As part Essential Together, we have curated tools and resources from organizations across the country that support the reintegration of essential care partners.
This page is about supporting organizations to work with patients and patient partners to establish caregiver identification (ID) for essential care partners. It is part of the policy guidance to support essential care partners as they enter health and care facilities.
Before COVID-19, some organizations had already instituted formal caregiver ID programs. ID processes remain relevant during the pandemic so staff can identify who is in the facility/on the unit and part of the care team. The provision of an ID badge or another visible icon can be linked to other processes, such as the designation of essential care partner(s) by the patient, cleared pre-entry screening and essential care partner education. This process may promote the acceptance of the role of essential care partners and alleviate staff fears as they can be confident essential care partners have been designated by patients, understand the safety protocols and are prepared to be on the unit as part of the care team.
(From page 15 of Policy Guidance for the Reintegration of Caregivers as Essential Care Partners)
These resources provide examples of essential care partner ID when they are on site. They can be helpful for enabling easy access into facilities and are important for tracking and safety.
The 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.
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 provides them with DCP ID badges.
Grey County operates three long-term care homes across Ontario. They introduced the Designated Care Partner (DCP) program which allows for the expansion of visitors for residents whose health and overall wellbeing would benefit from a DCP.
The Ontario Caregiver Organization supports caregivers across Ontario. They have developed several training modules for healthcare providers looking to support caregivers as essential care partners.
The McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Quebec explains on their webpage for essential care partners that they will be given a green bracelet to wear to identify them as a designated visitor.
If you know of other tools and resources to contribute to these learning bundles, or if there is something specific you are after, please send us an email via Essential.Together@HEC-ESC.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:
Blanket visitor restrictions refer to restrictions that extend to all “visitors” entering a facility, often without exceptions, including 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.
Patients includes residents and clients.
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.
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.
Open family presence policies support the presence of essential care partners at patient bedside at any time and not restricted by “visiting hours.”