Ariis Knight, 40, at her home in South Surrey. Knight passed away April 18 at Peace Arch Hospital. (Contributed photo)

UPDATED: Changes on way to policy on B.C. health care facility visitation

Health Minister Adrian Dix made the announcement Tuesday afternoon

Health Minister Adrian Dix has announced a number of revisions to the health-care system visitor policy in B.C., intended to better support people with disabilities.

Dix said Tuesday afternoon (May 19) that the current policy “strongly restricts” visitation in hospitals and long-term care facilities to what are defined as “essential visits.”

The new revisions expand the definition of essential visits to include designated representatives for people with disabilities, including people who provide emotional support, assist with decision making, and communication for people with hearing, speech, cognitive, intellectual, or memory impairment.

The current policy came under fire following the death last month of South Surrey resident Ariis Knight.

Knight, 40, died at Peace Arch Hospital on April 18, after being admitted with non-COVID-19-related breathing difficulties three days earlier.

READ MORE: Hospital-visitor policy questioned after South Surrey woman dies without caregiver, family

While Knight, 40, had cerebral palsy and was non-verbal – but could communicate with those who knew her well – none of her support workers or family members were allowed to be in the hospital with her, due to the policy.

Fraser Health officials said later that medical staff determined that further assistance in communicating with Knight wasn’t required, however, her brother David said the restriction essentially stripped his sister of her voice. She died without anyone who knew her or was close to her by her side.

READ MORE: South Surrey advocate ‘optimistic’ hospital-visitor policy changes imminent

In a radio interview with CBC last Thursday (May 14), Dix said visitor rules were changed in March to “keep people as safe as possible” during the pandemic. Changes being made to it now are in response to requests from the disability community, and will include a “more explicit” definition of essential visitors, he said.

Self advocates, their family members and others sent government officials a letter May 5 asking for a policy “that helps to make sure that patients with disabilities have the support they need when they are getting health care.”



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusdisabilitiesSurreyWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Signs at a new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
More than 200 new COVID-19 cases linked to Fraser Health region: Dr. Henry

Provincial health officer appeals to people to keep gatherings small

Reni Masi file photo
Former Surrey school trustee, Delta MLA dies at age 87

Reni Masi served as Liberal MLA for nine years, then as a Surrey school trustee for another nine

A driver pulls up to the new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Weddings, funerals have ‘potential to become a super-spreader’ event: Fraser Health

As of Oct. 21, health authority accounted for 70% of total provincial cases

The White Birch proposal for a six-storey rental-only building for 1485 Fir St. (at the corner of Fir Street and Russell Avenue) will proceed to a public hearing on Nov. 23, following a split vote at White Rock council. Contributed rendering
White Rock 80-unit rental-only project goes to public hearing

Six-storey, mid-rise building planned to boost affordable housing stock

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Most Read