Sault Area Hospital tests caregiver ID program

Sault Ste. Marie has been the testing ground for a program that would see the role of caregivers improved across the province, if implemented.

Sault Area Hospital and the Algoma Ontario Health Team have collaborated to adapt an ID program for caregivers that has helped improve communication between medical workers and caregivers.

"It really became evident that we needed to look for ways to eliminate any of those barriers that they may have right across the system of Algoma," said Laura Tenhagen, project lead.

"We needed to look for ways that patients and their caregivers could be reunited."

The program was created by the Ontario Caregiver Organization with the intention of growing it to other regions.

Tenhagen said the pilot launched with 30 caregivers receiving an ID card to use at facilities in Algoma. It has since grown to more than 250.

"The caregiver ID really became that quick recognition that if a particular caregiver was in possession of the ID badge, we knew they had been part of the program," she added.

The Algoma Ontario Health Team said it's also created the role of an essential caregiver designation, which has helped caregivers gain access to their loved ones while restrictions at medical facilities have been implemented.