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Past Huddles

April 20, 2022

A Discussion with Tideview Terrace Nursing Home

Watch the recording via YouTube

Join the Essential Together program for a Q &A with Ariel Rice from Tideview Terrrace Nursing Home, an Eden Alternative Registered facility, located in Digby, Nova Scotia. We will discuss how they have welcomed essential care partners during COVID, the barriers and facilitators, and why they have taken the Essential Together pledge. 

  • Ariel Rice - Neighbourhood Manager & Volunteer Lead 
  • Debra Boudreau - administrator / CEO

March 16, 2022

Committing to Family Presence during COVID- An Alberta Story

Watch the recording via YouTube

  • Jennifer Symon – Senior consultant Engagement and Patient Experience
  • Valrie Stewart- Consultant Patient and family Centred Care

Session Description - a general discussion of the keys to success in maintaining family presence during COVID.  Identification of some of the challenges of this commitment and the learnings along the way.

Jennifer is a registered nurse whose passion for family presence and PFCC grew after caring for her husband at while he battled a rare disease in hospital for a year.  She now works with AHS Engagement and Patient Experience department and lives and breathes her passion for this work in all she does.

Valrie is a registered nurse with many years of nursing leadership and a special interest in patient and family centred care and family presence. She left a manger’s role in 2013 to join the South Health Campus Patient and Family Centred Care Department and subsequently the Calgary Zone Patient and Family Centred Care Team.

February 16, 2022

Patient and Family Partnership: Essential or Essential with Conditions? The Kingston Health Sciences Centre Experience.

Presenters:  Angela Morin, Lead, Patient and Family Centred Care & Anne O’Riordan, Patient Family Experience Advisor

Watch the recording via YouTube

Are patient and family partners considered essential in your organization or essential with conditions? To kick off the discussion, Angela and Anne will do a brief presentation on the role of patient and family experience advisors, at the organizational and leadership levels, at Kingston Health Sciences Centre during the pandemic and their impact on family presence and the role of essential care partners. The experience of Kingston Health Sciences Centre will be shared with insights into changes that developed over the course of the pandemic and reflections about factors that fostered or challenged the role of patient and family partners at all levels of the organization. 

January 19, 2022

Creating the conditions for change: Future proofing caregiver presence policies 

Watch the recording via YouTube

Discover the key steps to shift existing visitor and caregiver presence policies towards person- and family-centred care based on the three foundational principles for successful reintegration of essential care partners into health and care settings.  

Drawing on the latest evidence, policy guidance and lessons learned through the pandemic, Healthcare Excellence Canada has developed tools and resources that support Essential Care Partner programs. This session will show participants how to use the Essential Together Change Package and create an opportunity for them to share experiences and lessons learned.  


  • Jessie Checkley, Senior Program Lead, Patient Engagement and Partnerships, Healthcare Excellence Canada


  • Jill Ritchie, Program Lead, Patient Engagement and Partnerships, Healthcare Excellence Canada 

December 8, 2021

Staying in Touch With Informal Caregivers During The Pandemic


  • Ms. Amélie Boutin, Assistant, Support for elderly autonomy program – home care continuum) 
  • Mr. Joël Bouchard, Senior Advisor, accommodation, harmonization, practice quality, and living environment approach)
  • Ms. Pascale Castonguay, regional coordinator, informal caregiving

Watch the recording via YouTube

The role and importance of informal caregivers as partners in the care and services provided to clients in public residences have continued to evolve over the past decade. However, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has turned everything on its head, forcing the Direction du programme de soutien à l’autonomie des personnes âgées (Support for elderly autonomy program) to reinvent itself and come up with other ways of communicating. During this time of great uncertainty when in-person contact was no longer an option, various initiatives were introduced to maintain these important relationships. This presentation gives an overview of the issues and the solutions identified to overcome them. 

November 24, 2021

Ethical Considerations in the Implementation of Vaccination Requirements for Essential Care Partners and Visitors

Speaker – Mike Kekewich, Director of Clinical and Organizational Ethics at The Ottawa Hospital, as well as the Director for the Champlain Centre for Health Care Ethics, and the Champlain Regional MAID Network.

Watch the recording via YouTube

Recent visiting policies to health and care facilities across the countries have shown considerable change in the last few months, with some introducing vaccine mandates for staff, essential care partners and general visitors. Mike will present about the ethics and decisions involved when considering introducing vaccine mandates for essential care partners.

