What is Caregiver ID?
Caregiver Identification (ID)[i] is a tool that can be used to facilitate the inclusion and meaningful participation of family caregivers in care settings.
Caregiver ID is any form of official identification (i.e., card, badge, button) issued by a healthcare organization to a caregiver. Caregiver ID is more than a badge – it’s a visual way to acknowledge and identify caregivers in care settings.
Caregiver ID is also a key component in building a culture that recognizes the role of caregivers and includes caregivers as a part of the care team.
Implementation of Caregiver ID should be accompanied by:
- Meaningful engagement of patients, clients, caregivers & families in the process
- A comprehensive review of family/caregiver presence/visitation policies and practices
- Education for staff on the role of caregivers and how to include them as part of the care team, as well as organizational training on what the Caregiver ID badge means for their care setting,
- Education for caregivers on how to partner effectively with health professionals, and
- Shared understanding of privacy and consent as it relates to the caregiver role.
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.
The Ontario Caregiver Organization is keen to support organizations to adapt and implement Caregiver ID across settings in Ontario. You can find adaptable Caregiver ID tools for your organization below, and you can also contact our partnership team, who can help you get started.
What are the benefits of Caregiver ID?
Caregivers bring unique expertise that can enhance provider understanding and support patient care, including knowledge of patient needs, symptoms and behaviours[ii]. 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 evidence[iii] 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:
- Tangible way to show organizational commitment to caregivers
- Enhanced caregiver experience and meaningful involvement as partners in care
- Better staff awareness of the role and importance of caregivers as partners in care
- Enriched patient, resident and client care
- Greater mutual trust and dialogue between caregivers and care providers
Adaptable Caregiver ID Templates
Caregiver ID has been implemented in settings across Ontario
Adopters of caregiver identification programs include Bridgepoint Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital (Sinai Health), Bruyère, Grey County Long-Term Care, Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Hills of Headwaters Collaborative Ontario Health Team, Niagara Health, Primacare, peopleCare Communities, and Sault Area Hospital (Algoma Ontario Health Team). Learn more from organizations that have implemented caregiver identification programs.
The use of Caregiver ID has been identified as a leading practice as part of Essential Care Partner programs. To learn more about Essential Care Partner Programs visit the Essential Care Partner Support Hub, which provides support to Ontario hospitals and long-term care homes planning to implement or enhance an essential care partner program.
[ii] Mitnick S, Leffler C, Hood VL; American College of Physicians Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee. Family caregivers, patients and physicians: ethical guidance to optimize relationships. J Gen Intern Med. 2010;25(3):255-260. doi:10.1007/s11606-009-1206-3
[iii] 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