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Media Guidelines

Media Relations Guidelines

CHEO staff and physicians welcome the opportunity to work with the media. All media relations inquiries, including interviews with families in hospital, are coordinated through the Public Relations Department.

The Public Relations department is available during normal office hours, or by phone on-call until 7 pm on weekdays and weekends.

To reach the Public Relations Department:

During Office Hours: 613-737-7600 x 3536

After Hours for Urgent Matters: 613-737-7600 (on-call)

Media Relations Policy

CHEO has a media relations policy that governs all media related activities. As such, media relations activities are conducted in the spirit of mutual respect and as part of a partnership that CHEO has established with the news media. The media relations program at CHEO is anchored in the following principles:
  • To respect the wishes of patients and families when asked to participate in media relations activities;
  • To ensure that in the course of conducting media interviews/photographs, the privacy and confidentiality of other patients is protected and safeguarded;
  • To respond promptly to media inquiries and coordinate media interviews in a fair and equitable manner;
  • To solicit news coverage that further enhances the profile of CHEO at the local and national level;
  • To conduct media relations activities in the spirit of transparency and accountability.

Media Relations Procedure

Inquiries by the Media

  1. All media inquiries are to be directed to the Public Relations Department (613-737-7600 x 3536). Media relations assistance is available during office hours or assistance can be obtained through the on-call representative until 7pm for urgent matters that cannot wait until the following business day.

Media Visiting CHEO

  1. While on hospital premises, all members of the media must be accompanied by Public Relations staff (or their designate) for the duration of their visit.
  2. Public Relations must be notified in advance of an intended visit by the media to the hospital. Public Relations staff will greet the reporter(s) and escort them throughout their visit.
  3. Cameras are not permitted in the Emergency Department at any time.
  4. Given the often stressful circumstances in NICU and PICU, cameras will seldom be allowed on those units. The Public Relations team will authorize some exceptions only after proper consultation with the parents, child life specialist and the nurse in charge.

Media Relations for Patients and Families

  1. Participation of CHEO patients/families in media relations activities while at the hospital are managed by the Public Relations Department. The Public Relations Department will work with clinical staff to solicit the participation of patients/families when appropriate.
  2. Parental consent is required before a photo or an interview with a patient takes place. A media consent form is used for that purpose.
  3. Parental consent, either verbal or in writing, is required before an interview takes place between a patient and a member of the media. If the patient is under 16, a parent or guardian must be present for the interview.
  4. Reporters who have contacted patients/families to secure an interview must notify the Public Relations Department of their intent to interview a patient at CHEO. A Public Relations staff will accompany them during their visit.

Patient Condition/Case of Public Record

  1. Media requests pertaining to the condition of a patient are directed to the Public Relations Department.
  2. Public Relations Staff will release patient condition if the identity of the patient has already been disclosed publicly and if the parent/legal guardian has granted CHEO permission to do so.
  3. Public Relations staff will recommend to parents/legal guardians that permission be granted to CHEO to issue brief and factual condition updates in an effort to relieve the family of this additional pressure.

Definitions of patient conditions:

Good vital signs are stable; patient is conscious and comfortable; prognosis is either good or excellent
Fair vital signs are within normal limits; patients is conscious and may be uncomfortable; may have minor complications
Serious acutely ill with questionable prognosis; vital signs may be unstable or not within normal limits
Critical questionable prognosis; there are major complications and death may be imminent

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