Victoria Brewster, MSW

Victoria Brewster, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Canadian National Forum on Patient Experience Conference-Day 1

Recently I was able to attend the Canadian National Form on Patient Experience, and felt that my experiences were worth sharing with the SJS community. The conference opened with Dr. Vaughan Glover, CEO, Canadian Association for People-Centered Health (CAPCH) who gave his opening remarks, and was also the moderator for the two-day conference. He generously gave all three hundred attendees a copy of his book, Journey to Wellness: Designing a People-Centered Health System for Canadians. 

The opening address was with Leslee Thompson, CEO and President of the Kingston General Hospital, and what a speaker! She was engaging, informative, and was able to very clearly and easily discuss the changes implemented by her hospital and the necessity to do so. The changes had to be on all levels from the top to the bottom.

Patient Centered-Care is just that, care and solutions focused on the patient, their needs, their wants and their involvement at all levels. Former patients sit on various committees and offer suggestions and solutions.

The next event of the morning was a panel discussion titled: Build a Resilient Experience Advisor Program that Drives Change. Jennifer Rees, Executive Director, Patient Experience, Alberta Health Services; Bonnie Nicholas, Lead, Patient & Family Centered Care, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre; and Caryl Harper, Director, Patients as Partners of Primary Health Care, Vancouver Island Health Authority were on the panel. They were an engaging and thought-provoking panel where each speaker gave great examples of the shift in focus for their organizations and agencies that involves patients.

The next presenters were Lena Cuthbertson, Provincial Director, Patient-Centered Performance Measurement and Improvement, British Columbia Ministry of Health and Rick Swatzky, PhD, RN, Canada Research Chair in Patient-Reported Outcomes; Associate Professor, Trinity Western University; Research Scientist, Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences, Providence Health Care. Their topic was Measure the Patient’s Experience: Demonstrate Value and Generate Insights. They are analyzing data and creating surveys to be used by providers to assist with answering the question of what changes are needed. Research and analyzing of date are needed to transition to the next level.

The morning continued with a presentation by Kimberly Morrissea, Manager, Cultural Proficiency & Diversity, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority on the topic of Cultural Proficiency, Improving the Quality of Care for Aboriginal Peoples.  She discussed the challenges faced by various health providers in supporting a rich and diverse area of individuals who are from various cultures and speak many languages.  Providers need to understand that aboriginals come from different cultures and hold various values, religious beliefs and morals that are different from the mainstream society. Health providers and healthcare professionals need to be respectful of this along with learning to adjust by working together with leaders of the different aboriginal sects/divisions, learning the many languages along with learning the spiritual beliefs and cultural traditions.

The last presentation of the morning was by Jolinda Lambert, CEO of Innovatient, and she discussed, How to Engage Patients and Families Post-Discharge to Improve Outcomes. She discussed that providers from the public and the private sectors need to collaborate to ensure a patient leaves the hospital, rehabilitation facility or similar centre with a discharge plan in place that will best assist the client and family. Without this collaboration, a patient could be discharged from the public sector into the community sector with no services in place to assist the patient/client in their home environment. I.e., 86 year old senior is discharged from the hospital in a hospital gown, sent home in a taxi without any community organizations or family being notified. Client returns to home environment with no services in place, but needing home care and home visits by a local government/public clinic nurse. This should not happen.

After a much needed lunch break, the afternoon session began. Kira Leeb, Director, Health System Performance Canadian Institute for Health Information presented a Case Study titled: Canadian Hospital Reporting Project.

The next presenter, David Mosher, Director of RelayHealth, McKesson CANADA spoke on the topic of Fostering a Culture of Communication between Physicians and Patients. His examples focused on a system that is a pilot project in the province of Nova Scotia where technology is being implemented, a portal of sorts where patients can log in and share information with their physician and other health care providers. Appointments can be scheduled online, test results, lab work and exam information is at the fingertips of the patients and the healthcare system.

The second to last presentation of the afternoon was a Patient Engagement Panel, Patients as Partners: Improve Outcomes through Patient and Family Engagement by Dawn Sidenberg, Lead, Patient Centered Care Project, Humber River Regional Hospital;  Jill Carmichael Adolphe, Partner, Care 2 Collaborate;  Elke Ruthig, Manager, Patient Education, Toronto General Hospital;  Patient Advocate, Zal Press, Executive Director & Patient, Patient Commando Productions with Sydney Graham, Co-Founder and Partner, Care 2 Collaborate. It was wonderful and informative discussion panel regarding what each organization/institution is doing regarding Implementing Patient-Centered Care and how the patients are part of every decision-making experience from participating on committees, projects to being a part of the hiring committee for professional staff.

The afternoon ended with a presentation by Chris Cashwell, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing & Strategy, Lincor Solutions. Again, a good presentation that grabbed the attention of all present due to his engaging, energetic and passionate talk about the advances that are being made in technology. Imagine being a patient in a hospital and having an interactive board in your room where you control the lights, heat, summon a nurse or request a meeting with one of your various physicians along with ordering TV, movies and being connected to the internet. Nothing like a speaker who is able to present for 45 minutes and not glance at notes or cue cards; a speaker that talks and shares from the heart and with passion.

It was a long day that began at 8:15 and ended at 5:15 and was followed by a cocktail and networking hour. Much information was shared and I looked at all of it as a learning opportunity. I was one of the few front-line workers in attendance and as I work in community, my take on all the information presented was how it could be easily transitioned from institution and public healthcare to community and education systems.

Now maybe it is just me, but as a professional with a MSW degree, a lot of this is common sense. This is how social workers engage clients. We are a team; the professional and the client. Change and movement must be made in collaboration and as a team.

Stay tuned for Day 2 of the conference!

By Victoria Brewster, MSW
Staff Writer

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