Area of Focus:
For many family caregivers, helping a family member or friend through an illness or health condition can be difficult. Caregivers may be expected to adapt to new care routines, understand medications and provide essential emotional support. This can be overwhelming. Support programs, resources and open communication with health care providers can help caregivers manage these expectations.
At St. Joseph’s Health Care London, pioneering work has already begun to better equip and support family caregivers. From developing care transition guidelines for older adults, to resources such as a Family Caregiver Handbook for mental health programs, the organization has fostered the first sparks of innovation.
Through a commitment to St. Joseph’s strategic plan, Improving CARE Together will build on past learning and successes to further strengthen family caregiver partnerships in all programs and services. This work will begin at St. Joseph’s Parkwood Institute Main Building site.
Improving CARE Together 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.
Over the course of the partnership, health care providers, family caregivers, and administrators will work together to address Changing CARE’s four interconnected themes: communication, assessment, recognition, and education. The partnership will feature a number of activities and mechanisms designed to make impacts across the organization, including:
- communication resource toolkits for health providers and caregivers when discussing care planning;
- caregiver assessments and check-ins to prevent burn-out and increase recognition; and
- education and support initiatives including workshops, lectures and counselling sessions.
St. Joseph’s Health Care London will also develop new family advisory councils across all its programs and strengthen those that currently exist.
A variety of provincial, regional and community partners will also be engaged throughout the project including: Alzheimer Society London and Middlesex, Canadian Frailty Network, CNIB London, Dale Brain Injury Services, Health Quality Ontario, London Health Sciences Centre, McCormick Care Group, Meals on Wheels London, Ontario Caregiver Coalition, Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario, South West Community Care Access Centre, SouthWesthealthline.ca, South West Local Health Integration Network, Southwestern Ontario Stroke Network, and Wellspring London.