Family presence policies in Canadian hospitals have increased from 32% in 2015 to 73% in 2020, demonstrating a commitment family members as partners in care (CFHI, 2020). However, widespread visitor restrictions at healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted the delivery of person and family-centred care. Within 2 months of these initial visitor restrictions, HDGH was able to quickly mobilize an approach for reintegrating family onsite as essential care partners, which provided a unique opportunity to pioneer the role of the Designated Care Partner (DCP). Our Coordinated Care Program (CCP; policy included in supporting documents) was created in partnership with our PFAC to provide patients, staff and DCPs with a planned and coordinated approach to include family in the care of the patient. DCPs are chosen patients or substitute decision makers to act as an essential member of the care team and work with staff to provide specific aspects of the care plan to a patient during their stay at HDGH. Each DCP is provided with an ID badge to symbolize their partnership on the healthcare team and receives infection, prevention and control training as well as an orientation about the role and responsibilities of a DCP. The aim is to allow DCPs to provide physical, social, psychological, and emotional support to their loved one during their hospital stay, as needed based on patient need. DCPs are then uniquely situated to support a smoother care transition process and system navigation after the patient returns home.

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