How do we achieve consistent patient- and family-centred care?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 3:11pm

Susan Dunn is a citizen engagement advisor and community health board coordinator at Capital Health. She’s also a family member to a patient.

Last week, Capital Health brought together our formal leaders and several citizens who have experienced the care we provide. The forum provided patients and family members an opportunity to share their stories and experiences, and gave everyone present a chance to reflect on what patient- and family-centred care looks like, and to consider their role in it.

Coming out of that session, Susan wrote a poem about her experience as a family member:

I am not the patient, so there is nothing wrong in my body.
But I am a family member and my mind, soul and spirit are hurting.

I am not the patient who you have to explain things to.
But I am a family member and I have questions.

I am not the patient you have to focus on.
But I am a family member who needs you to make eye contact with me.

I am not the patient who is getting tests, procedures or  treatment.
But I am a family member with observations and knowledge to share.

I am not the patient, so there is nothing wrong in my body.
But I am a family member and my mind, soul and spirit are hurting.

Susan's poem, like the stories shared by those in the strategic leadership forum, is an invitation for all of us to consider our role in patient- and family-centred care. Participants at the meeting were asked to write down their commitment to ensuring patient- and family-centred care, and post it on the wall. Here's just a taste of what was shared:

"I am going to take some time each day to sit and listen to patients and staff to hear their concerns." - Paul Easton

"System navigation is an overwhelming issue, we (I) need to find a way to educate patients regarding navigation options." - Sharon Hartling

"I am going to continue to put myself in a “patient’s shoes”, starting with listening deeply and showing empathy. People need to know that we care before they care what we know." - R. Bearnes

 "I am going to continue to advocate for a focus on outpatient needs." - Michelle Baker

"Provide professional courteous service to our public, listen deeply, and educate others as to who we are accountable to – the taxpayers who pay our salaries." - Jane Williams

What is your role in helping Capital Health achieve consistent patient- and family-centred care? Share your commitment by emailing capitalnews@cdha.nshealth.ca and we'll share in future issues of Capital Health This Week. (Please note that we are using "patient" in this instance to refer to all to whom we provide care or service.)

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