Why are caregivers still not allowed to support loved ones in our hospitals?

It's National Caregiver Day, and we want to hear from you. What's it going to take to recognize that caregivers are so much more than just visitors?

Lisa Machado 2 minute read April 5, 2022
national caregiver day

Valuing caregivers as critical partners in health care is long overdue.

April 5 was National Caregiver Day — a day to recognize the value that caregivers bring to the lives of patients. They are more than just visitors — they are experts in lived experience who improve patient outcomes and make our health-care system better. So why aren’t they recognized as partners? We’d love to hear what you think. Send comments to info@healthing.com and we’ll add them to the story page.

Soon, it will be one year since my brother died in hospital without his family around him. It is little more than a year from when Sophia Michaluk lost her father, who spent three weeks in hospital, not seeing his wife and daughter until the day he died. Van Le’s dad, who didn’t speak english, also died in hospital, going days without communicating with his wife and three adult children. Visitor restrictions also meant they were prevented from advocating for him, explaining what was happening in a language he could understand, and providing the love and comfort that everyone deserves in their final days.

These stories were just three of the many we have received at Healthing from readers who have shared what being a caregiver looks like in a pandemic. From sleeping in their cars in hospital parking lots just in case the health of their loved one — who was being treated inside — became critical, to being forced to leave a family member at the ER doors never to see them alive again, to patients left alone to hear terrifying diagnoses, endure painful tests and treatments, and sit in long-term care for days without the company of the people they love most — we’d love to say that stories like these have stopped coming. They have not.

In the more than two years since the pandemic began, we have seen the harm that restricting access has had on the mental health of family and caregiver partners, but also on patient outcomes. The impact has been devastating. Patients should never be denied access to their essential caregiver, or a loved one — even in a crisis.

Healthing salutes those who care for others. To those who tirelessly support and advocate for patients in hospitals, in long-term care and retirement home settings, despite the impossible conditions created both by the pandemic and the refusal of health-care leaders to recognize caregivers as essential — we see you.

We recognize the value of the role you play in making outcomes better, improving quality of care and making Canada’s health-care system stronger.

It’s time for change.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts below in the Comments section. And thanks, as always, for your support. #MoreThanAVisitor

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