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Media Contact: Christian Meagher, Communications Specialist

International “Pop-Up Coalition” Advocates for Preserving Family Presence in Hospitals and Long-Term Care Communities

By Christian Meagher on 5/28/2020

New recommendations for family presence in hospitals, long-term care communities and other care settings during the COVID-19 outbreak were released today. Planetree International, of Derby, CT, was one of more than 60 organizations that participated in an international “pop-up coalition” that developed the guidelines for a compassionate approach to family presence that balances the benefits of family’s physical presence with a loved one and the need to minimize the risks of transmission of COVID-19. The recommendations are now widely available to provide guidance to healthcare leaders and local and regional authorities on what constitutes responsible, compassionate family presence during, and in the aftermath of, a pandemic.

The Coalition to Preserve Family Presence included patient, resident, family and elder advocates, experts in quality, safety and infection control, clinicians, policymakers and leading voices in person-centered care from organizations including the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), International Network of Health Promoting Hospitals and Health Services,  National Quality Forum, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Institute for Patient and Family-Centered Care, American Nurses Association, American College of Healthcare Administrators (ACHCA), Pioneer Network and Planetree. Members convened for a rapid response to the current state of family presence restrictions that have emerged since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases, these restrictions prevent the most vulnerable from having a familiar support person by their side during childbirth, at the end-of-life, and during pediatric emergencies.

“Now is not the time to erode the tremendous progress that has been made to create more person-centered healthcare systems and environments,” said Planetree President Susan Frampton. “Planetree is proud to have contributed to these recommendations that demonstrate there are reasonable approaches for maintaining both safety and person-centeredness, even during a pandemic.”

The recommendations emphasize the importance of considering not only the risk that family presence may pose to the staff, patients, residents and loved ones, but also the risk that restrictions may create for the physical, emotional and psychological health of these same individuals. In particular, the Guidelines address concerns, in both the short and long term, for cases of pediatric care, childbirth, end-of-life situations and for individuals who medically require family at the bedside, including those who are non-verbal or cognitively impaired.

To download the Person-Centered Guidelines for Preserving Family Presence in Challenging Times, please visit bit.ly/familypresence.