A five year journey (starting in 2014) of exploring the role of the Healthcare System to support Family Caregivers brought us to a universal agreement that there needs to Health Work Force training to support Family Caregivers. In 2019, we validated the Core Competencies that the Health workforce required to partner with Family Caregivers to sustain care and to support their health and wellbeing. We have used co-design with over 100 stakeholders to create the education modalities to serve the Caregiver Centered Care education of the Health Work Force based on these Core Competencies in 2020. We are now testing this foundational education in all Health Care settings….acute care, primary care, homecare, supportive living, and long- term care and with ALL Healthcare Providers and Trainees. In a series of consultations on how to support family caregivers in Alberta, multi-level interdisciplinary stakeholders indicated that health providers needed to pay more attention to building partnerships with family caregivers. This is a critical step in supporting family caregivers to provide care. and help them maintain their own health and well being. American caregiving scholar Dr. Richard Schulz also recommended that healthcare should see family caregivers not just as a resource in the treatment or support of the care recipient, but rather as member of the care team who also needs information, training, care, and support. We adopted a caregiver and multilevel interdisciplinary stakeholder co-design approach to develop the Caregiver-Centered Care Competencies. There were two main stages in the development: 1) we ascertained the competency domains for healthcare workforce education and 2) we used a four-phased Modified Delphi Process to identify and validate the indicators within each domain.
Our measure of success will be when the family caregivers feel supported throughout their caregiving journey whenever they interact with the healthcare system .
Canada has been a leader in competency-based education for the health workforce. Competencies are a way of capturing the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors required for successful practice. They are the foundation of learning and assessment in educational programs; workforce recruitment, selection, and career and leadership development; and, evaluating success (16-19). Health workforce competencies are not limited to clinical-technical skills, such as assessment, diagnostic procedures, and clinical interventions. Relational skills: communication, collaboration, self-awareness, reflection, role clarity, and working in teams are also critical elements of care and improving the quality of care.