WoodGreen Community Services and Sinai Health Network are partnering with caregivers in Cultivating Change, one of four programs funded by The Change Foundation across Ontario with the aim of improving the caregiver experience.
Together we’re embracing a philosophy of care in which caregivers are not only clients but partners. This approach would see family caregivers formally identified, valued for their deep knowledge, and actively listened to in order to assess their unique needs. Most importantly, this project will ensure that family caregivers are fully integrated into the design process.
Cultivating Change Updates
WoodGreen Caregiver Summit (2018-07-23)
On June 27th, 2018 WoodGreen hosted a caregiver summit sponsored by The Change Foundation, bringing together a crowd of 100 WoodGreen staff, caregivers and community partners for a day of collaboration. Together, we were brainstorming towards creating policies and programs that will better serve the needs of caregivers through co-design.
Co-Design in Action During the WoodGreen Caregiver Summit
We organized the guests into several tables, mixing WoodGreen staff, partners and caregivers with table facilitators to lead each activity. In the morning we started with empathy maps to understand what it feels like to be a caregiver and what is important to caregivers. Each table was assigned a caregiver profile and asked to determine what that caregiver would think, say, do and feel. In the afternoon, after a delicious lunch followed by a re-energizing Cha Cha Slide activity, tables were rearranged to allow different caregivers and staff to meet one another. Each table then created a collage which was meant to represent ideal caregiver experience. The keywords that people used in their collages will help us understand what’s important in an ideal caregiver experience from the caregivers’ perspective.
Finally, each table engaged in some brainstorming, coming up with as many ideas as possible for caregiver policies, programs and services they would like to see. The room was asked to be creative and not be restrained by financial or practical considerations. During the event participants also watched two videos of caregivers relating their authentic stories of care. The videos are emotional, relating both the rewards and struggles of being a caregiver to a loved one, and can be watched on YouTube:
We were humbled by the feedback of the summit we received from both caregivers and WoodGreen staff:
“[The summit] provided an opportunity to be heard and to hear. [The] whole experience was exhilarating, informative, and congenial.”
“[The summit] Helped me to understand that as a caregiver, I am not alone; That there are many people that can help.”
“The event was very well and thoughtfully planned; Didn’t feel like work.”
“Learning about the importance of co-design, hearing personal stories from caregivers – all of it helped inform my approach to supporting care recipients and caregivers.”
We also asked participants to describe their feeling on the event in one word. We tallied up the responses, and used them to create this word art, with the most repeated words appearing larger.
1. Describing the ideal caregiver-friendly experience
We will be documenting all the words and phrases that were collected during the session where we described and built a collage of the ideal caregiver-friendly experience. These important and meaningful words and phrases will be used to draft a “Caregiver Commitment Statement” for our organization that will serve as a guideline for how we expect each other to communicate with and behave toward caregivers. As part of the development process we expect to engage further with staff and caregivers in the organization.
2. Brainstorming ideas to be caregiver-friendly community
We have already started compiling and describing the ideas that were collected during our brainstorming session. In early August we will be seeking caregiver participation in a virtual voting process to support the prioritization of the significant number of ideas that came to fruition during the event. This voting process will allow them to tell us which ideas would be most impactful in helping bring us closer to our vision of becoming a caregiver-friendly community.
Together with our partners at Bridgepoint Active Healthcare/Sinai Health System and supported with generous funding by The Change Foundation, we are excited to continue the co-design of a truly caregiver friendly community.