Older adults (65+ years) with complex chronic health conditions and multimorbidity (CCHCM) have an increased need for continuing and coordinated care services. This has been complicated by the continual demographic population shift, particularly among frail older adults (CIHI, 2017), and by CCHCM patients receiving fragmented care during their hospital-to-home transition instead of coordinated care (Ganann et al., 2018). To facilitate coordinated care, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) is pioneering the Coordinated Care Program (CCP). Through this program, a family member or friend of the patient becomes a Designated Care Partner (DCP). As a member of the healthcare team, the DCP provides key components of the care plan, which is initially developed in collaboration with the patient and their healthcare team.
As DCPs are being pioneered at HDGH, there is a need to define the parameters of the role. Currently, the inaugural DCPs during the COVID-19 pandemic have been performing various roles ranging from visitation, to psychological and emotional support, to the provision of physical care. Hence, there is a need to better understand the multifaceted nature of the DCP role in relation to care provision, discharge readiness, and hospital-to-home care transitions of patients.
These insights will be used to generate a detailed classification framework which will aid DCPs in understanding their own involvement levels, assist HDGH improve the engagement and experience of DCPs, and could be useful for health systems wanting to implement the CCP across the country. Furthermore, this knowledge will be utilized to develop an educational toolkit to train DCPs, which will increase patients' readiness for discharge and reduce future utilization of care services that ultimately reduces the burden on the health systems.
The proposed RoPiC project aims to address the following research question: What is the role of Designated Care Partners (DCPs) pre-discharge (in hospital) and post-discharge (in community)? The overall goal of the RoPiC project will be to conduct a current-state analysis of the DCP role at HDGH in order to influence decisions and actions, co-design a role classification system, and inform the development of an educational toolkit to train DCPs.