In this section :

The Essential Together Pledge:

We value the role of Essential Care Partners and recognize how this role is different from a visitor. As a result, we are committed to working together with those who are receiving care, caregivers and staff to take the following actions:

  • We will engage with those who are receiving care, caregivers, and staff to review existing visitor and caregiver presence policies and practices.
  • We will work in collaboration with those who are receiving care, caregivers, and staff to develop and implement person-centred policies, practices, and programs that enable the presence of essential care partners at all times, ensuring compassion, equity, dignity, safety, and well-being for all.
  • We will be transparent with our caregiver presence policies and practices and ensure clear and consistent communication.
  • We will promote the role and benefits of essential care partners across our organization and the health system.

When your organization commits to the Essential Together Pledge, 

  • You become an Essential Care Partner Champion and can be recognized on our website for your commitment to the values of person- and family-centred care and partnership in care

Take the pledge

Download the Pledge PDF

Download the Essential Together Pledge Change Package.

This Change Package is a guide for developing a plan that moves you to act on your commitment to the Essential Together Pledge.

Use the Essential Together Tool to identify strengths and areas for improvement within your organization. PDF Version: Essential Together Tool; Online version: Essential Together Tool online version



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.”