Confusion around which patients can or can’t have visitors
Published Tuesday, April 7, 2020 6:40PM MDT Last Updated Tuesday, April 7, 2020 6:48PM MDT
EDMONTON -- An Alberta father who was told Friday he wouldn’t be able to visit his teenage son in hospital, said on Tuesday staff are now allowing one visitor.
On Saturday, Jason Desjarlais told CTV News staff that the Foothills Medical Centre’s adolescent mental health ward told him he would no longer be able to visit his 15-year-old son.
On Friday afternoon AHS and the province announced a visitor ban to all hospitals — except for maternity care, children who are patients and visitors seeing a patient who is dying.
Desjarlais had been confused about why the exception didn’t apply to his 15 year old son. Late Tuesday afternoon, the unit’s manager called him to clarify the rules and tell him one visitor would be allowed.
“She did say in her message that she was working over the weekend to clarify and they got clarification Monday morning,” Desjarlais said.
It was a huge relief for the father.
“It means so much to us to have that physical face-to-face contact, that hug that you can give him to let him know everything is going to be ok,” said Desjarlais.
Unable to visit in person, the family surprised 15 year old Kirk Desjarlais by showing up outside his hospital window on the weekend with signs that read “We heart Kirk”.
“It was a lift for all, not only him bus us as well,” said Jason Desjarlais.
In an email, Alberta Health Services Spokesperson Kerry Williamson said an exception is in place so that pediatric patients can have visitors.
“This may be a family member, friend or paid caregiver over 18 years of age. However, this is limited to just one essential visitor – people cannot swap that role to visit a loved one,” said Williamson said.
The rules won’t be changing for other patients like Ken Bulman who is recovering after five weeks of intensive care.
“It was terrible at first I was broken-hearted. My daughter, especially, and my son have been there the whole way through,” said Bulman.
Bulman’s family was told a few weeks ago he might not survive but since he is now recovering he is taking the change in stride.
“I’m getting more rest, I’m not talking 12 hours a day, using the air that I do have. There is a shining light in it but it took a long time to see the shining light.”