The objective of CARP’s National Forum on Home Care, focusing on the informal caregiver: Putting a Face on Home Care, was to shine the spotlight on the informal caregiver, without whom the shift in healthcare across Canada from institutional care to home care is not possible.
Our goal during the June 25 forum was to develop recommendations for enhancing the well-being and effectiveness of the informal caregiver. These will be sent to all levels of government, the media, healthcare professionals and the general public.
For more information, phone (416) 363-8748 ext. 235 or 1-800-363-9736. To receive a copy, send $5 (shipping and handling) to CARP, 27 Queen St. E., Suite #1304, Toronto, Ont. M5C 2M6.
- To ensure effective home care, the role of the caregiver must be given primary attention.
- People who have left employment to care for family members should receive tax credit adjustments for Employnt Insurance (EI) and CPP.
- Governments should encourage companies to develop caregiver leave programs (e.g. flexible working conditions, partial or full leaves and/or compensation) for employees engaged in short- or long-term periods of caregiving.
- Federal and provincial/territorial governments should develop national standards for informal caregivers regarding working conditions and hours, safety, etc.
- Community-based agencies should be given responsibility for educating caregivers on these standards and monitoring their enforcement.
- Federal and provincial/territorial governments should develop a Bill of Rights for Home Care Recipients and for Informal Caregivers.
- Community-based agencies should provide clear, understandable information to informal caregivers and care recipients alike, to ensure their “informed consent” regarding the treatment received at home.
- Informal caregivers must receive all training in their homes.
- Responsibility for teaching informal caregivers how to access support from their provincial healthcare and home care system should rest with community-based agencies.
- Community-based agencies should be responsible for educating all informal caregivers about the disease or infirmity of their care recipient.
SUSTAINING THE CAREGIVER
- Provincial/territorial governments should develop, fund and widely publicize an information network for informal caregivers which can be easily accessed through a 24-hour toll-free number, by fax, website and e-mail, to provide ongoing training as required, as well as all other support, advice, advocacy and other needs.
- Governments must instruct healthcare organizations to assist informal caregivers (especially those providing care for over six months) in resuming their lives after caregiving.
- These programs should continue for a defined period, addressing emotional, psychological, fiscal, educational and other pertinent issues, including training, updating and re-training for jobs and job interviews.
- The principles of the Canada Health Act should be extended to home care, so that home care, with its new centrality in the healthcare system, is fully integrated within that system. This can be accomplished either by extending the Act to encompass home care, or by creating a new federal act for home care, based on the principles of the Canada Health Act.