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Redefining ‘visitor’ at a California public hospital

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Anna Roth, the CEO at Contra Costa  (Calif.) Regional Medical Center, a county hospital, talks about how the institution shifted focus to make itself more welcoming to friends and families of patients.

“About a year ago, a young boy wasn’t allowed to be in our ICU with his grandfather, who had raised him, because it was after visiting hours. The grandfather passed away and the two lost the chance to say goodbye.

“That incident really hit home for me and our entire staff. We knew we could do better – for our patients and their families.”

”Our old policies treated family members like visitors, until we realized that we are the visitors in people’s lives, not the other way around. This was a huge cultural shift, and one that the staff here was courageous enough, bold enough and caring enough to undertake.”

”This experience was one of the reasons we implemented a “welcoming” policy at the end of 2013, eliminating restrictive visiting policies and the whole concept of “visitors” .

”Since then, we’ve had more than 7,000 people come after hours to be with their loved ones. Tracking the data is an important part of assessing success and we’re gathering input and feedback from staff and patients and their families.”

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