A call to relax no-visitor policies at hospitals in Canada

Hospitals in Canada should relax policies that bar families and caregivers from visiting loved ones, as the restrictions may result in more harm than good, argue authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

They suggest there is limited evidence that supports the spread of COVID-19 by visitors within hospitals and that, with proper precautions, restrictions implemented during the first wave of the pandemic can be relaxed.

Extensive evidence shows that family members and caregivers are important in patient-centred care, helping with feeding, mobility, emotional support, patient advocacy and more.

“We argue that in the current wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, hospitals should adopt more accommodating visitor policies with careful use of personal protective equipment and monitoring, paying careful attention to community prevalence of COVID-19 and, in the future, immunization status,” the authors write.

Listen to a podcast with the authors: https://soundcloud.com/cmajpodcasts/202636-com

The case for relaxing no-visitor policies in hospitals during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic” is published December 18, 2020.