A concerned daughter complained on behalf of her mother who was an alternative level of care (ALC) patient at a reactivation centre waiting for a bed in a long-term care home.
The daughter was concerned because she was restricted with the amount of time she could take her mother off-site to spend time with family and attend other appointments – she felt it was restrictive and did not consider her mother’s health and overall well-being.
The daughter had been informed that she could only take you mother off-site two times a month for a maximum of four hours. In her mother’s case, one of these passes was often applied to dental or other appointments.
After multiple attempts to get an explanation for the restrictions, she was informed there was no formal policy.
Patient Ombudsman confirmed that the hospital had no formal policy for patient leaves from the hospital and no clinical rationale offered to the family.
Patient Ombudsman suggested in order to be fair to patients and families, a clear policy concerning off-site visits be developed and shared with patient and families.
Patient Ombudsman also suggested that a clinical ethicist be included as part of the policy development.
The hospital agreed to follow Patient Ombudsman’s suggestions and developed a policy in consultation with their ethicist.
The policy outlines the clinical considerations used in assessing requests for leaves and increased the amount of time for informal off-site visits.
The hospital clarified that absences for appointments would not be factored into time limits.