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Essential Together Learning Bundles: Rapid Appeals Processes

As part Essential Together, we’ve curated tools and resources from organizations across the country that support the reintegration of essential care partners.

This page is about supporting organizations to work with patients and patient partners to establish a rapid and transparent appeals process. It is part of the policy guidance to identify and prepare essential care partners.

Health and care facilities should ensure patients and essential care partners have access to a transparent and timely appeal or dispute resolution process to resolve disagreements about essential care partner access. This process needs to allow for regional flexibility based on risk. The appeals process should be lean and publicly available so caregivers can understand the decisions related to access. A clear and transparent process will help reduce potential conflicts and avoid putting essential care partners or staff in untenable positions.

(From page 12 of Policy Guidance for the Reintegration of Caregivers as Essential Care Partners)

These resources provide examples of clear communication and execution of rapid appeals processes. Predominantly, these are initiated by the patient and family who want an essential care partner to support them, but can also be initiated by the organization, if they feel an essential care partner is not following agreed protocols.

Current resources

The tools and resources are open source, which means you can use and adapt them to fit your local context. We will continue to add to these learning bundles. If you would like to be notified when we have new material, please let us know.


Baycrest is a hospital and long-term care facility for older adults in Toronto, Ontario. Their detailed appeals process is explained on their website.

Fraser Health

Fraser Health delivers hospital and community-based care from Burnaby to Fraser Canyon in British Columbia. Their website includes the process of what to do if patients or essential care partners have any questions or concerns.

Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority

The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority designs and delivers health and social services across the territory. Their webpage for visitors includes a clear process and submission for requesting visitor exemptions.

Saskatchewan Health Authority

The Saskatchewan Health Authority supports health organizations across Saskatchewan. Their appeals process is run through quality of care coordinators and is supported by a newly created family presence support team.

Sinai Health

Sinai Health is a multi-site academic health science centre in Toronto, Ontario. Their rapid appeals process at the hospital is run through their patient relations team and responds to appeals within 48 hours.

If you know of other tools and resources to contribute to these learning bundles, or if there is something specific you are after, please send us an email via


We know there is different language and terminology used across the country, but to make sure we provide as much clarity as possible, in this context:

Blanket visitor restrictions refer to restrictions that extend to all “visitors” entering a facility, often without exceptions, including essential care partners.

Essential care partners provide physical, psychological and emotional support, as deemed important by the patient. This care can include support in decision making, care coordination and continuity of care. Essential care partners are identified by the patient (or substitute decision maker) and can include family members, close friends or other caregivers.

Patients includes residents and clients.

Patient partners include patients, residents, clients, families, caregivers and care partners, and others with lived experience who are working together with teams to improve the quality and safety of healthcare.

Health and care facilities refers to hospitals, long-term care/residential care/nursing homes and other congregate care settings as well as primary care and outpatient care settings.

Open family presence policies support the presence of essential care partners at patient bedside at any time and not restricted by “visiting hours.”