Health-care Workforce Training to Effectively Support Family Caregivers of Seniors in Care
Family caregivers (FCGs) play an integral, yet often invisible, role in the Canadian health-care system. As the population ages, their presence will become even more essential as they help balance demands on the system and enable community dwelling seniors to remain so for as long as possible. To preserve their own well-being and capacity to provide ongoing care, FCGs require support to the meet the challenges of their daily caregiving responsibilities. Supporting FCGs results in better care provision to community-dwelling seniors receiving health-care services, as well as enhancing the quality of life for FCGs. Although FCGs rely upon health-care professionals (HCPs) to provide them with support and services, there is a paucity of research pertaining to the type of health workforce training (HWFT) that HCPs should receive to address FCG needs. Programs that train HCPs to engage with, empower, and support FCGs are required.
To describe and discuss key findings of a caregiver symposium focused on determining components of HWFT that might better enable HCPs to support FCGs.
A one-day symposium was held on February 22, 2018 in Edmonton, Alberta, to gather the perspectives of FCGs, HCPs, and stakeholders. Attendees participated in a series of working groups to discuss barriers, facilitators, and recommendations related to HWFT. Proceedings and working group discussions were transcribed, and a qualitative thematic analysis was conducted to identify key themes.
Participants identified the following topic areas as being essential to training HCPs in the provision of support for FCGs: understanding the FCG role, communicating with FCGs, partnering with FCGs, fostering FCG resilience, navigating healthcare systems and accessing resources, and enhancing the culture and context of care.
FCGs require more support than is currently being provided by HCPs. Training programs need to specifically address topics identified by participants. These findings will be used to develop HWFT for HCPs.