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.
This page is about supporting health and care facilities to work with patients and patient partners 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.
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, may also be reviewed during staff training and essential care partner orientation. In some settings, essential care partners must apply, register or even sign up for specific days.
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.
Alberta Health Services
Alberta Health Services is a province-wide health system. 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 ECPs.
- Policy Directive: Designated Family/Support Access and Visitation in Designated Living Options
- Designated Family and Support Persons: Know your risk pamphlet
- Designated Family and Support Persons: Know your role pamphlet
- Translated resources
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.
CISSS de la Montérégie-Ouest
The CISSS 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 Montérégie-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.
Nova Scotia Health Authority
Nova Scotia Health Authority has prepared a toolkit and video for essential care partners on what to expect while being with a loved one in their facilities. This includes infection control guidance
- COVID-19 Toolkit – Family/Primary Support Person(s) and Family Caregivers
- What to Expect for Designated Caregivers in NSH Long Term Care Facilities
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:
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.
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.
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.