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Designated Support Person

Please note: This program is being launched at our hospitals using a phased approach. Eligible hospital patients will be contacted directly by nursing staff as the program becomes available in their area. Thank you for your patience.

What is a Designated Support Person (DSP)? 

  • A DSP is an active partner in care and an essential member of the health care team who can provide physical, psychological and emotional support, as deemed important by the patient. The DSP contributes to a positive patient experience and outcome.
  • DSPs are individuals the patient wants involved in their care and can include family members, close friends or other caregivers and are identified/designated by the patient or substitute decision maker (SDM).
  • A DSP is different from a social visitor and are often, family or close friends who have knowledge about the patient's health history, lifestyle and personal values.
  • Eligible patients can identify/designate two DSPs, but only one DSP is permitted by their bedside at one time.
  • DSPs must be 18 years of age or older.
  • DSPs are permitted entry during the Orange and Red Phases of the pandemic.

Why are DSPs permitted to visit patients in the hospital?

For the safety of everyone in all Horizon hospitals, steps are being taken to minimize the number of people in the hospital at any one time, while also considering the needs of our patients.

Having a familiar person available to patients to provide them with different types of support can help improve their health outcomes. The DSP designation provides a consistent way for patients to have access to this support as safely as possible despite visitor restrictions, which reflects Horizon's vision to provide exceptional care every day.

Who can have a DSP?

  • Patients require a DSP based on their health care needs.
  • Patients who have been in hospital for 14 days or longer are permitted to have a DSP.

What are the steps to become an DSP?

1. The patient or substitute decision maker (SDM) will identify a person(s) as their DSP.

2. The DSP will be required to complete online education about Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) rules to help keep them, their loved one and health care workers safe.

  • If there are problems completing the online training, DSPs can receive training within the hospital.

3. Once the education is complete, the DSP must contact the unit's nurse manager to discuss the Care/Visitation Plan.

  • DSPs will be required to show the confirmation email indicating they have completed their online education to the nurse manager to formalize the care plan for the patient's chart.

4. DSPs will be screened when entering the hospital and must pass the screening criteria before they can enter and provide contact information for contract tracing purposes.

5. The DSP must follow IPC and unit-specific rules such as wearing a medical grade face mask, maintaining a 2M/6ft distance from other patients, staff and visitors, and practicing consistent hand hygiene.

6. The DSP must follow Public Health directives when outside of the hospital.

To access the Designated Support Person online education, click on the button below.  You will need a PIN Code to access this information. If you do not have a PIN code, please contact the patient's nursing unit and they will provide it to you.

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