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Media Guidelines

Horizon recognizes the importance of effective media relations to support the communication of its programs and services as well as build public confidence and trust in the health-care system. This is achieved through the provision of consistent, accurate and timely information related to Horizon, its patients and staff while respecting privacy, confidentiality, media and public rights.

Horizon's media relations guiding principles are to:

  • provide timely responses to media inquiries
  • provide factual information in an honest and forthright manner while ensuring patient confidentiality and safety are protected as required by law and Horizon policy
  • seek proactive and positive media attention when opportunities arise

Media Interview

Media relations is a function of Horizon's Communications Department. All media inquiries and requests for interviews about Horizon patients/ clients, services, staff, facilities or administration must be made through Horizon Communications. This includes interviews that are initiated by a patient or staff member.

Access to Horizon facilities and property

  • All requests for media access to Horizon facilities or exterior properties ("grounds") must be coordinated through, and approved by, Horizon Communications. 
  • Media activities cannot violate the rights to privacy of Horizon patients/ clients or staff, obstruct access to any facility or cause a disturbance.
  • Media are to be accompanied on the premises by Communications staff/designate, unless prior arrangements have been made by Horizon's Communications Department. 
  • Certain critical patient care areas within Horizon facilities (Examples: Emergency Department, Operating Room, Intensive Care Units) are generally not accessible to the media. 

Interviews, photographs and videotaping:

  • All media requests for interviews, photographs or video about Horizon patients/clients, services, staff, facilities or administration must be made through Horizon Communications.
  • If a patient/family/guardian initiates a media contact or interview on Horizon property, they must provide signed consent prior to being interviewed, photographed or videotaped.
  • Horizon Communications staff/designate will be present during any interview with a patient inside a Horizon facility, unless prior arrangements have been made by Horizon's Communications Department.

Personal information about specific staff or patients:

  • In accordance with Horizon and provincial privacy and right to information acts and policies, details regarding personal information about an individual patient/ client or staff member can be released to the media only with the consent of the patient/resident/client/staff or, if incapable, the legal representative of that person, or as authorized by law.
  • Notification of a patient's death will not be released until all appropriate persons have been notified and consent has been obtained.
  • If the patient's name is provided by the requester, and consent is signed by the patient or legal representative, general patient condition information in accordance with the following outline can be offered:

Good Vital signs within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable.

Fair Vital signs may be unstable, and/or immediately post-operative. Patient is awaiting treatment or surgical intervention. Patient is conscious. Serious Vital signs are unstable. Patient is acutely ill.

Serious Vital signs are unstable. Patient is acutely ill.

Critical Vital signs are unstable. Major complications are anticipated. Patient is ventilated or on life-support. Death may be imminent.

Treated & Released Patient was examined and treated in Emergency or other outpatient program, and discharged.

Deceased Confirmation of death only - after appropriate persons have been notified.

Media Materials

Horizon's Communications Department distributes all Horizon-related information to the media including press releases, public service announcements, media advisories and invitations. If you would like to receive media releases, please send an e-mail to be added to our distribution list.

Proper Name

We ask that you please refer to our organization by its proper name - Horizon Health Network or Horizon in any subsequent mentions in the same story/news cast.

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