Frequently asked questions

To whom do I talk about the private companion registration and orientation process?

For any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Fran Cossever, Manager of the Private Companion Program, by phone, e-mail, or in person.

Phone No.: 416-785-2500 ext. 3195
Office: Brain Health Complex, 2nd Floor, Room 271

Who must participate in this process?

When a family member or Client or any other person privately hires an individual to assist a Client with activities of daily living, and/or to provide companionship, Baycrest considers the privately hired individual a “Private Companion” who must be registered with the Baycrest Private Companion Program Office.

We have one comprehensive process for Private Companions who work in our nursing home and the complex continuing care units of our hospital – units 4E/W; 5E/W and 6E.

We have an abridged process for Private Companions who work in our specialized units of the hospital on 6W; 7E and 3E/W. However, if a Private Companion works on 6W; 7E and 3E/W six (6) weeks or longer then the Private Companion is expected to complete the full Private Companion Program.

If you hire a Private Companion who has already gone through the Baycrest Private Companion Registration Process the Hirer must inform the Manager of the Private Companion Program that this registered Private Companion has been hired and a Policy Acknowledgment must be properly completed, signed, and submitted to Baycrest. The Private Companion does not need to go through the other orientation steps again.

A Private Companion who has earned a Personal Support Worker or Health Care Aide designation must also follow the Baycrest Private Companion Policy because it clarifies roles and important Baycrest infection control and safety practices as well as other Baycrest policies.

A Private Companion who is also a Baycrest employee must complete the Private Companion Registration and Orientation Process because the information provided is specific to the work of a Private Companion.

Do we have to follow the private companion policy?

Yes. This Policy has been developed to help Private Companions serve their Clients in a safe and effective manner while maintaining health and safety standards throughout Baycrest according to the requirements of government and other regulatory bodies. That means that following this Policy is essential. If this Policy is not adhered to then no Identification Badge will be issued to the Private Companion and the Private Companion will either not be permitted on Baycrest’s premises or be allowed only to visit a Client.

My private companion works for me twice a week for only a few hours each time. Do they have to go through the registration and orientation process?

Yes, they do. All Private Companions who work on a regular basis for a Client have to be registered with the Private Companion Program Office to ensure they understand Baycrest policies and standards.

My private companion works/volunteers on the client’s floor. She has worked for me for many years. May she continue to do so?

No. Baycrest staff members and Baycrest volunteers may not work as a Private Companion on the same floor where they work as a staff member or volunteer. This policy, which was developed several years ago, will now be strictly enforced to ensure there is never any conflict in duties.

How will private companions who work on floors 3east/west, 7east and 6west of the hospital who are there under 6 weeks be registered?

Here are the steps that must be followed:

  • Private Companions, the Hirer (s) and the Client(s) must read the Private Companion Policy, and complete and sign the Private Companion Policy Acknowledgement(s). The completed Acknowledgment(s) must be handed in within three (3) days of starting work at Baycrest.
  • The Infection Control Questionnaire is to be completed by the Private Companion themselves and to be submitted within three (3) days of starting work at Baycrest.
  • At this time the Private Companion Manual will be given to the Private Companion. A refundable deposit of ten dollars ($10.00) is to be made for the manual. The Private Companion is expected to return the manual within one week (7 days) and answer a questionnaire based on its contents ($10.00 to be refunded).
  • The Role of Private Companion document and the Designated Duties of a Private Companion document will be given to the Client/Hirer/Private Companion. The submission of the Designated Duties of a Private Companion form is optional.
  • A Temporary Private Companion Identification Badge (with a date of expiry on it) will be issued to the Private Companion which the Private Companion must wear at all times while at Baycrest.

What if my private companion also works for another Baycrest client?

The only difference in the Registration and Orientation Process is that separate Private Companion Policy Acknowledgments for each Client must be completed and signed by the Hirer for that Client, the Client, and the Private Companion.

Separate Designated Duties of a Private Companion Forms for each Client, if desired, may be completed and signed by the Hirer(s).

Does my private companion have to be registered if they come back another time?

If you come back to Baycrest after being discharged your private companion must check in with the Private Companion Manager again and obtain another identification badge. As long as the materials were all completed previously and this is on record, the Private Companion does not have to repeat the process. The only exception would be if the stay is longer than six weeks in which case the orientation process would have to be completed.

If a client can’t read and/or understand the private companion policy and/or sign the acknowledgment, who should?

The person(s) who normally act on the Client’s behalf for financial and/or medical matters should do so. If you sign on the Client’s behalf, you should clearly indicate this, e.g., “Jane Doe by her attorney John Smith” or “Jane Doe by her substitute decision maker John Smith”.

What if a private companion can’t read the private companion policy and acknowledgment or has difficulty understanding the content?

The Hirer should ensure that the Companion understands the parts of the Policy and Acknowledgment that pertain to Private Companions, before the Companion signs the Acknowledgment.

Who decides what the private companion does?

