A Calgary hospital is taking steps to include families in patient care — even in grave situations.
The South Health Campus has a hospital-wide philosophy that focuses on the family bond and loved ones are encouraged to be present in many situations, like during resuscitation.
Staff from the South Health Campus will present their findings to the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement's international conference in Vancouver today.
Tune in to CBC Calgary television news tonight starting at 5 p.m. MT to find out how doctors feel about the policy.
Staff members are then available to talk the family through what's being done.
"When the family's not there they often ask a lot of questions like, 'Did you do this, did you do that, how come you weren't able to save my family member,'" said Dr. Colin Del Castilho, an ER physician and medical director at the hospital.
"Whereas when they're there they are able to say, 'Ya, I saw they did everything they could and they probably did more than they needed to do.' So it just helps them get that sense of closure."
Lisa Lazenby got to experience the hospital's philosophy when her two-month-old son Abel had a seizure and stopped breathing.
As doctors worked to insert a breathing tube, she was encouraged to stay by his side.
"It was pretty chaotic. I was in shock and afraid," she said.
"I was just kind of up near the top, kind of singing and kissing his head."
Hospital manager Joanne Ganton says hearing a familiar voice, or feeling a recognizable touch, can be helpful and reassuring to both the family and patient.
Lazenby's son is now a happy toddler, and she says the experience changed how she looks at the health-care system.
"I wasn't just a bystander," she said. "I was who he needed and I needed him. They made me part of the team."