Caregiver

 


The section discusses the following topics :

> WHO IS A CAREGIVER ?

> WHAT CAN THE CAREGIVER DO IN A TEAM?

> HOW DOES THE CAREGIVER FIT INTO A TEAM?

> EDUCATION AND PREPARATION

> CAREGIVER ASSOCIATIONS

> CARGIVERS CONNECTING TO A TEAM

WHO IS A CAREGIVER ?

An individual who seeks to support a patient/client to manage his/her health and/or social issue(s) that is (are) interfering with his/her desired capacity to fully participate in his/her family and community.  The caregiver may be a family member, friend or individual hired by the patient/client, family or legal guardian to care for the patient/client.

WHAT CAN A CAREGIVER DO IN A TEAM?

The caregiver serves as a support person to a patient/client or at the request of the patient/client or other legal guardian, serves as the voice for the patient/client to ensure that the perspective of the patient/client is brought into a health and social care team. For example, the caregiver may convey to the team how the patient’s/client’s daily life is impacted by their health and/or social issues (and vice versa) and how suggested treatments and/or actions from the team can be adapted (or not) into their activities of daily living.

HOW DOES THE CAREGIVER FIT INTO A TEAM?

The caregiver becomes a true member of the interprofessional patient/client centred collaborative team and ensures that the patient/client is able to retain control over his/her care and is provided with the knowledge, skills, and expertise of the health/social care providers, and between both negotiate (in consultation with the patient/client/legal guardian) a plan of care within existing resources. 

 

EDUCATION AND PREPARATION

The caregiver brings his/her understanding of the patient’s/client’s health and social needs and ensures these are recognized within the patient’s/client’s own frame of reference in the interaction (when necessary) with health and social care providers to assist in shaping a plan to address, monitor and reduce/resolve the identified issues.

As a caregiver you seek to learn from the patient/client/legal guardian the role in the health and social care team they wish you to serve.

CAREGIVER ASSOCIATIONS

Caregivers can also belong to a supportive organization that provides the means for them to understand more about the health and social care issues of patients/clients they are supporting and how to serve in the role of caregiver support in health and social care teams.

Canadian Caregiver Coalition:  http://www.ccc-ccan.ca/

CAREGIVERS CONNECTING TO A TEAM

Caregivers on behalf of patients/clients can seek a voice into their care and supportive services through three levels of influence:
Policy Level – serve as a member of the public.  Patients/clients and caregivers can serve on governing boards of hospitals, community agencies (e.g. in Ontario on a Local Integrated Health Network [LIHN]), and disease-specific organizations (e.g. the Kidney Foundation or the Diabetes Association) to influence policy making that supports a patient’s/client’s voice.
Program Level – serve as a member of a health organization focusing on quality improvement.  In Ontario the Excellent Care for All Act requires health organizations to have patients influencing the decisions made about their care.
Health Care Team Level – as a caregiver you can request that:

  1. all needed health and social care providers meet with the patient/client and yourself at the same time to coordinate care,
  2. health and social care providers give you as the patient/client advocate an equal voice in discussions around the patient’s/client’s care,
  3. health and social care providers be willing to negotiate the patient’s/client’s care with them and you to fit in with what is feasible in the patient’s/client’s life and to support a reduction/resolution of the patient’s/client’s health/social issues,
  4. community providers necessary to continue to support the patient’s/client’s care be part of the team, so that they know the needs and plan developed between the patient/client (and caregiver when you serve in this role) and all the health/social care providers to ensure continuance of the plan through a seamless transition from one level of care to another (e.g. hospital to home).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inerprofessional Education Initiatives: Working together across disciplines