Better Together


Family presence policies encourage patients to identify the family members and loved ones they would like to have stay with them while they are in hospital. The Better Together: Partnering with Families campaign encourages hospitals to adopt family presence policies, which view family members as “partners in care” rather than as “visitors.” Family presence policies enable designated family members or friends to stay by a patient’s bedside 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hospital visiting hours do not apply.

The Better Together campaign calls on hospitals nationwide to take the pledge, and to begin the process of implementing family presence policies as a practical step towards delivering more patient- and family-centred care. Patients and families also play an important role in encouraging family presence in our healthcare system.

In spring of 2016, four IMAGINE volunteers convened a working group to tackle the lack of Canadian, citizen-focused materials about this campaign. The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) drew on their partnership with the Institute for Patient and Family Centred Care in the U.S.A., which has developed some excellent materials. The thought was, however, that a made-in-Canada set of materials would be useful since it could reflect Canadians’ experiences, our languages and our public healthcare culture. By the summer of 2016, a small working group of IMAGINE volunteers was meeting with CFHI, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Patients Canada and several patient representatives to create two tip sheets, found below:bt_partnersincareconversationsv2These two documents are designed to support the movement for family presence in healthcare.

The first document, Partner Tips, is intended to be used by patients and families at the point of care (e.g. at the bedside, in an office or clinic).

Français: Conseils pour être un partenaire de soins

The second document, Conversation Tips, is intended to be a resource for patients and families in conversations with healthcare providers, or organizations, or communities.

Français: Conversations sure la présence des familles – conseils pour le patient, la famille, le conseiller et le citoyen conversations avec les partenaires de la santé

Please feel free to download, copy, distribute and use these documents (you will need Adobe Reader.) You are welcome to adapt them to meet your local team’s needs.


These materials were finalized in this form in December 2016, and are still in a PILOT phase.

Want to have your say?! Be part of the pilot for these documents.

The volunteers with IMAGINE would appreciate your feedback and comments about these two documents. Please click these links to complete the two surveys about each document:

IMAGINE’s volunteers will review the comments we receive so that any significant edits can be incorporated.  New versions will be available periodically, every six months or so, through the partner organizations.

We have received some very good feedback on the surveys, and a new round of edits would benefit from some additional volunteers from IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health.

You too can get involved!

Contact Troy at troy@stooke.ca if you are interested in helping. Next review likely in July 2017. Thank you for your help!