sleep, that can be difficult. But, we can work with the families and find a solution that works for them,” she said.

In the end, everyone wants the patient to heal and recover, said Sabourin, so it’s important to balance rest with family visits.

“It’s the little things that normally we can do independently in a day’s routine that I enjoyed being able to help him with, like shaving or washing his hair,” she said. “It’s a different kind of medicine that is underestimated for well-being and helping to stay positive in a hospital room.”


Comment on this post

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You might also like…

This website gives you common facts, advice and tips. Some of it may not apply to you. Please talk to your doctor, nurse or other health-care team member to see if this information will work for you. They can also answer your questions and concerns.