October 27, 2021

Canadian Patient Safety Week Webinar

Panel speakers included:

  • Dr. Amit Arya - Palliative Care Lead at Kensington Health; Lecturer, Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Toronto; Assistant Clinical Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
  • Jennifer Baumbusch - Caregiver for her daughter who is medically complex, Associate Professor at the UBC School of Nursing
  • Jannice Kaffer - President and CEO, Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare
  • Linda Moss – Patient Advocate, Ontario
  • Carol Fancott – Director, Patient Engagement and Partnerships, Healthcare Excellence Canada
  • Maggie Keresteci - Essential Care Partner, Executive Director, Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research

Watch the recording via YouTube

Questions from the webinar

October 13, 2021

Essential Care Partner - Bringing Evidence to Life and Busting Myths through Stories


  • Carol Fancott, Director, Patient Engagement and Partnerships, Healthcare Excellence Canada


  • Maggie Keresteci, Caregiver Advocate, Executive Director CAHSPR, PCAG Co-chair
  • Lisa Raffoul, Patient Advocate, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Windsor, PCAG Member
  • Pamela Libralesso, RSSW, Founder, Ontario Families of Group Home Residents, PCAG Member
  • Serena Thompson, Vice President, Sickle Cell Association, Patient Advocate, PCAG Member

Watch the recording via YouTube

This huddle will share stories, bust myths and clarify the facts that show how essential care partners benefit care, experience, safety and outcomes, including during COVID-19. Stories written by members, colleagues and friends of the Essential Together Patient and Caregiver Advisory Group bring evidence to life and demonstrate the vital role essential care partners play in a patient’s care team.

September 23, 2021

Family Presence Policies – The latest evidence and policy guidance


  • Jessie Checkley, Senior Program Lead, Patient Engagement and Partnerships


  • Carol Fancott, Director, Patient Engagement and Partnerships, Healthcare Excellence Canada
  • Shoshana Hahn-Goldberg Senior Program Lead ​Representing Healthcare Excellence Canada​ Patient Engagement and Partnerships

Watch the recording via YouTube

This huddle will provide an overview of updated policy guidance and evidence for implementing family presence policies in health and care settings, including during the pandemic.

During 2020, policy guidance regarding family presence policies was co-developed with range of people with expertise and COVID-19 related experience, including providers, administrators, patients, families and caregivers. Using the latest evidence about the impact of restrictive policies on patient outcomes, this policy guidance has been updated to reflect the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This session is particularly relevant for healthcare decision makers and those implementing policy that impacts on essential care partners' access to loved ones in any health and care setting.

June 30, 2021

Staff training to support family-centred care during COVID-19

Speakers: Dr. Jasneet Parmar (Care of the Elderly physician and Associate Professor at the Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta) and Cecilia Marion (Senior Director of Operations, Addictions, Mental Health and Continuing Care, Covenant Health).

Watch the recording via YouTube

Key resources:

June 9, 2021

Caregiver ID – A tool to support the reintegration of essential care partners during the pandemic and beyond

Speakers: Alison Kilbourn (Project Lead, Strategic Partnerships and Innovation, Ontario Caregiver Organization) and Jennifer Killing (Vice-President - Quality, Research and Strategic Partnerships, peopleCare Communities)

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Key resources:

May 26, 2021

Family Presence – Mutual Expectations

Speakers: Kristin Grunert (Director, Patient and Family Centered Care and Area Engagement), Amber Clarke (Patient and Family Centred Care Specialist) and Erin Kell (Patient and Family Centred Care Specialist) from the Saskatchewan Health Authority

Watch the recording via YouTube

May 6, 2021

Essential Together, moving co-developed policy into practice across Alberta Health Services

Speakers: Chris Mayhew (Senior Consultant, Engagement and Patient Experience, Alberta Health Services) and Dean Radbourne (Patient and Family Advisor, Alberta Health Services Patient and Family Advisory Group)

Watch the recording via YouTube

Key resources (currently English only):

April 8, 2021

”Mrs Jones, who are your essential care partners?”

Speaker: Lisa Raffoul, Patient Advocate, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare

Watch the recording via YouTube

Key resources (currently English only):

March 25, 2021

Supporting staff in the safe reintegration of essential care partners

Speaker: Jennifer Cornell, Director of Long-Term Care, Grey County

Watch the recording via YouTube

Key resources (currently English only):

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.