Family Presence Policy

Because of COVID-19, Horizon’s Family Presence Policy was modified to help us prevent the spread of the virus in our facilities and safely provide quality care.

We recognize these current precautions are a difficult adjustment for patients, their family and friends, and health care staff. We will continue to review the risks and look forward to reintegrating family presence in our facilities as soon as it is safe to do so.

Please see Horizon’s current social visitation guidelines and strategies to help connect with your loved one.

As part of our Patient and Family Centred Care Philosophy, Horizon Health Network (Horizon) recognizes that family and friends are integral to patients’ healing process. Family and designated care partners are welcomed as essential members of the health care team and full partners in care.

Family/Partners in Care provide support, comfort, and important information sharing during a hospital stay or ambulatory visit regardless of time of day, day of the week or department. Horizon welcomes Family/Partners in Care at all times according to the patient preference.

Family Presence is balanced with patient, family and staff safety while protecting the confidentiality and privacy of all patients. This policy is intended to be flexible in order to respond to the diverse and individual needs and preferences of each patient.

Family/Partners in Care are welcomed 24 hours a day according to patient preferences and in coordination with the patient care team.

  • For ambulatory visits the presence of Family/Partner in Care is encouraged according to patient preference as space and safety considerations allow.
  • The number of people welcomed at the bedside at any one time is determined in collaboration with the patient, family and the patient care team. Where patients are in shared rooms, this consultation also involves the other patient and their family. To ensure safety, consideration is given to the physical limitations of the space available on the unit and in the patient room.
  • There may be interruptions to Family Presence to protect the privacy rights of other patients or to maintain safety, security or clinical requirements.
  • If the patient is incapable as per Consent to Treatment, an SDM may restrict or exclude some or all visitors to a patient if, in the patient’s care team’s opinion, restricting visitors is: consistent with the patient’s previously expressed wishes; consistent with the patient’s values; or in the patient’s best interest.

Family/Partners in Care:

  • During the daytime, family and visitors enter our facility through the main entrance. During the overnight hours, entrance is made through a mutually agreed upon location. Security Services Staff issue a temporary identification card to designated Family/Partners in Care for after-hours entry.
  • To ensure the health and safety of all patients, visitors and staff, all those visiting are requested to perform proper hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer before entering and exiting the patient room and the patient care unit. All family and visitors are also requested to refrain from using scented products.
  • Personal pet visitation is pre-arranged with the unit manager or member of the patient care team as per the Pet Visitation policies (local Area).
  • The visit may be interrupted by healthcare practitioners to provide patient care.
  • The bedside presence of children is supported based on the preference of the patient and the care team. An adult (other than the patient or staff member) must supervise the children.
  • The stay of Family/Partners in Care may be interrupted if circumstances change with the patient or the health status of other patients on the unit (i.e. flu season, infection prevention and control precautions, etc.).
  • If the Family/Partner in Care is unwell, it is asked that they stay home. Every effort is made to keep the Family/Partner in Care informed and involved with the plan of care for the patient.


  • Family/Partners in Care may spend the night with the patient if space is adequate; however, sleeping accommodations may not be available depending on the unit.
  • The Family/Partner in Care must be able to safely stay alone and take care of their own personal needs (food, refreshments, medications etc.).

Healthcare practitioners involved in the patients’ care converse and collaborate with patients and Family/Partners in Care so the best care experience can be maintained in a mutually beneficial partnership.

Noise and Disruptive Behaviour:

  • Family/Partners in Care will be mindful and sensitive to the needs of other patients, families and staff members by keeping noise and disruption to a minimum.
  • Disruptive behavior or unsafe practices are not tolerated. This includes but is not limited to: alcohol or illicit drug use; foul language; aggressive or disrespectful behaviour to staff members, patients or other family members; etc.
  • If behaviour becomes disruptive to any patient, family, staff or other visitor, or interferes with the general comfort, care, care planning, or decision making of any patient, the person causing the disruption will be asked to leave the facility by a member of the care team or Security Services.