In August 2012, an innovative face-to-face patient and family engagement model was trialed at BC Children’s Hospital & Health Centre (BCCH) to seek safety concerns from patients and families. Led by Denise Hudson, Quality Leader at BC PSLS Central Office, and an enthusiastic task force from BCCH, the “Patient’s View” was launched to learn about adverse events from the unique perspective of patients and families.
Volunteers with hopes for future healthcare careers were chosen from an existing pool, orientated to their new role and deployed with a laptop to meet with families whose child was slated for discharge within 48 hours and considered appropriate for interviewing by the Charge Nurse. Using a previously tested patient and family application of BC PSLS, the volunteers engaged the families at the bedside, inviting them to share any safety concerns during the care of their child.
Family reports were rich and impactful. In total, 51 families participated (12% of total discharges) and 76 safety concerns were reported. Families appreciated being asked about their experiences and were able to provide accurate and legitimate descriptions of adverse events and safety concerns. Families told us their top safety concerns were Communication between family and staff and communication between staff, which often led to confusion, anxiety or misunderstandings among families and their child’s care providers. Leaders are using this valuable information to inform quality improvement projects in their areas.
The pilot project was successful and the volunteer model was particularly effective for engaging families and providing them with an outlet to share their stories. A side benefit for volunteers was the positive impact their participation had on them as individuals and the long-term benefits that may result as they pursue future careers in healthcare.
“I think it’s a great way to interact with families and patients and it’s different from other volunteer roles because you have a purpose and topic of conversation,” said one volunteer. “It has made me more empathetic to patients and families’ situations at BC Children’s and gives great insight into their experience. For volunteers who are looking to pursue a career in any sort of healthcare role, I feel this is a valuable experience.”
Overall, Patient’s View has been a successful undertaking at BCCH with significant positive outcomes experienced by families, volunteers and the organization as a whole.
Patient’s View is now being spread to other units in the hospital.
Learn more about Patient’s View (follow-up to this story)
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