Preparing patients, family members for improvement events

20120425-RPIW 232 Team 2
Guest post by Lisa Clatney, Client and Family Care Specialist, Saskatoon Health Region

Heather Thiessen knows what it feels like to not be included as part of the care team, and what can go wrong when we don’t value the expertise and information that patients and families bring to the health care experience. “I realized that as a patient I need to take responsibility for my voice being heard,” says Thiessen. “It’s hard sometimes, but I know from experience that if I don’t, medical errors can happen.”

As a system, we are learning how partnering with our patients and families is critical to improving care delivery. Patients and families are typically the only people to see their care journey from beginning to end. This perspective brings new insights and knowledge to the health care system, as we seek to make care better and safer. Patient and family advisors bring a fresh set of eyes to the process, since they are seeing and questioning processes from a different perspective than the staff who work in the system.

Embarking on this Lean journey as a province has required us, as staff, to learn new skills, a new language, and new behaviours. Our learning curve has been steep, but it’s even steeper for our patient and family advisors who aren’t immersed in the daily work of our system.

That’s why this video was created – to help orient and support our patient and family advisors as much as possible before they participate in an improvement event such as a Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW) or 3P (Production Preparation Process).

As one of the Client and Family Care Specialists in the province, I want to set everyone up for success, especially our patient and family advisors. And this means giving them information in a variety of formats, including verbal, written and now as a video.

I often heard that the information we were providing to our advisors before their first improvement event was helpful, but they couldn’t really picture what the week was going to be like for them. Now they can watch actual footage of how the week unfolds, and hear first-hand from other advisors what that experience has been like for them. It’s another resource that the patient and family centred care leads in our province can use to both help encourage participation, and to orient our patient and family advisors.

The final word goes to Heather:

“As our health regions become more and more involved in Lean and in improvement projects, it is exciting to know that we patients and families play a vital part in the process. It is truly exciting, this journey we are on and I am so proud to be part of it.”

Want more information about opportunities to participate in improvement events in your health region? Click here for a listing.

Photo Credit: Mark Richardson. RPIW #4 – Heather Theissen; Yvonne Niekamp (OR Attendant); Kelsi Dietner (Unit Support Worker); Edith Drury (RN); Bruce Sancers (Supervisor FES)

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3 Responses to “Preparing patients, family members for improvement events”

  1. Maura Davies
    December 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    Great message and video. Thanks to Heather, Kim and all our patient/family advisors. We could not do this improvement work without you. We just included a patient advisor in selection process for our new VP Integrated Health Services. Nothing for you without you.

  2. Deb Morton
    November 30, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    OR gear looks great on you, my hero and friend!

  3. Catherine Delaney
    November 29, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    Thanks Lisa and Heather for all you do to ensure patients and families are involved in our improvement journey in truly meaningful and powerful ways!

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