Essential Together Learning Bundles: Mutual Expectations

As part Essential Together, we have curated tools and resources from organizations across the country that support the reintegration of essential care partners.Essential care partners provide physical, psychological and emotional support, as deemed important by the patient. This care can include support in decision making, care coordination and continuity of care. Essential care partners are identified by the patient (or substitute decision maker) and can include family members, close friends or other caregivers.

This page is about supporting health and care facilitiesHealth and care facilities refers to hospitals, long-term care/residential care/nursing homes and other congregate care settings as well as primary care and outpatient care settings. to work with patientsPatients includes residents and clients. and patient partners Patient partners include patients, residents, clients, families, caregivers and care partners and others with lived experience who are working together with teams to improve the quality and safety of healthcare. to develop mutual expectations of responsibilities of staff, patients and essential care partners. It is part of the policy guidance to identify and prepare essential care partners.

Patients should be encouraged to identify their essential care partners. Once identified, a facility staff person (or people) who is designated as a point person for essential care partners ensures smooth and effective coordination of the essential care partner responsibilities, provides supportive education with information regarding infection prevention and control measures, and offers clear and consistent communication. In addition, the point person could liaise with staff to ensure they are aware of who the essential care partners are, highlight relevant policies and provide guidance in the case of any conflicts. Currently there is often no single source of information for essential care partner policies and practices, causing unnecessary confusion for patients, essential care partners and staff.

(From page 12 of Policy Guidance for the Reintegration of Caregivers as Essential Care Partners)

These resources provide examples of clear communication of mutual expectations and processes related to identification of essential care partners, as well as tools that can be used to formalize these expectations through mutual obligation charters or pledges. The mutual expectations are often communicated clearly on websites however they may also be reviewed during staff and essential care partner education/orientation. In some settings, essential care partners must apply, register or even sign up for specific days to enter the facility. 

Current resources

These tools and resources are open source which means you can use and adapt them to fit your local context. We will continue to add to these learning bundles. If you would like to be notified when we have new material, please let us know.

Alberta Health Services

Alberta Health Services is the single health authority that deliver healthcare for the province. Their COVID-19 task force creates communication and resources to support the entire system, which covers multiple settings and patient groups. Among their tools are co-designed pamphlets that describe the risks and roles of essential care partners.

 

Bruyère

Bruyère is an academic health centre with multiple sites including long-term care facilities in Ottawa, Ontario. Their Designated Carer Program welcomes essential care partners into their facilities and includes a pledge outlining their roles and responsibilities. 

CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-I’Île-de-Montréal

This site includes resources and information for caregivers visiting long-term care centres (CHSLDs) in the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux du Centre-Ouest de I’Île-de-Montréal in Quebec. Essential care partners complete an application through their site.

CISSS de la Montérégie-Ouest

The Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Montérégie-Ouest website includes information and supports for individuals in the care of intermediate and family-type resources (IR-FTRs), and residents of private seniors’ residences (PSRs) in the CISSS de la Monteregie-Ouest in Quebec. Among other resources, there is information describing the role of essential care partners and consent forms.

Perley & Rideau Veteran's Health Centre

Perley and Rideau Veteran’s Health Centre is a long-term care centre in Ontario. They have developed a program for designated caregivers including a process for designating your essential care partners.

Perley and Rideau Veteran’s Health Centre website

If you know of other tools and resources to contribute to these learning bundles, or if there is something specific you are looking for, please send us an email via Essential.Together@cfhi-fcass.ca

We know there is different language and terminology used across the country. But to make sure we provide as much clarity as possible, in this context:

Essential care partners provide physical, psychological and emotional support, as deemed important by the patient. This care can include support in decision making, care coordination and continuity of care. Essential care partners are identified by the patient (or substitute decision maker) and can include family members, close friends or other caregivers.

Family may include relatives and non-relatives and is defined by the patient.

Health and care facilities refers to hospitals, long-term care/residential care/nursing homes and other congregate care settings as well as primary care and outpatient care settings.

Patient partners include patients, residents, clients, families, caregivers and care partners and others with lived experience who are working together with teams to improve the quality and safety of healthcare.

Patients includes residents and clients.