Cornwall, Ont.

Area of Focus:

Mental health and addiction

Partnership Description:

Caregivers who support family and friends living with an addiction or mental health problem often have unique and complex experiences navigating Ontario’s health care system. While some may play an intimate role in recovery, accompanying their loved ones to various meetings and appointments, or acting as a pillar of strength and support, others may be shut out all-together. Nevertheless, these caregivers may get intimate access to the physical and mental struggles that their family and friends face head-on in what can feel like a high-stakes journey.

Embrace focuses on improving the interactions of caregivers with various health care providers who treat and counsel their family and friends throughout the different stages of their addiction recovery and/or mental health journey. Improving these interactions requires a cultural change in how caregivers of those with addiction and mental health problems are recognized, supported, communicated with and listened to.

Overall, Embrace has four main project goals:

  • Create hope for family caregivers by making new connections to support groups and holding awareness events.
  • Reduce family caregiver stress by leveraging local existing education programs that address areas of strain and exploring new resource development such as a family caregiver toolkit.
  • Build family caregiver capacity through a family resource center and an assessment tool to identify caregiver needs.
  • Include family caregivers in care decisions, treatment planning and progress reports and in discharge planning.

Over the course of the partnership, health care providers, family caregivers, administrators and clients will work through several project streams to address Changing CARE’s four interconnected themes: communication, assessment, recognition, and education. Many of these work streams will build on a strong foundation of partnership and collaboration between the Cornwall & District Family Support Group, the Cornwall Community Hospital’s Community Addiction and Mental Health Services team, and family caregivers. As success with each work stream is achieved, “Innovation Guides” will be created to facilitate sharing of the innovations province-wide.


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