The Hirer determines the specific duties to be done by the Private Companion, in keeping with the Client Care Plan and the Role of a Private Companion document. These duties are clearly indicated on the Designated Duties of a Private Companion Form, which, if desired, may be completed and signed by the Hirer for each Private Companion who is hired. Baycrest and its employees shall neither expect nor ask the Private Companion to provide any other duties than those determined by the Hirer.

Do I have to complete the designated duties of a private companion form for my private companion(s) to be registered with the private companion program office?

No. After much input from families of Baycrest Clients, the Apotex and Hospital Family Advisory Councils, working together, developed the Designated Duties of a Private Companion Form. The Councils designed this Form with the intent that it be used as an optional tool to:

  • Help the Hirer and the Private Companion decide exactly what the Private Companion is to do.
  • Help Baycrest staff know what each Private Companion is supposed to do so that staff neither ask nor expect the Private Companion to do something for which the Private Companion has not been hired.

What type of information does the private companion manual cover?

The information covers: the Private Companion Policy; the Role of the Private Companion; eating assistance training; understanding Care Plans; the rights of Clients; Baycrest safety procedures (fire, infection control, etc.); safe lifting, turning and assisting with transfers; the use of walkers and canes; toileting and regularity monitoring; understanding diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; Jewish customs; working with survivors of the Holocaust; principles of personal hygiene; therapeutic and non-therapeutic communication; working collaboratively with Baycrest staff etc.

What if my private companion is unable to read the manual material?

A family member or another individual is expected to assist with interpretation and translation of the material provided.

What do I have to do, if I hire a private companion for a short period of time as a temporary replacement for a regular private companion?

A Private Companion who is temporarily filling in for another Private Companion, if they are at Baycrest for up to three (3) days, will be permitted to provide only companionship unless this short-term Substitute Private Companion is already registered with the Private Companion Program Office at Baycrest. A short-term Substitute Private Companion who is not registered is not expected to sign the Private Companion Policy Acknowledgment, read the manual or have the Infection Control Information Form completed. They must wear a Temporary Identification Badge which they get from the Manager of the Private Companion Program.

A Substitute Private Companion, if they are expected to be or are at Baycrest for a period from four (4) days up to and including thirty (30) days will have to:

  • Sign the Private Companion Policy Acknowledgment along with the Hirer and the Client.
  • Obtain a copy of the Private Companion Manual for a refundable deposit of ten dollars. Read the
  • Private Companion Manual material including the Private Companion Policy and the Role of a Private Companion, and after having read the manual material sign a notice acknowledging an understanding of the information provided ($10.00 to be refunded).
  • Wear a Temporary Identification Badge which will be issued by the Manager of the Private Companion Program.
  • Complete the Infection Control Information Form.
  • All Substitute Private Companions, should read and be familiar with the Designated Duties of a Private Companion Form for the Private Companion for whom they are substituting, if it has been completed.

When private companions can’t work because they are sick or going on vacation whom should they call?

Whatever the reason, Private Companions should call the Hirer(s) when they are unable to work. The Hirer(s) must then call nursing staff and the Private Companion Program Manager to inform them about the Private Companion’s absence and also to tell them whether or not they have hired a Substitute Private Companion to cover the regular Private Companion’s shift(s). If the Substitute Private Companion does not have a Private Companion Badge the Substitute Private Companion must obtain a Temporary Identification Badge from the Manager of the Private Companion Program.

When should private companions wear their identification badges?

Badges must be worn at all times while on Baycrest property. Anyone who does not will be asked to leave the premises.

When I need a new or substitute private companion, is there a list of registered private companions that I can look at?

No. There is no such list and there is no place at Baycrest where Private Companions can advertise that they are looking for work. Also, Baycrest staff members are not permitted to recommend individual Private Companions to anyone.

To whom should private companions report changes in the physical or emotional comfort of their clients?

They should immediately report such changes to the appropriate Baycrest staff, e.g., the Client’s assigned RN/RPN/HCA, and to members of the Client’s family.

Do private companions have to tell anyone of their arrival and departure from the unit?

Just as other staff, volunteers, families, and friends, are supposed to inform the appropriate unit staff when, with or without a Client, they arrive and leave, Private Companions are also expected to do so.

If a private companion loses their identification badge can they get another one?

Yes. The Private Companion can get another Badge from the Private Companion Program Manager. A record will be kept that a duplicate Identification Badge has been issued.

Do I have to tell anyone when my private companion is no longer working for me?

Yes. You must inform the Manager of the Private Companion Program. If the Private Companion has no other current Hirer at Baycrest, you also must ensure that the Private Companion’s Identification Badge is returned to the Program Manager.

If I need extra copies of the materials enclosed in this package or have any questions what do I do?
You can contact the Manager of the Private Companion Program with requests for additional Registration Packages. As well extra copies will be available in the Hospital at the Nurses’ Station on each unit or from the Social Workers.

Note: Remember that you can contact the Manager of the Private Companion Program, Fran Cossever by telephone, e-mail or in person.

Phone #: 416-785-2500 ext. 3195
Office: Brain Health Complex, 2nd Floor, Room 271