Caregiver ID: Formal Recognition of the Caregiving Role
Creating the conditions and culture to welcome family caregivers as partners in care begins with recognizing them and acknowledging the positive impact they have on health outcomes, both at the individual and system level.
What is Caregiver ID?
Caregiver Identification (ID) is a tool that can be used to foster family presence policies and principles of family inclusion and patient and family-centered care. The tool helps to promote a culture that embraces caregivers as partners in care.
Caregiver ID is any form of official identification (i.e., card, badge, button) issued by a healthcare organization to a caregiver (i.e., family member, friend). It’s a visual way to acknowledge and identify caregivers in care settings and facilitate their role as a partner with the care team.
Research has clearly demonstrated that supporting family presence policies and family inclusion in care planning offer numerous benefits to patients, caregivers and the healthcare system. The Canadian Foundation of Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) through it’s Better Together campaign has been a leader in spreading best practices for family presence across Canada recognizing that family presence and inclusion policies are a precursor, “to enable the engagement of patients, families, and caregivers as partners in care, and to improve care experiences and outcomes”.
Patients need the support of their caregivers, individuals who know them best and can rapidly identify when things may not be within ‘normal’ or usual for the person they are caring for.
The evidence  is clear that family inclusion and care partnerships results in:
- Improved management of chronic and acute conditions
- Increased patient experience and emotional well-being
- Improved quality of care and safety (e.g., reduce medical errors, falls)
- Enhanced staff satisfaction
- Decreased costs
- Reduced hospital readmissions and emergency visits.
As a tool that supports family inclusion and enables caregivers as partners in care, the benefits of Caregiver ID include:
- Improved formal recognition of caregivers
- Enhanced caregiver experience and meaningful involvement as partners in care
- Better staff awareness of the role and importance of caregivers as members in the circle of care
- Enriched patient care
- Greater mutual trust and dialogue between caregivers and healthcare providers
Where has it been implemented?
One of the program’s biggest strengths is it is adaptable to many environments and situations. Some early adopters of the Caregiver ID program have included Bridgepoint Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital (Sinai Health), Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, Bruyère, Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare, Primacare, peopleCare Communities, Grey County Long-Term Care, and Sault Area Hospital.
Caregiver ID can be a valuable first step in building a culture that includes caregivers as a part of the care team. As more organizations adopt Caregiver ID, the heart-shaped icon is increasingly being recognized as a symbol of meaningful caregiver recognition and inclusion in care settings across Ontario.
- Caregiver ID Heart-shaped icon
- Caregiver ID Card
- Caregiver ID Printable labels
- Readiness Assessment List
- Implementation Considerations
Reintegrating Caregivers as Partners During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Caregiver ID concept has even greater relevance during the pandemic as a tool to support safe caregiver presence. During COVID-19, many hospitals and long term care homes have adopted Caregiver ID to help facilitate the safe entry of caregivers into and within the home, distinguish essential caregivers from visitors, and build relationships in support of resident care.
For more information about the Caregiver ID as a tool to re-integrate caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the Partners in Care: Pandemic Tool Kit.
 Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (2015). Much More Than a Visit: A Review of Visiting Policies in Select Acute Care Hospitals. Ottawa. Accessed from: https://www.cfhi-fcass.ca/innovations-tools-resources/item-detail/2020/05/19/much-more-than-just-a-visit-a-review-of-visiting-policies-in-select-canadian-acute-care-hospitals
 Institute for Patient-and Family-Centered Care. (n.d.) “Facts and Figures” About Family Presence. Retrieved from: https://www.cfhi-fcass.ca/sf-docs/default-source/patient-engagement/better-together-facts-and-figures_eng.pdf