Role of Families, Friends and Significant Others

Families, friends and significant others play a key role in supporting you both in the hospital and upon discharge to the community. We recognize that these individuals are key to supporting you physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually and we want that to continue throughout your stay with us.

We encourage you to have regular contact with them as they are your support network and the people that are important to you.

What role can my family, friends and significant others play during my stay?

Involvement by family, friends and significant others is important to you and your well-being and recovery. They are a source of support to you throughout your stay and after your discharge. We enjoy working with and involving them during your stay and at times we may ask for clarification about what role they play in your life and how they support you. This helps us to know who to communicate with, the type of information we can share with them and how you would like us to involve them in the decision-making process. If you have a Power of Attorney we will need a copy of that for your patient record so that we know who to speak to, should you become incapable with respect to making your own decisions. We want to involve others in your care to the extent that you are comfortable and on your consent or direction.

Can hospital staff provide my family and friends with information about my health?
Ontario has laws that govern the release of information and the hospital must follow the law. On your consent, we can provide information to the person identified by you as the person that should receive that information. You can also let us know if you don’t want information shared with specific people and we will respect that request. Just let us know the type of information we can release and to whom.

If you have a Power of Attorney we will need a copy of the legal paperwork for your patient record. For more information about disclosure of information, speak with your health care team.

What is expected of my family, friends and significant others?
We ask that you, your family, friends and significant others treat everyone with dignity, respect and courtesy, including hospital staff. We are committed to treating you, your family, friends and significant others with dignity and respect and working with you collaboratively throughout your stay.

The hospital does not tolerate any type of violence or threats, inappropriate or aggressive behavior and if this occurs your visitors will be asked to leave. Visitors need to follow the hospital policy, be aware of visiting hours and respect any direction provided to them by the health care team during the visit (i.e. wearing personal protective equipment, masks etc.).

What are the benefits of involving my family, friends and significant others during my hospital stay?
Involving the people in your life in your care has some of the following benefits:

  • They can help you understand the medical information you are being provided
  • Better able to assist you because they understand your health care and mobility needs
  • Provide you with emotional support and be your voice if you have difficulty asking questions
  • Be involved in discharge planning so your health care needs are met
  • They may provide different types of supports on discharge and they will be able to continue with the plan developed in the hospital
  • Contribute to decision-making with the health care team and supporting you to have choices and make informed decisions
  • They know your history and can provide detailed information that the team may need to know
  • Assist in identifying your preferences including cultural issues, religion, your beliefs about care and treatment and helping to clarify this information with the team
  • They gain a greater understanding and appreciation for your limitations and how assistive devices or home modifications may support your transition from hospital to your place of residence

Can family members or friends attend “family meetings”?
Yes. If you would like them to attend the family meeting with you to provide you with support and to assist in decision-making that is encouraged just let us know and we can invite them to the meeting. They can join the meeting in person or connect by teleconference to the family meeting, it is up to them on how they would like to participate. At times these meetings can be emotional because you may be hearing information that is upsetting to you so having someone there to support you can help put you at ease.

Can my family be involved in discharge planning?
Yes. We can talk to your family, friends or significant others, if you choose when we are identifying barriers to discharge and starting to plan for your discharge from hospital. Often families and friends will assist and support patients upon discharge and it is important that the health care team knows what role they will play.

Who should my family contact if they have concerns about my care?
If you or your family have any concerns about the care you are receiving you can contact:

  • Clinical Resource Nurse (CRN/Charge Nurse) – Ext. 2161 or 2950
  • Manager of Complex Care and Rehabilitation Services – Ext. 2308
  • Patient Experience Office - Ext. 2184 or

Click here to view/download our Caregiver Guide.

Click here to visit the Ontario Caregiver Organization website.