Sinai Health System, in partnership with WoodGreen Community Services, launched Cultivating Change in 2017 with the aim of improving the experience of family caregivers—whether in the hospital or the community. The project has taken shape as family caregivers and clinicians work together, focusing their efforts on three areas at Sinai Health: Bridgepoint’s Stroke Program, our integrated Palliative Care program, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Mount Sinai.
“Acknowledging caregivers as partners in care, our goal is to improve the overall experience of our patients, their families and our care providers.” says Jennifer Ridgway, Program Lead on the project. “In each area, we are authentically collaborating with caregivers to explore their journey and identify areas for improvement, generate change ideas through brainstorming sessions, and then prioritize and refine these ideas to be implemented.”
Below are some highlights of the work underway in the three project areas.
Bridgepoint’s Stroke Program (including inpatient and outpatient units)
- This team is currently working to refine and implement four projects.
- The first of the four projects, the caregiver identification project, aligns with Bridgepoint’s new Family Presence Policy which launched on June 5. The policy enables each patient to have two designated family caregivers who will be provided with ID badges and be able to be at the patient’s bedside any time, 24-hours a day.
- The three additional projects underway aim to provide more information, support and training for
Mount Sinai Hospital NICU
- The project team is exploring new ways to use technology to ensure that parents of babies in the NICU can connect with the care team and participate in rounds even if they are not able to be in the hospital.
- The team is creating educational videos to be used as resources for parents.
“During my son’s long NICU stay in 2013, I was desperate for resources, and at the time there was very little available to me. These videos will be eagerly devoured by parents and families seeking more information about their fragile and premature babies and will have a big impact.” –Mount Sinai NICU Parent Advisory Committee Member.
- This project team includes the inpatient unit at Bridgepoint as well as the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care, which provides care in the community and on units at Mount Sinai Hospital.
- The team will explore the journeys of family caregivers in five different care settings and then identify themes and opportunities for improving the caregiver experience.
“As a younger caregiver, the caregiver journey was a difficult process as none of my friends had ever experienced anything similar. The hope of the cultivating change project is to address the needs of caregivers who are in a similar position as I was in. Being involved with this project has also help with my own healing process; knowing that so many people are working towards improving the experiences of caregivers.” –Caregiver Advisor to the palliative care project stream.
This project is supported by a generous grant from The Change Foundation as part of the Changing CARE initiative. The four projects across Ontario use experience based co-design methods to foster collaboration between care providers and caregivers to improve the experience of caregivers in the health care system.