Family Presence

Please note this important COVID-19 information for support people/visitors.

At NSHA facilities the patient can name up to two people who will be their family or primary support person/people. The patient also defines how these people will be involved in care and decision-making. Support person(s) are welcome 24 hours a day — according to patient preference — as full partners in care. The person(s) chosen as family/primary support person may change over time as specified by the patient.

Please talk your health care team about your family/primary support people.

Role of family/primary support people

We encourage family/primary support person(s) to share questions or concerns with the health care team about the patient’s daily needs, care goals and readiness to be sent home from hospital.

We ask family/primary support person(s) to designate a spokesperson as the primary point of contact among family members and hospital staff.

The family/primary support person is welcome to spend the night with the patient where there is enough space. The family/primary support person must be able to safely stay alone and care for themselves. The family/primary support person is responsible for their own food, personal care items and tidying their sleeping area.

The family/primary support person must be sensitive to the needs of other patients and families and keep noise and disturbances to a minimum.


We may interrupt Family Presence to provide appropriate patient care and/or to protect the privacy rights of other patients. We will make decisions case by case.

If a family/primary support person’s behaviour becomes disruptive or unsafe to families, staff or other visitors – or interferes with patient care – we may ask that person to leave.

The family/primary support person should NOT be present if they are feeling unwell, have an infection or any of the following symptoms: cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.

iPads are available for patients to use during virtual visits to connect with families and other members of their circle of care. Please speak with a member of your health care team to access this complimentary service.

The family/primary support person and visitors must clean their hands upon entering and leaving the patient room.

For more information, please see our Family Presence Policy.