Partnering with family caregivers yields positive impacts on patient health outcomes, the caregiver, the healthcare provider and the system. But exactly how to partner remains a mystery.

Yet caregivers are not always recognized, valued or invited to participate as members of the circle of care. Despite the healthcare system relying heavily on caregivers to care for patients, and the benefits of engaging with family caregivers on patient/client health outcomes and the healthcare system’s performance, healthcare providers often do not engage with caregivers. Partnering with caregivers is a new type of partnership.

Caregivers as Partners learning suite

Recognizing the need for practical and tangible education around how to partner with caregivers, The Change Foundation in partnership with the Changing CARE teams, collaborated with healthcare providers, patients/clients and caregivers to co-design the Caregivers as Partners learning suite.

The Ontario Caregiver Organization assumed ownership of the Caregivers As Partners eLearning suite in October 2020 as The Change Foundation transitions to a new strategic direction.

The suite features interactive modules that were developed using Bloom’s Taxonomy, adult learning principles and e-learning best practices. The modules are rooted in open learning, are accessibility compliant and available in an online format for individual learning, learning management system (LMS) formats for organization integration and PowerPoint (PPT) for group learning. The suite consists of two series.

Caregivers as Partners

The Caregivers as Partners 3-part series offers healthcare providers practical learnings on how to engage, support and empower family caregivers. Applicable to anyone working in health, community and social care, the series can be used by front-line providers, ancillary staff, senior management and leadership to improve the family caregiver experience and support a shift in culture where caregivers are truly recognized as partners in care.

The series consists of three 20-minute modules:

1. Understanding the Role of Caregivers
2. Communicating with Caregivers
3. Empowering Caregivers

A Refresher or “summary” module is also available that provides an overview of the content that can be found in the 3-part series. The 20-minute module can be used on its own as an introduction to the series or as a refresher course for those who have already completed the series.

The complete series is available in both English and French.

CNA accreditationAccredited by the Canadian Nurses Association for 1.5 CE credits/hours and the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Ontario Chapter for up to 1.5 Mainpro+ credits, the series can be used towards continuing education/professional development requirements. Specialists can apply the credits from this program to the Maintenance of Certification Program at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada under Section 2: Self-Learning. Social workers or social service workers can use the program towards professional development under the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers’ Continuing Competence Program.

Caregivers as Partners – Mental Health & Addiction

Please note that the Caregivers as Partners – Mental Health & Addiction series is available in English only.

The second series, Caregivers as Partners – Mental Health and Addiction equips healthcare providers with practical skills and resources to improve their interactions with caregivers caring for someone living with mental illness and/or addiction. The goal of this series is to better support this subset of caregivers and improve their caregiver experience. The series focuses on what makes the caregiving journey different by highlighting some of the unique experiences and challenges that these caregivers face. The series consists of 3 modules, each 20 minutes in length:

1. Nature and Impact
2. The Burden of Care
3. Hope and Recovery

Each module explores a set of challenges and provides tips on what healthcare providers can do to better support caregivers experiencing that challenge. Topics explored through the series include:

Recognizing that practicing self-care as a healthcare provider is essential to maintaining hope and strength, the last module in the series, Hope & Recovery, also illustrates what providers can do to build hope and empower themselves and their fellow colleagues.

Accredited by the Canadian Nurses Association for 1.0 CE credits/hours, the series can be used towards continuing education/professional development requirements. The series is seeking accreditation through the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Specialists can apply the credits from this program to the Maintenance of Certification Program at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada under Section 2: Self-Learning. Social workers or social service workers can use the program towards professional development under the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers’ Continuing Competence Program.

Accessing the Suite

To access the modules, you will need to create an account and login. An account is required to receive a certificate of completion upon completing all three modules. Additionally, you will need to have Adobe Flash installed and enabled on your computer.

Should you have any questions or concerns including inquires related to learning management system (LMS) versions, please contact The Ontario Caregiver Organization at info@ontariocaregiver.ca

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