A staff member posts a note to a board full of colourful sticky notes, other people sit at a table behind her at an event where staff members and caregivers brainstormed in small groups

How can we create a better experience and provide more support for family caregivers? This was on the minds of staff and caregivers alike in a recent co-design and brainstorming event for Sinai Health System’s Caregiver Friendly Hospital and Community project.

The project, a partnership with WoodGreen Community Services and the Change Foundation, aims to ensure that family caregivers—the partners, family members and friends who care for and support our patients—are acknowledged and supported in the critical role that they play in the hospital and the community. The co-design brainstorming event was an opportunity for caregivers, staff and community providers from WoodGreen, to talk about their experiences and share their change ideas. This first session focused on the Stroke program, and as the project progresses, there will be sessions in other areas of the hospital and community.Two of the participants in a brainstorming session for caregivers and staff members talking

“This process of collaboration between caregivers and care providers is essential to the success of this project.” says Jennifer Ridgway, Program Lead, Changing Care. “The change ideas brought forward in these sessions will be the foundation for the work that comes next: assembling project teams; and implementing pilot initiatives on units using a plan-do-study-act (PDSA) approach. It will be important for family caregivers to partner with staff throughout the various stages.”

Participant feedback so far
Participants in the Stroke Program co-design session have already shared their feedback. Here’s what four of the participants had to say:

  • “I think it was very beneficial to have both clinicians and caregivers together to listen, learn and share ideas and personal experiences.”
  • “I really enjoyed speaking with colleagues from different professions as well as caregivers. I think as professionals, we forget to ask caregivers their experiences. I found it enriching.”
  • “Discussion in groups went very well. It was great to have representation of healthcare providers from different sectors, representatives from the system, as well perspectives from caregivers.”
  • “[There were] people of all disciplines/experience at each table. [We] were able to get a well-rounded perspective of the stroke experience.

What’s nextA participant in a brainstorming session speaks to the other participants. she is holding a microphone and sitting at a table with other participants

Palliative Care has been identified as the next population that will use the experienced based co-design method to uncover areas for improvement. The Bridgepoint site Palliative Care Unit, Mount Sinai Hospital site, Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care and WoodGreen Community Services will work with family caregivers to understand the caregiving journey from their perspectives.

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