By Barb MacLean, Executive Director, Family Caregivers of BC
~This is a tribute to each and every family and friend caregiver, the beautiful, giving human beings who care, who love and who do their best.
Our whole team at FCBC wants you to know that we have heard your voices, your impactful stories and that we are grateful to be part of your world.
The pandemic, amidst so much pain and suffering, has revealed a new appreciation for the family caregiver role. By taking it away – think Long Term Care – it proved to fuel dialogue and put the wheels in motion for improved policies on family presence. It added new caregivers, unexpectedly thrown into the role, creating a greater awareness among families, employers, and communities. It also motivated people to speak out and speak up.
What we are doing at FCBC
You might be most familiar with our Caregiver Support and Education Programs – for example, the BC Caregiver Support Line, support groups, webinars, podcasts and online tools and resources. What you might not know much about is our health systems collaboration work, a strategic priority that hasn’t been as visible. It is where we dive into our health system, looking for opportunities to shift thinking, action and culture so that caregivers are included as partners in care.
We do this in many ways, with staff and amazing volunteers, including media interviews, focus groups, surveys, research participants, presentations, articles and committees. These are examples of the ways that we share the caregiver lens. Our long-term project, Caregiver RX, captures the three key changes we seek in our health system: to identify, support/refer and include caregivers as partners in care. Our goal is to embed these changes in processes and structures within our health system for enduring, positive change. Each step taken to integrate, and respect caregivers brings us closer to caregiver friendly health care.
Partners in care
This is where the rubber hits the road. Sadly, the story of Long-Term Care revealed a huge gap in understanding the value of caregivers as essential – but that is now poised for change as the world speaks loudly and we mobilize to shift both policy and culture. Feeling more hopeful, we see the shift to including both patients and caregivers in health transformation, like PCN – Primary Care Network development.
We would like you to know that you are part of a large, caregiver community. If you are inclined, join our Caregiver Engagement Program – to share your voice, your way. If you are feeling a little lonely, know that you are part of our family, the Caregiver Community. We are here for you.