Changes to Manitoba hospital visitation 'good news' says man who filed human rights complaint against HSC
Cameron Slimmon has filed a human rights complaint against the Health Science Centre alleging staff wouldn't allow his caregivers to be with him in hospital. (Source: Cameron Slimmon/Facebook)
WINNIPEG -- A Winnipeg man who launched a human rights complaint against the Health Sciences Centre after being denied a caregiver while in hospital says new changes to visitation rules in Manitoba hospitals are a step in the right direction, but more clarity is needed.
Shared Health told CTV News it is modifying its hospital visitor guidelines to allow patients to identify one 'essential care partner.'
Under the guidelines, this essential care partner will be allowed to be with the patient in certain circumstances, such as helping them with communication, care planning, and decision-making, and in cases where a patient normally has constant care.
Shared Health said there is a difference between an 'essential care partner' said and 'visitors,' adding visitor access is restricted during this time.
While it is allowing essential care partners, Shared Health said virtual communication is preferred and is asking patients and their families to work with their care team and facility to arrange visitation for essential care partners where in-person support is required.
"It's very good news that they are finally taking this matter seriously," Cameron Slimmon said in an interview with CTV News.
"Right now it is not necessary that I be in hospital and obviously I wouldn't want to go. However, it would make me a lot more comfortable."
Slimmon, who lives with spinal muscular atrophy and has trained caregivers who help him communicate, launched a human rights complaint against the Health Sciences Centre alleging his caregivers were not allowed to stay with him after he was admitted to hospital in November.
He said without his caregivers, he was not able to communicate his needs to the hospital staff. He told CTV News the experience was "extremely frightening and frustrating and frankly traumatizing."
"It was proven that they could not look after Cameron before," Slimmon's mother Maureen said. "The staff could not understand him; they didn't know how to look after the respirator. The staff was not trained to do so and this caused much grievance to Cameron."
While the changes in visitation rules are a move in the right direction, Slimmon and his family said they still have some questions to which they have not yet been able to get the answers.
Slimmon has 24-hour care divided into three shifts from caregivers. Slimmon's parents said they don't know if these visitation changes allow only one person to be with him in hospital, or if multiple caregivers will be able to rotate shifts.
CTV News has reached out to Shared Health for clarification but has not yet heard back.
A spokesperson for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority confirmed all of its hospitals in the region, as well as hospitals province-wide, will be implementing these changes.
Slimmon said he will still be pursuing the human rights complaint he filed earlier in December, adding what happened to him at Health Sciences Centre was wrong.
"Just in general, it is very disheartening that it takes such a strong public presence and legal action for the hospital to take what you think would be common sense," Slimmon said.
-with files from CTV's Devon McKendrick