Partners in Care: Pandemic Tool Kit – A resource for re-engaging caregivers with hospitals and long-term care homes

Partners in Care = Patients/Clients + Caregivers + Healthcare Providers

Caregivers are essential partners in care and play a critical role in providing physical and emotional support to a family member, partner, friend or neighbour in need. Healthcare organizations in Ontario are increasingly committed to building a culture that supports patient and family partnerships in care, acknowledging caregivers and the positive impact they have on patient health and system outcomes.   

While many strides have been made in improving the caregiver experience, 2020 brought unique challenges. Due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, access restrictions continue to impact the presence of essential caregivers in healthcare and Long-term care settings.  The Ontario Caregiver Organization, in collaboration with Ontario caregivers and The Change Foundation, have created a Partners in Care Pandemic Toolkit to help engage caregivers in a safe and meaningful way.

What is the Partners in Care Pandemic Toolkit?

The Partners in Care Pandemic Toolkit provides healthcare settings with practical, customizable resources that can help facilitate the safe presence of family caregivers and the essential role they play in resident/patient care. The Partners in Care Toolkit Guide provides an overview of the resources, as well as implementation tips from early adopters. The toolkit includes:

Caregiver ID: A tool that visually recognizes family caregivers and helps to facilitate their role in the circle of care. Organizations can introduce a Caregiver ID program to help facilitate the safe entry of caregivers into and within the healthcare settings, distinguish essential caregivers from visitors, and build relationships in support of care.

Partners in Care Pledge: A pledge to secure the mutual commitment of the family caregiver and setting to working together as partners in care and keeping staff, residents, caregivers and the community safe during COVID-19.

What Caregivers Can Expect:  At the onset of the pandemic, sweeping changes to family presence and visitor policies across healthcare settings were mandated by the Ministry of Health. Changes in policies have evolved and differences can be found across care settings—making it difficult for patients and caregivers to keep track of the unfolding changes. This information sheet serves as an example that healthcare organizations can use as a template to communicate changes in policy to caregivers related to the COIVD-19 pandemic. 

How to get started? Download the Partners in Care Tool Kit: 

Momentum Building for Caregivers as Partners in Care

The Partners in Care Pandemic Toolkit has been adopted by hospitals and long-term care homes across the province as a key element of their strategies for the safe re-integration of caregivers as essential partners in care during Covid-19. Since the start of the pandemic, Caregiver ID programs have rolled out in more than 20 health care sites across Ontario.     

The Partners in Care Pandemic Learning Collaborative was formed by the Ontario Caregiver Organization and The Change Foundation to support rapid implementation, resource sharing and knowledge exchange for early adopters. Participating organizations have demonstrated that Caregiver ID provides practical benefits to support safe caregiver presence during the pandemic.  More importantly, they have emerged as champions for a deeper commitment to including caregivers as partners in care.   

If your organization is interested in learning more about Partners in Care and connecting with others to support implementation contact the Ontario Caregiver Organization at for more information.  

Learn more about Caregiver ID and the impact it has made for patients, hospital staff, physicians and family caregivers. 

Additional Tools & Resources: 

Resources to support the reintegration of essential care partners into health and care settings have been developed by Healthcare Excellence Canada, including:  

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