CFHI and CPSI: Better Together Policy Lab

Since 2015, open family presence policies had become common in Canada’s hospitals. A Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement study from early 2020 showed 73 percent of surveyed hospitals had accommodating visiting policies. However by mid-March, the situation changed dramatically in response to COVID-19, and with some specific patient exceptions, none of the hospitals in the follow-up study had accommodating policies.

Building on Better Together, a Spotlight Series webinar about family and caregiver presence during COVID-19, and work with an expert advisory group to develop key next steps for organization to welcome back essential partners in care, CFHI and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute partnered to deliver a virtual policy lab.

Through the policy lab, we co-developed policy guidance to support the reintegration of essential care partners back into healthcare facilities during a pandemic. The guidance was developed through a policy lab process that brought together people from across the healthcare system with a diverse range of expertise and COVID-19 related experience, including patients, families, caregivers, policymakers, administrators and providers.

This policy guidance is intended to support policy makers and implementers in hospitals, long-term care and other residential and congregate care settings. It focuses on two key areas where barriers to consistent and supportive access of caregivers have been noted: 1) identification and preparation of essential care partners and 2) entry into the facility.

Download the Policy Guidance for the Reintegration of Caregivers as Essential Care Partners

Our Policy Lab Method

We are working with the Pivot Group and adopting a Double-Diamond style methodology to collaboratively create policy tools. This process puts the people using and applying policies in the centre of the design. It involves using creative approaches (including adapted Liberating Structures techniques) to explore the issues more widely (also called divergent thinking) and then focussing on potential solutions (convergent thinking). 

As part of the divergent phase and to gather information to inform the work in the policy lab before it started, we did an evidence scan of existing policies and conducted interviews with a range of people including those with lived experience, healthcare providers, policy makers and senior leaders.
The policy is being run over five virtual sessions and involves empathy mapping, user journey mapping, generating and iteratively improving policy solutions using a policy canvas tool, and testing the potential solutions. Our goal is to create adaptable and inclusive policy tools that can be applied in hospital settings across the country.

We will be sharing more about the process and our experience of running a virtual policy lab in the near future. If you would like to stay up to date, subscribe to our newsletter.

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