In Quebec, one in three people lives alone. Social isolation is a major determinant of health and its impact on mortality is greater than smoking, lack of physical activity and hypertension. Illness causes significant changes that threaten social relationships and identity. These changes have an impact on self-esteem, sense of belonging and autonomy. By transforming a “healthy citizen” into a “sick patient”, illness modifies the social relationships of a person (eg employment, education, family, couple, citizen).
The Caring Community is an important innovation that breaks with the current healthcare system based primarily on interventions of professionals. It capitalizes on patients’ and citizens’ experiential knowledge and skills, as well as their ability to develop mutually supportive relationships. This project aims to strengthen community-based primary healthcare by recognizing patients and citizens as caregivers and integrating them in the care continuum. The goal of this innovation is to develop patient care skills, break social isolation, foster collaboration between the various caregivers in the community and encourage recovery towards full citizenship. These objectives are achieved by integrating patient partners working in the front-line teams, by connecting patients with citizen partners and by mobilizing community and municipal decision-makers to create supportive environments.
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