main hospital building at night


New Essential Caregiver Program at Cornwall Hospital


Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) is proud to be launching a new Essential Caregiver Program this month, a compassionate and forward-thinking initiative that will help to redefine patient-centered care and family engagement at CCH.

Caregivers are individuals, often family members or close friends, who provide assistance and support to patients. They enhance and assist with communication, provide emotional and psychological support, advocate for patients and more.

Healthcare organizations across Ontario are increasingly committing to building a culture that supports patient and family partnerships in care, which includes acknowledging caregivers and the positive impact they have on patient health.  For instance, studies show that caregivers often improve patient outcomes, help to reduce hospital readmission rates, and decrease incidents of falls, sepsis, and decompensation while in hospital.

It is important for us to recognize the vital role caregivers play and actively involve them as partners in the care process. By doing so, we can create a more comprehensive and patient-centered approach to care that benefits everyone.

This is particularly important as we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which we recognize had a profound impact on patient-family dynamics. Re-introducing and strengthening caregiver involvement will help pave the way for stronger and more resilient patient-centered care on our journey of recovery and healing.

The new Essential Caregiver Program at CCH has three main components to help us achieve this:

1. Identifying and training caregivers: Caregivers will undergo specialized hospital training which will include overviews on patient privacy and consent, role clarification, expectations, safety measures, etc. Each caregiver will also be issued an “I Am a Caregiver” visual identification badge.

2. Including the caregiver as part of the care team: The training for caregivers will also include tips on how to appropriately interact with the healthcare team and ask questions on things like medication administration and mealtimes so they can support the decision-making process. Hospital staff will also undergo dedicated training to learn how they can best include caregivers as part of the care team.

3. Supporting the caregiver: The hospital will actively support caregivers by providing resources, support services and access to our Family Caregiver Centre, which is a dedicated lounge for caregivers with computer access and resources.

The program will be rolled out across various hospital departments in phases over the coming weeks, starting with our Alternate Level of Care (ALC) Unit this month, as ALC patients are more likely to require caregivers due to the medical complexity of their conditions, functional limitations, and longer hospital stays.

The introduction of the new Essential Caregiver Program at CCH marks an exciting step forward in delivering care inspired by patients and care partners. This initiative is also another example of how CCH is prioritizing innovation, empathy, and compassion in everything we do.

We are optimistic that this new program will produce material benefits for our people, enhance patient outcomes and experiences, and honour the important role that caregivers play in their loved ones' lives.