Essential Care Partners at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
by Julie Creamer
In May 2021, Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre (TBRHSC) welcomed back Essential Care Partners (ECPs) for all admitted patients as a result of the low number of active COVID-19 cases and rising vaccination numbers in Thunder Bay and across Northwestern Ontario.
Essential Care Partners are defined as an individual identified by the patient who directly impacts the physical, emotional, and psychological well being and safety of patients. They are an integral and important part of good health care, improving patient safety, and quality of care.
Throughout the pandemic, TBRHSC followed a framework that outlines a safe, compassionate, and evidence-informed approach to limiting in-person visits in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Visitor limitations are not intended to be strict or rigid. TBRHSC currently allows one ECP per inpatient, with additional ECPs for defined circumstances. Patients and family members can contact TBRHSC’s Care Partner Liaisons for additional information and support.
Care Partner Liaisons (CPLs) enhance the communication between the health care team, the patient, and ECPs during increased restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. There are CPLs located throughout the inpatient units and the Emergency Department.
“The added stress of pandemic restrictions in the Hospital is not a burden we want our patients and families to experience,” said Sarah Chadwick, Inpatient Care Partner Liaison. “We take extraordinary steps to connect each patient with their Essential Care Partners, either in person or virtually. We’ve also become a great resource for other staff when they have questions or concerns about the ECP guidelines to ensure they are providing quality Patient and Family Centred Care”, continued Chadwick. “I love being an advocate for patients in our Hospital, and reuniting patients with family or friends on a daily basis is truly the most rewarding”.
Patients coming for outpatient or emergency services are encouraged to attend their visit alone when able, due to space limitations. However, one ECP will be approved as needed (e.g. patient’s with physical, cognitive, mental health, communication, and behavioral needs). If you have any questions regarding your visit, please contact the outpatient department directly. If you are accessing the Emergency Department, please contact the department’s dedicated Care Partner Liaison at (807) 630-6272.
To ensure a safe visit, ECPs must follow TBRHSC’s policies and procedures, such as coming through main entrance to be screened, wearing a Hospital-provided mask, and verifying ECP access (photo identification required). This process may take a moment, and we ask for your continued patience.
If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the Inpatient Care Partner Liaison at (807) 684-7865. If you are declined ECP access you can contact our Patient Advocate at (807) 629-3887 and/or the unit manager. For TBRHSC’s full ECP guidelines, visit www.tbrhsc.net.