The Misericordia Community Hospital in Edmonton will open five compassion rooms on Feb. 19, offering spaces for families and loved ones to stay close to patients 24 hours a day.
“Compassion rooms allow us to ensure that our patients can be with their loved ones during difficult times,” senior operating officer Janet Schimpf said.
“These are dedicated spaces for patients who need their family or loved ones with them at all times, whether to ease anxiety or help navigate their care.”
Compassion rooms will be available to patients who are particularly vulnerable, Covenant Health said.
“These rooms are going to be used for patients or their families where we know that it’s a difficult journey,” Schimpf explained. “For example, those patients who may be dying within the next few days… It may be patients that have a delirium so they need family presence to calm. It may be patients where we have a language barrier… and it’s really important the family is there to help them with their care delivery.”
Another scenario where room for additional loved ones may be needed is during pregnancy loss.
“When mom and dad find out the baby has died in utero, it really is a shattering of their hopes and dreams and the ability then to have family with them to support them through that journey,” Schimpf said.
These five rooms will have pull-out beds or fold-down chairs for people to sleep in. Coffee makers and fridges with sandwiches and juice will also be available. Patients and families will be able to eat together in the rooms and access the hospital’s made-to-order food service, if they wish.
“Helping them stay together is one way we can partner with them to give them the best experience possible,” Schimpf said.
The rooms will be located in the surgery unit and several medicine units.
“This room actually would typically care for two patients,” she said. “We had the opportunity to convert what we call semi-private rooms into a space that allows space for the patient, family and amenities to support that family during their stay.
“Prior to that, we always try to give the best experience possible, but when we have very few private rooms and the rooms are smaller, it wasn’t always that easy to support families to be there always with the ones they love.”
Schimpf clarified there was space in other units of the hospital for that second patient bed, so this won’t impact the number of total patient beds.
The rooms were funded with $160,000 provided by the Associates of Caritas. The organization operates businesses in Edmonton Covenant Health sites and donates profits back to the hospitals to enhance patient care and comfort.