Bridging Communications

**This featured case is one example of the concerns people have brought to us. Names have been changed to protect the identity of the people involved.

Gail had been banned from visiting her husband Glen, who was living in a long-term care facility. The two had been together for 50 years and Gail did not think it was fair that she had been unable to visit him for several months. She had sometimes raised concerns about Glen’s care but did not understand why she could not visit.

The health region had drawn up an agreement that laid out terms that Gail would need to agree to if she were to resume visiting Glen. She did not trust the region and felt that she could not communicate productively with them – so she was not willing to sign the agreement. Communications had stalemated when she contacted our office.

We decided to facilitate communication between Gail and the health region and learned that there had been a series of incidents in which the staff at the facility had interpreted Gail’s behaviour as threatening or abusive. On the other hand, Gail did not see her behaviour in this light and didn’t think staff were accepting of her concerns about Glen’s care. Glen still wanted Gail to visit him.

We arranged a meeting with Gail and representatives from the health region. Gail expressed her concerns and also learned more about the way her behaviours were being interpreted by staff at the facility, and specifically which behaviours had been considered threatening.

Following the meeting, the health region developed a new agreement that provided Gail with regular time with Glen, limited her access to staff and gave her specific contact people to talk with if she had concerns about Glen’s care. She signed the agreement and once again was able to visit with Glen and participate in some of the family-oriented aspects of his care.

The two issues we had identified (access to her spouse and an explanation for the decision) were both addressed.

Status: Resolved