"Don't confuse information with communication."
~ Eric A. Coleman, MD, MPH

DECAF Family Caregiver Tool

Greater Recognition for the Integral Role of Family Caregivers: More effective collaboration is needed between family caregivers and
health care professionals in order to improve care coordination across settings. Family caregivers have been a “silent partner” in health care
delivery, functioning as de facto care coordinators. During care handoffs, family caregivers make important contributions to ensuring quality,
safety, and adherence to patient preferences and their role needs to be formally recognized. An important initial step in this regard is to develop
a standardized approach to defining the type and intensity of the roles family caregivers play to facilitate improved communication. One potential
working definition is the “DECAF” classification developed by our Care Transitions Program® . Modeled after the TNM system used in cancer,
each of the letters of DECAF (or FACED) refer to a different contribution made by a family caregiver: D= Direct Care Provision, E= Emotional
Support, C= Care Coordination, A= Advocacy, and F= Financial. A simple numeric rating system could be applied whereby 0=does not contribute
in this area and 3= makes significant contribution to area.

Coleman EA, Williams MV. Executing High Quality Care Transitions: A Call to Do It Right. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2007; 2(5):287-290.


The Care Transitions Intervention® and all of its materials are the property of the Care Transitions Program®. The Care Transitions Program® is solely authorized to provide training on the Care Transitions Intervention®. If another entity offers to train your organization, please contact us.


© Eric A. Coleman, MD, MPH