Cathy Fooks, President and CEO of The Change Foundation, Carol Riddell-Elson, family caregiver and advocate, and Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Care London, launch St. Joseph’s Changing Care Project.
St. Joseph’s Health Care London is among four organizations in Ontario each receiving a total of $2.25 million over the next three years to improve the experience of family caregivers within the health care system.
"Health care providers want to work differently with caregivers. These partnerships will show us how to do that." —Cathy Fooks, President and CEO, The Change Foundation.
The investment is being made by The Change Foundation, a health policy think-tank focused on making positive change in Ontario’s health care system. With a firm commitment to engaging the voices of patients, family caregivers and health and community care providers, the foundation explores contemporary health care issues through different projects and partnerships to evolve the health care system in Ontario and beyond.
Over the next three years, ‘Changing CARE’ partnerships in London, Huron and Perth counties, Cornwall and Toronto will develop local supports, programs and resources to address four key needs identified by caregivers and health care providers: communication, assessment, recognition and education.
St. Joseph’s project titled, “Improving CARE Together,” will build on past learning and successes to embed family caregivers as an integral part of the care team in all programs and services. This work will begin at Parkwood Institute Main Building. The project will enable St. Joseph’s to become an organization that not only supports caregivers at the direct care level, but incorporates a strong caregiver voice in program and organizational planning.
"The role of the family caregiver across the health care sector is a vital, but often unrecognized one," says Cathy Fooks, President and CEO, The Change Foundation. "Though we know 3.3 million people in Ontario provide essential support or care to a family member, friend or neighbour, caregivers are often not respected or considered key members of a patient's care team. Health care providers want to work differently with caregivers. These partnerships will show us how to do that."
Over the course of the project at St. Joseph’s, health care providers, family caregivers, and administrators will work on a number of activities and mechanisms designed to make impacts across the organization. These include:
- Communication resource toolkits for health providers and caregivers when discussing care planning.
- Caregiver assessments and check-ins to prevent burn-out and increase recognition.
- Education and support initiatives including workshops, lectures and counselling sessions.
The partnerships moving ahead under Changing CARE bring important focus to different facets of the caregiver experience from a multitude of perspectives, including different care settings, demographics, and geographic locations.