At Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), patients and families are at the centre of everything we do. To this day, TBRHSC remains the first and only hospital in Canada to receive Leading Practice designation for Patient and Family Centred Care (PFCC) from Accreditation Canada.
Part of that success is the involvement of Patient Family Advisors (PFAs). Close to 100 people volunteer at TBRHSC as PFAs, providing a patient perspective in virtually all areas. PFAs are members of the Senior Management Council, they advise on policies and participate in various committees. And now, a PFA is part of the Quality of Care Committee.
Keith Taylor is Co-Chair, Patient Family Advisor Council at TBRHSC. “As PFAs we are involved in every area of the hospital and we do our best to represent the needs of all the patients in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario,” he said.
As the newest member of the Quality of Care Committee, Taylor will bring his unique perspective to discussions regarding critical incidences that have occurred, and the recommendations that result.
“This is a significant step forward,” said Cathy Covino, Senior Director of Quality & Risk Management at TBRHSC. “We had seen the benefit of PFA involvement in other areas, and how it improved outcomes. The Patient Family Advisor adds balance and a valuable perspective, which is particularly important in quality improvement recommendations.”
TBRHSC, like other hospitals, usually involves in critical incident reviews the patients associated with the incident. The Quality of Care Information Protection Act (2004) identifies that the patient voice must be represented throughout the process.
“We’ve taken that one step further by including a PFA on our Quality of Care Committee,” Covino explained. “Patients involved in an incident will still be part of the review, of course. The PFA adds a consistent perspective at the committee level. It’s the right thing to do.”
Covino recommends that other hospitals consider including a patient advocate on their Quality of Care Committees. “We had to ensure that we were ready to take this step,” she said. “There may be some unease because the committee will discuss the most critical incidents and highly confidential information. Trust that your volunteer is involved for the right reasons and you will be rewarded with better outcomes.”
PFCC is the provision of care that is respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient/family preferences, needs and values, and ensures that patient values guide all clinical decisions. To this day, TBRHSC remains the first and only hospital in Canada to receive a Leading Practice award in Patient and Family Centred Care (PFCC) from Accreditation Canada.
Since fully committing to PFCC in March 2009, PFAs have been involved in over 600 working groups, committees, councils and teams at TBRHSC. Some examples include Board Quality, Hiring, CEO selection, Strategic Planning, Accreditation, Staff orientation, Education, Program development, Website development and policy review.