A Wish Come True: The Caregiver Wishlist
Pierre Lachaine, Senior Communications Associate
We often hear that large-scale change is needed in our healthcare system, but it’s rare to come across small changes that can have a large impact.
When I first started working with Carole Ann Alloway, and I first read her caregiver wishlist – the document on which our videos are based – I knew her ideas could help to change the caregiver experience in Ontario for the better.
Her solutions were tangible, like giving the caregiver a tailored folder of information before the patient’s surgery to help them get the patient there in the first place, or engaging the caregiver in discharge planning at the hospital. Her solutions were also simple, as the best solutions usually are.
I knew we had something special, and I knew it lended itself to an engaging multi-media approach.
So we set out together to create the Caregiver Wishlist video.
But we didn’t just want to reflect one caregiver’s experience – In true Change Foundation way, we wanted to co-create something with not just the voice of one caregiver embedded in it. We wanted it to reflect the experiences of as many caregivers as possible.
So Carole Ann and I set out to put together a workshop with about a dozen caregivers from across the spectrum of caregiving. Caregivers from across the province, of all ages and who care for people with all sorts of illnesses. In the end, interest was so high that we had 16 caregivers join us.
We used the workshop to road test Carole Ann’s ideas, and to generate some new ideas as well. The discussion was wide-ranging. Caregivers shared their stories – their joys and their frustrations, their ideas to help pave an easier path for future caregivers, and to help give healthcare professionals an idea of what caregivers are going through, and what would help make their caregiving journeys a little bit easier.
After all, caregivers are invaluable to Ontario’s healthcare system, and without them, the system would crumble.
We filmed the videos, and hired a graphic artist to capture the conversation in a visual way.
Working with Carole Ann was a joy. And seeing Carole Ann’s voice crescendo into a chorus of caregiver voices – each reinforcing the next, while also bringing something unique – was one of the most validating experiences of my career so far.
Co-creation truly is an amazing thing.
In fact, we had such a great experience working together, we decided to create another video – Co-design in Action – a documentary style making-of video, to hopefully inspire other organizations to follow our lead and involve caregiver voices in a meaningful way when they create products about and for caregivers.
So, caregivers, healthcare professionals and healthcare organizations: Watch the videos, and listen to what the caregivers are saying. I hope you’ll see how easy and rewarding co-creation can be, and that you’ll hear something that moves you.