Balance Key to Our Work
Over the past six months we have listened intently to the voices of Ontario’s family caregivers. This past winter, we crisscrossed the province for The Caring Experience project, stopping in eight cities to meet with family caregivers at different workshops.
I was fortunate enough to attend the first workshop in London, Ont. It was striking to hear family caregivers speak with such candor and emotion – some for the first time. For many, I think the experience was cathartic. I even saw participants staying back to continue discussion, exchanging emails and phone numbers. And, while there were some stories highlighting very positive experiences, for many it is a largely unsupported role.
This first phase of The Caring Experience has drawn to a close, and we’ve now begun to hear from those who work in Ontario’s health care system – Ontario’s health care providers.
Through a series of engagement sessions with frontline health care providers, we’re casting a wide net to ensure we hear many perspectives—from residents training in rural medicine to personal support workers and nurses. As we won’t be able to meet with everyone, we’ve also created a survey that providers can complete online.
This new phase is extremely important to us as we seek a balanced understanding of the spectrum of family caregiver interactions in the system. We hope to see what common ground exists between those who use the system, and those who work in it. Taking this more holistic approach will serve us well when we move into the next chapter of our strategic plan: the action phase.
You may also notice that this edition of Top of Mind includes the release of our latest publication, Charting a New PATH—a three-part report that describes what we learned through our Partners Advancing Transitions in Healthcare (PATH) project.
PATH was a tremendous learning and growing opportunity and we’re confident it has helped to lead an increase in the number of forums and opportunities for patients, family caregivers and providers to come together.
However, while we’re encouraged by the strides being made for meaningful patient engagement in Ontario, it’s extremely vital that these initiatives are more than a “tick box” exercise. There are a series of important and sometimes difficult decisions that need to be made to ensure that the expertise of patients and family caregivers are given equal weight to all those sitting at the table. Taking time to really listen to the concerns of these individuals is one step, but finding the right ways for action, recognition, and potentially compensation often take more time and thought. That’s why we share so much of what we’ve learned through numerous publications, such as Rules of Engagement and At Work, In Play.
Lastly, I’m excited to mention our upcoming Hot Talks on Health event with Helena Herklots, Dr. Joshua Tepper, and family caregiver Katherine Arnup, PhD. It’ll be a dynamic discussion where we’ll hear three unique points of view, and gain insight on what has been done in the United Kingdom for family caregivers, and what potential pathways exist for Ontario health policy. I sincerely hope you can join us.
Also from the Spring 2016 edition of Top of Mind: