Visitors as partners in Care

Care Partners

Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) has prioritized the delivery of healthcare services around the needs of patients and families and supports Care Partner presence and participation at the bedside.

Care partners are identified by the patient or Substitute Decision Maker as individuals that will provide ongoing support and care for the patient during their hospital stay.

A Care Partner training module has been developed to provide information to protect Care Partners, loved ones, and all patients and staff from potential risks of Covid-19 and other harmful viruses or bacteria.

Take the Care Partner Learning Module.

View the Care Partner Process Map

KHSC respects and values family and visitors as integral partners in providing excellent patient care. We encourage you to talk with the care team about how you can best and most safely assist in the care of your loved one. Below are the many ways you can help with a patient’s daily living activities, nutrition, mobility and comfort during their hospital stay.


Adequate nutrition plays an important role in helping the body recover from illness and injury. Things you can do to help ensure your loved is eating and drinking enough may include:

  • Open any items on the food trays that are challenging
  • Get a drink or ice (if kitchen is open); check with your loved one’s health-care worker to make sure it is OK first.
  • Encourage food and drink intake, repositioning the loved one as needed for safe swallowing
  • Ensure your loved one has their dentures if needed
  • Help your loved one to the chair for meals if appropriate
  • Bring in foods/drinks they like (check with the nurse to make sure it is OK with their diet restrictions)
  • Help with menu selection, check meals for accuracy/substitutions


Helping your loved one to move about (or “mobilize”) while in hospital helps maintain strength, prevent pressure injuries and delirium. You can help a loved one to mobilize in these ways:

  • Help apply/remove non-slip footwear such as non-slip socks, shoes, slippers
  • Walk in the room/halls if loved one is able to walk safely
  • Encourage loved one to reposition in bed or the chair often
  • Help reposition loved one in bed when able (flip and/or re- arrange pillows)
  • Ensure walking aids, hearing aids and glasses are within reach and ready for use
  • Clear pathway to the bathroom
  • If loved one has limited mobility out of bed, encourage them to perform passive range-of-motion exercises in bed (ask a nurse/PCA or physiotherapist to show you how)
  • Tidy up patient area to ensure there are no fall risks
  • Ensure the call bell is within reach prior to leaving

Diversional Activities

Keeping busy and stimulating the mind helps to prevent delirium, boredom and restlessness while in hospital. Things you can do to help your loved one pass the time while in the hospital include:

  • Watching their favourite show together on a device
  • Reading a newspaper together
  • Talking about current events
  • Updating the whiteboard if needed
  • Playing cards
  • Helping support a virtual visit with other family members while you are here
  • Walking if appropriate
  • Playing a board game
  • Listening to music
  • Looking at photographs
  • Bringing in books
  • Doing puzzles/activities such as word search/colouring
  • Engaging in favourite hobbies if possible, e.g., knitting, letter writing

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Activities of daily living are often small tasks that help make us feel more like our regular selves, e.g., brushing our teeth. As a visitor, you can offer to assist your loved one with many ADLs if you, your loved one and the care team agree it is safe to do so. The amount of help each person needs varies, with some just needing help to set up and others needing help to complete the whole task.

Examples of ADLs

  • Brush teeth
  • Wash face/hands
  • Apply/remove/clean dentures
  • Apply/remove/clean glasses
  • Apply/remove hearing aids; ensure they work
  • Assist in getting dressed (hospital gown/PJs/clothes)
  • Help to eat/set up meal trays (if safe to do so)
  • Help to walk in the hallway/to the bathroom
  • Ensure mobility aids such as walkers are reachable
  • Bring in scent-free toiletries and assist with access
  • Assist with nail and hair care

Following the hospital’s infection control and prevention measures is critical to keeping your loved one safe.

Information on this page is adapted from the booklet Visitors to KHSC: How we can transform care, together