Media Release: New online caregiver-support tool is a helping hand for caregivers amid pandemic
London Ontario – Nearly a third of Canada’s population provides care for a family member at any given time. The expectations of family caregivers are growing to such an extent that their role is one of the most important ones in society.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many family caregivers were faced with significant challenges as supports within the community decreased in order to align with safety measures to prevent the virus from spreading.
Recognizing the need for additional resources due to the changing health care landscape, St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s) partnered with a Caregiver Support Project Team to develop a new online support tool for family caregivers in Southwestern Ontario. The team a sub-group of the COVID-19 Community South West Region Pandemic Planning Table, is made up of members of community-based health service organizations, a caregiver, and the South West Frail Senior Strategy (SWFSS) team, led by St. Joseph’s.
“We were thrilled to participate and offer our expertise and connections to co-create resources to support not only an older adult population, but all caregivers in the Southwestern Ontario region,” says Lyndsey Butler, Regional System Coordination Facilitator at St. Joseph's.
The website tool was designed to deliver relevant, easy to understand information for caregivers on how to find local resources on topics such as finances, mental health, abuse and social/physical distancing. Recognizing some caregivers have challenges with access to technology, the online information was formatted into printable tip sheets. The website, officially launched in May, can be viewed at http://www.cssontario.ca/covid-19.
Project member - and family caregiver herself - Linda Crossley, helped to ensure the online resources helped those caring for loved ones better manage the health care system and cope during the pandemic.
“It can be very stressful and I know what it’s like,” says Linda who cared for her husband with Alzheimer's in her home for many years prior to him transferring to a long-term care facility. “Especially during the pandemic, when you are feeling more isolated than you normally would.”
Carol Walters, CEO of the Alzheimer Society London Middlesex and also had a leadership role in developing the caregiver support tool, says the team plans to keep the resources updated and ongoing for as long as needed as the pandemic unfolds.
“It’s a tough time for everyone,” says Carol. “But especially for caregivers who have lost so many of their supports due to the pandemic. These resources – and the incredible collaboration that went into making them, will hopefully go a long way to help those who devote so much to care for their loves ones.”
For more information contact:
Allison Hansen, Communication Assistant
Office: 519.646.6100 ext. 61501
About St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a leading academic health care centre in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of: chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery. St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community-based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Institute; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; and the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care. For more information, visit sjhc.london.on.ca
About the South West Frail Senior Strategy at St. Joseph’s
The South West Frail Senior Strategy’s purpose is to improve outcomes and experiences of the health care system for older adults with frailty and their caregivers. Together with health care and community partners, older adults and family caregivers, the Strategy will work to create locally integrated systems of care that shift the way services are offered for this underserved population. Backbone support for the South West Frail Senior Strategy is provided by St. Joseph’s Health Care London. Learn more.
About the Caregiver Support Project
The Caregiver Support project is a subproject of the Community South West Region Pandemic Planning Table (CSWRPP) and has been initiated to define consistent ways of supporting and engaging caregivers during these unprecedented times.