Windsor Regional Hospital is considering extending its visiting hours.

Currently, the visiting hours are noon to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Staff makes exceptions in special cases, such as maternity ward visits and when someone is at the end of life.
Now, Windsor Regional Hospital is asking patients, staff and doctors how they can make the hours more flexible every day.

"We've looked at practices at other hospitals, American and Canadian, to get a sense of what's out there, what other organizations are doing," hospital spokesperson Steve Erwin said.

One of the hospitals Windsor Regional Hospital checked out is Kingston General Hospital, where you can visit 24/7.

The hospital started that in 2010 after hearing input from patients and families there.

Kingston General Hospital president and CEO Leslee Thompson says there are still some common-sense rules for visitors to follow.

"If sleep was a priority for the patient, then that patient would be guiding their friends and family and saying 'I need my sleep, so please come between X and Y,'" Thompson said. "But it would be guided by the patient not by the institution."

Erwin said Windsor Regional Hospital is consulting staff and patients about changes.

"We're checking in with the patient and their medical team, in terms of what they need and what rest they need and the hours that may be suitable, so it's offering more flexibility," Erwin said. "I wouldn't call it 24/7 accessibility, but it's definitely going to be a more accessible guidelines for the community."

Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare is also reviewing its visitor policy.

It treats palliative care patients, so the hospital already makes exceptions, but there are things to consider.

"Firstly, providing appropriate access and visitation by family and loved ones; that's certainly an important part of care and well-being and getting better," said Bill Marra, a senior director at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. "Secondly, we want to ensure we ... minimize disruption as well to our health-care providers, as far as the number of people visiting, the number of people in a patient room."

Windsor Regional Hospital and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare expect to complete reviews of visiting hours polices by fall and announce any policy changes then.