Humber’s Family Presence Program Lets Surgery Patients Wake Up to a Familiar Face

April 11, 2018

Victoria, a Clinical Practice Leader at Humber River Hospital, was in a meeting with a group of nurses when she suddenly felt like she had been punched in the stomach. The pain was unmanageable and completely caught her off-guard.

The Hospital found a mass on her ovary, and Victoria was referred to Dr. Mirabelle D’Souza. Together, they decided to keep an eye on the mass with regular ultrasounds and blood work. The mass continued to grow, eventually to the size of a softball, and Dr. D’Souza recommended having it removed.

family presence program

“It’s comforting to know what’s going on,” says Victoria’s husband Joel, “Even when you’re not the one providing care for your loved one.”

During Victoria’s surgery, her husband Joel received updates directly to his phone, thanks to STERIS RealView technology. He told us, “It’s comforting to know what’s going on, even when you’re not the one providing care for your loved one.”

The Family Presence Program at Humber River Hospital means that surgery patients like Victoria are able to have a family member or loved one present during some of their most vulnerable times.

When patients are just waking up from surgery in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), they are often nauseous and disoriented, and are still being monitored closely by nursing staff. The norm in healthcare is not to have family members present in a hospital PACU, but at Humber River Hospital, patients are allowed to have a loved one there as soon as they wake up.

“When I opened my eyes,” Victoria told us, “the first person I saw was my friend and colleague Tami who I trust completely. Right away she was able to ask my nurse for pain meds and advocate for my needs.”

Victoria’s husband Joel told us, “They came and got me as soon as she woke up from surgery. It was nice to be there – to sit and chat with her. It was comforting. I was so glad to be there.”

“I was completely cared for by my work family and my real family,” says Victoria. “Because my definition of family included friends and colleagues that I trusted, they could be there for me too. As a healthcare provider, I would say that this model of care is amazing. There isn’t a word to describe the comfort of knowing that your family is there. Every opportunity was given to me to feel safe.”