What is the definition of a designated care partner?
It refers to people—family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, community members—who provide critical and often ongoing personal, social, psychological and physical support, assistance and care, without pay for people in need of support due to frailty, illness, degenerative disease, physical/cognitive/mental disability, or end of life circumstances.
Designated care partners are distinct from casual visitors as they are most familiar with the patient’s diagnosis and health status, have been performing health care, treatment and personal tasks for a patient with complex needs, they know their loved one best and are uniquely attuned to subtle changes in their behaviour or status.
It is recommended that care partner presence include, but not be limited to:
- Those with critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end of life, and medical assistance in dying and the deceased.
- Presence paramount to the patient’s physical care and mental well-being, including:
- Assistance with meals;
- Assistance with mobility;
- Assistance with personal care;
- Communication assistance for persons with hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual or memory impairments;
- Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities;
- Provision of emotional support;
- Supported decision making; and
- Pediatric care, labour and delivery.
- Presence required to move belongings in or out of a patient’s room.
- Presence to support discharge.
Who determines who is a care partner?
Patients should be the one to determine their designated care partner. This could be a loved one, friend, family, neighbour, colleague, community member. A patient who has a substitute decision maker (SDM) can choose someone other than their SDM to be their care partner.
What is the definition of end of life?
End-of-life is defined as having a Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) of 30 percent or less.
Do the same visitor restrictions apply if I am discharged or transferred from another hospital?
It’s important to note that care partner access varies by organization (other hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes) and patients might experience different restrictions between facilities.
Are outdoor visits appropriate?
In some areas, outdoor visits (weather permitting) could be an appropriate option and is at the discretion of the care team. Visitors must follow the same requirements set out for indoor visits and these visits must take place in designated areas (as approved by the unit manager) and only with the designated care partner.
Do the same restrictions apply across the entire organization?
Yes, it’s important that to reduce variability of practise across units, that everyone remains consistent with the application of these directions. Variability can lead to unnecessary confusion and distress for patients, families and healthcare providers.
I heard that long-term care homes require visitors to get mandatory testing, why is testing not mandated for hospitals?
Currently, testing is not mandated for visitors entering our Health Centre. The decision to move to new visitor limitations was based on low COVID-19 activity in our district, strong screening precautions and on-site surveillance being done by infection prevention and control.
If I am not a designated care partner, how can I stay connected to my loved one?
While we have visitor limitations in place, we want to ensure that you stay connected with your loved one who is in the hospital during this time. Virtual care and family connection is strongly encouraged and should be supported where in-person connection is not possible.
Below are some ways you can stay connected.
There are no fees for local calls on bedside phones.
There are no fees for internet access at the bedside.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we are pleased to be able to provide free basic Wi-Fi internet access until further notice, to help everyone stay better connected with family and friends.
How can I drop off items for my loved one?
With the introduction of care partners (essential visitors) into the facility, we ask that food deliveries and patient belongings (e.g. clean clothing, electronic device with the charger, toiletries) now be brought in with care partners during dedicated visiting hours (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. & 5 to 8 p.m.). If the assigned care partner is unable to assist, special arrangement can be made for personal belongings that are dropped off at the screening desk. NBRHC does not have capacity to accept food deliveries for inpatients.