Essential Care Partner Practices in Long-Term Care Homes 

Caregivers are essential partners on the care team. They play a critical role in providing unpaid emotional, physical, or cognitive support to their family member, partner or friend. Essential Care Partner programs and practices are a way for care settings to identify, include and support caregivers as part of the care team. Evidence shows this can lead to improved health outcomes, better care experiences and reduced health system pressures.

Engagement & Co-Design With Caregivers  

Need help engaging caregivers and patient partners in the planning process? Download our resources and get the help you need. 

Our Team is Available to Meet with You 

The Essential Care Partner Support Hub team can help long-term care homes plan, implement, or enhance an Essential Care Partner program. Contact the ECP Support Hub team now to schedule an initial consultation. 

Tools and resources

The following tools and resources have been developed to support the implementation of programs, policies, and practices to enable the inclusion of essential care partners in Ontario long-term care homes.

  • Implementing Essential Care Partner Programs and Practices

    This business case and evidence summary for long term care homes are useful tools to gain leadership support for developing an essential care partner program. 

    This overview of leading practices for long-term care homes demonstrates the key components of an Essential Care Partner program. 

    The Essential Care Partner program implementation guide, developed by The Ontario Centers for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care at Bruyère, includes a step-by-step process to develop or improve an Essential Care Partner program in long-term care homes.


  • Education Sessions

    Education for long-term care teams helps staff to understand the caregiver role and learn how to include and communicate with caregivers. 

    Contact the Support Hub team about tailored education sessions for your organization. 

    eLearning for healthcare providersLearn from three free-of-charge 20-minute modules with practical, tangible tips for teams working with caregivers. 

    Health Privacy and Consent ResourcesThese resources help providers better understand health privacy and consent rules when partnering with caregivers. 

  • Supporting Caregivers in Long-Term Care Homes

    Caregiving impacts the health, employment, finances, and personal relationships of caregivers. Caregiver well-being also impacts resident outcomes.  

    How long-term care teams interact with caregivers can improve the caregiving experience. Team members are well positioned to connect caregivers to support. 

    These seven tips and lanyard cards help long-term care team members to identify caregivers and the use of posters can help direct caregivers on site. 

    Team members can also refer caregivers to the Ontario Caregiver Helpline  

    Overview of OCO programs and services for caregiversOne page overview for healthcare providers to give to caregivers. 

    eLearning for caregiversExplore valuable e-learning modules for caregivers to learn how to best communicate with care providers.

  • Benefits of Caregiver Identification

    Caregiver Identification (ID) is any form of official identification (i.e., card, badge, button) issued by a healthcare organization to a caregiver. 

    Caregiver Identification (ID)* is a tool that can be used to facilitate the inclusion and meaningful participation of family caregivers in care settings. 

    The benefits of using Caregiver ID include: 

    • Tangible way to show organizational commitment to caregivers 
    • Enhanced caregiver experience and empowered essential care partners 
    • Better team awareness of the role and importance of essential care partners 
    • Greater mutual trust and dialogue between caregivers and long-term care teams 
    • Enriched resident care 

    * Adapted from materials originally created by The Change Foundation 


Related Videos

Watch useful videos on this topic.

Video Library

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Caregivers or care partners play an essential role on the care team, providing a family member, partner, or friend with critical physical, emotional and cognitive support. The Essential Care Partner Support Hub and its team provide healthcare organizations access to expert guidance, coaching, and ready-to-use resources 


Related Resources

Find useful resources on this topic.

Resource Library
Integrating Essential Care Partners as Part of the Care Team in Hospitals 
  • 15 min
  • (2 MB)
Essential Care Partner Evidence Summary for Long-Term Care Homes 
  • 10 min
  • (3 MB)
Leading Practices for Essential Care Partner Programs in Long-Term Care Homes 
  • 2 min
  • (143 KB)
Caregiver ID Templates: Caregiver ID Heart-Shaped Icon
  • Template
  • (45 KB)

Support for Your Organization

If your long-term care home is interested in learning more about the support offered by the Essential Care Partner Support Hub, contact us to schedule a 30-minute introductory session. 


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Most of us, at some point in our lives, will be a caregiver to someone close to us. A caregiver provides physical and/or emotional support to a family member, partner, friend, or neighbour. Who do you care for?