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

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

Just Posted

A cache of 89 crabs was discovered during a 2018 compliance inspection at South Surrey’s Elgin Park Marina. (Contributed photo)
$7,500 fine for illegal crab harvest discovered in South Surrey

Laird Goddyn found guilty in Surrey Provincial Court following 2018 investigation

South Surrey’s Meridian Golf Course – a 15-acre property that also includes a residence – has been sold. (Colliers Canada photo)
South Surrey’s Meridian Golf Course sold to new owners

Deal for popular par 3 course expected to close by end of the year

Gerry Vowles (left), Michael Cook, and Dave Sinclair were awarded “Dominion Command Presidential Citations” June 17 in Cloverdale. The rare awards were given out for “exemplary service to the Legion.” (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Three B.C. legionnaires awarded ‘Presidential Citations’

Ceremony took place in Cloverdale June 17

City of Surrey photo
Surrey starts Slow Streets pilot project

Speed limits have been reduced in six Surrey neighbourhood zones for one year to monitor impact on residents

Gymnast Shallon Olsen. (Photo: olympic.ca)
Olympics-bound Surrey gymnast Shallon Olsen enters sports hall of fame – in Coquitlam

She was the youngest member of Team Canada when she made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)
B.C. government to allow home cannabis delivery starting July 15

Added convenience expected to persuade buyers to ‘go legal’

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

Most Read