Essential Together Huddles: Connecting for peer-to-peer learning and support
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in blanket visitor restrictions that prohibit essential care partners from accessing loved ones in health and care facilities. Although the restrictive policies were put in place with the best intentions, they bring known risks and unintended harm to patients and families and moral distress to staff. To support organizations to safely welcome back essential care partners, Healthcare Excellence Canada launched Essential Together Huddles.
Essential Together Huddles:
- Connect and bring together those who create, implement or experience family presence policy during the pandemic and beyond.
- Create an open, safe and supportive space for people to share with and learn from others facing similar challenges.
- Enable learning across various health and care settings.
Essential Together Huddles are open to anyone and designed particularly for those people and organizations formally participating in the Essential Together program.
Huddles run for just 45 minutes. They involve a 15 minute presentation from subject matter experts and/or organizations sharing how they’re implementing policy guidance to reintegrate essential care partners during the pandemic. Following each presentation, we have a group discussion to help encourage peer-to-peer learning and support.
We welcome you to share your experiences, both successes and challenges. We want participants to come away from each Huddle with practical tools and/or learning they can apply to their work.
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.”