Hospital visitation guidelines halt N.B. family from visiting dying mother
FREDERICTON -- Three days ago, Cathy Godin’s mother, Antoinette, was moved to the palliative care unit of the Campbellton Regional Hospital. The 86-year-old had been in hospital since February and, because of the pandemic, Godin and her five siblings haven’t been able to visit her since March.
Restrictions have loosened, but Godin says Vitalité Health Network has limited visitation to two designated visitors.
“Right now, the two designated visitors are my oldest sister and younger brother,” Godin said. “Looking at the fact that they opened up a bubble between the Atlantic provinces, yet we can’t make a simple, short visit to our mother in palliative care?”
The family is worried they’re running out of time.
“She took a turn for the worst and her organs started to shut down. They said there’s nothing they can do for her now at this point. It’s not easy. It’s very difficult, and she’d like for us to be there.”
She’s calling for Vitalité to reconsider its visitor policies, before it’s too late.
CTV Atlantic requested an interview with Vitalité Health Network on their visitation policies. The network sent a statement from its CEO and President, GillesLanteigne.
In the statement, it read “Our policy around visitation balances compassion and safety by carefully weighing the risks and the benefits of doing so, for the time being, only two designated visitors are allowed for palliative care patients at the Campbellton Regional Hospital and in all Vitalité’s hospital facilities. Ultimately, this decision has been made to protect patients, visitors and staff in order to ensure their safety.”
But this policy differs from New Brunswick’s largest regional health authority, Horizon Health Network.
On June 22, that network changed its policy to allow any healthy visitor to see a patient, so long as it’s only one at a time.
As far as palliative care patients, Horizon Health Network also said they “may have two visitors at a time and visiting hours may be adjusted for these patients. Palliative care patients receiving end-of-life care may also have ONE additional visitor (pastoral/spiritual care), to provide comfort to the patient, family and loved ones during the end-of-life period.”
Vitalité Health says its policies reflect the current pandemic situation, and are in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Campbellton Regional Hospital, which is managed by Vitalité, did undergo an outbreak in June, but the province’s chief medical officer of health says she feels much better about the situation in that zone.
“It’s now very much resolved in a very position way with the exception of a few outstanding cases,” Dr. Jennifer Russell said Friday.
As of Saturday, one active case remained in the province. The person is being treated in hospital.