Today, the Ontario Caregiver Organization (OCO) is launching its Partners in Care Tool Kit. The tool kit, developed in collaboration with Ontario caregivers and The Change Foundation , is designed to help hospitals re-engage family caregivers as access restrictions are eased.
The Tool Kit includes Caregiver Identification for family caregivers, a Partners in Care Pledge that outlines the responsibility of the hospital and caregivers in keeping hospital staff, physicians, patients and other caregivers safe, and a one-page checklist on what family caregivers can expect when they arrive at the hospital.
“Healthcare providers and family caregivers have experienced significant challenges during this unprecedented time. One only needs to follow the hashtag #NotJustAVisitor to understand these challenges and frustrations” says Amy Coupal, CEO, The Ontario Caregiver Organization “When access restrictions ease in Hospitals, Long-Term Care and other congregate settings, there is a real opportunity for these organizations to re-engage caregivers in a meaningful way. The Partners in Care Tool Kit can support that process, empower caregivers and healthcare providers, and also help to mitigate the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in the facility.
The Partners in Care Tool Kit includes 3 key tools:
1. Caregiver Identification – A visible way to identify caregivers who have been screened and are permitted to enter the hospital; either using a sticker or badge. Caregiver ID is an initiative coming from The Change Foundation and its Changing CARE projects. In the context of COVID-19 there are a number of benefits to Hospitals and family caregivers.
Benefits to Hospital and its staff and physicians:
- It is a highly visual way to reassure staff, physicians and patients that the caregiver has been screened, has received training on proper use of PPE and is permitted in the building
- Helps distinguish family caregivers from patients, residents or visitors.
- A way to identify the family caregiver who might be wearing a mask or other PPE
- Facilitates the active partnership with family caregivers in healthcare situations and decision making
- Assists with managing physical distancing
- Can have added benefits, such as giving caregivers secure access after-hours, if the hospital’s processes allow for caregivers to be issued passes for secured areas.
Benefits to Family Caregivers:
- Provide formal recognition of the caregiver’s role
- Give caregivers confidence to ask question and be active partners in care
- Show to staff and other patients that the caregiver has received permission, and any appropriate training, to allow them to be in that location
- Re-assure caregivers that staff know they have permission to be in the building
- Clearly identify caregivers throughout the building (and facilitate redirection of caregivers if they get lost)
2. Partners in Care Pledge – The pledge outlines the accountabilities that hospital staff, physicians and caregivers have in ensuring the safety of all. This pledge is provided as an editable document that hospitals can download and customize.
3. What Caregivers Can Expect – A list of what caregivers can expect as they return to hospital, including the use of personal protective equipment, screening questions and how to address questions or concerns. This can be downloaded by caregivers from OCO’s website or given to caregivers by the hospital. This document is provided as an editable document that hospitals can download and customize.
The Ontario Caregiver Organization is currently working to adapt the Partners in Care Tool Kit for the Long Term Care sector.
Interviews available with:
- Amy Coupal, CEO, The Ontario Caregiver Organization
- Ontario Hospital(s) that have implemented Caregiver Identification as part of The Change Foundation’s ChangingCARE projects (Saini Health and Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance – offering both an urban or rural perspective)
- Caregivers who have experienced the benefits of Caregiver Identification first-hand
- The Change Foundation on the design and implementation of Caregiver Identification to date
Since March 2020, hospitals have been restricted from allowing caregivers and visitors into their buildings and facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic and directives from the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario. For a majority of hospitals, this means family caregivers have not ben allowed to accompany their family member while they are in the hospital.
With the May 26, 2020 Memo from the Ministry of Health on the Health Sector Restart, more hospitals have begun welcoming family caregivers back into their facilities. Each organization is doing considerable planning, coordination and communication to make the process as seamless as possible. The Ontario Caregiver Organization and its Partners in Care Tool Kit aims to support both health care providers and family caregivers through this process.
About The Ontario Caregiver Organization
The Ontario Caregiver Organization (OCO) exists to support Ontario’s 3.3 million caregivers; ordinary people who provide physical and/or emotional support to a family member, partner, friend or neighbour. The OCO will enhance the caregiving experience by providing one point of access to information, services and supports that empower and enable caregivers to be successful in their role. Where gaps exist in caregiver programs and services, the OCO partners with caregivers, health care providers and other organizations to find new and innovative ways to bridge those gaps so all caregivers, regardless of age, disease or geographical location have access to the help they need. Established in 2018, the OCO is a not-for-profit entity funded by the Government of Ontario.
For more information, please contact:
Danielle Van Duzer
Executive Lead, Communications