With the quick shift to implement visitor restrictions as an important COVID-19 safety measure, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH), Windsor's only post-acute, community-based hospital, has been leading provincial work in how to safely reintroduce loved-ones back into the hospital. In an effort to ensure the safety and security of all individuals on their campus, they have implemented what they have coined a Coordinated Care Program (CCP), which brings Designated Care Partners (DCP) onto their west-end campus.
A DCP will act as a member of a patient's care team and go beyond simply offering presence or a visit. They act as an extension of staff and the care team, who not only provide emotional care supports but also help with physical care needs such as shaving, feeding and changing depending on the extent of need.
The 30 patients who have received a DCP, which includes a two-hour scheduled visit in the building once a day, have been some of HDGH's most vulnerable who would benefit most in being the first recipients of this innovative program.
"When our team here at HDGH started this work, we didn't see anything like it in Ontario," said Joe Karb, Vice President of Restorative Care. "We have noticed great success in only a short month of its launch. We see this program to exist outside of COVID-19 response. What it allows us to do for potential future waves, viruses and pandemics is rather than go back to full restrictions- which are so difficult- we can now transition back to a state of allowing DCPs."
The program has garnered attention from government officials, other hospitals as well top-notch health associations like the Ontario Hospital Association and the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvements, of which Karb is pleased to share the hospital's learnings.
Each DCP group receives a two-hour orientation that covers an important welcome message from HDGH President and CEO, a review of the CCP policy, and a complete infection control orientation with detailed education on the expectation and proper use of PPE. In addition, each DCP receives an HDGH ID Badge identifying them as a DCP. But perhaps most impactful, is the closing message given by the Chairperson of the HDGH Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) Barb Massotti.
Massotti, 5-year volunteer and community member with HDGH PFAC has been instrumental in so much of the organization's work involving the patient and family voice in healthcare. Herself, along side her PFAC team, were responsible for writing the ethical components of the DCP program. Her words of sincerity and emotion could be felt through her two-minute video message to the anxious group of new DCPs.
"I want to take this time to so thank you so very very much for your patience, strength and understanding over the last few months. I cannot imagine what it's been like for you having a loved one in the hospital. Your strength and understanding has contributed to the goal that this hospital has had all along - TO KEEP PEOPLE SAFE," Massotti said emotionally.
What the CCP program has reminded leadership and staff at HDGH is that human beings are not physical alone. While family members and loved-ones are not always clinically trained, they can be a vital component to the health of a patient. They see things differently and address information that could be overlooked. While the DCP is providing physical care to a patient they are also providing emotional and spiritual support as well.
"We would like to get to a point where the DCP is rounding with our care team and is just as much part of the process as our Physicians, Nurses and Allied Health Staff" said Karb. "This is the future of wellness and healthcare. It is a shift in emphasis form providing care and services FOR individuals to providing this care WITH them and having that care partner an integral part of the team."
HDGH hopes to introduce another 20 DCPs into the hospital over the next few weeks, bringing the total to 50.
To find a copy of the Coordinated Care Plan please click