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CPSI Share                                              
10/29/2015 3:00 AM

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital launched a Family Leadership Program in 2011, where now over 150 volunteer Family Leaders advise on all aspects of care and research, partnering fully with the organization to help ensure the delivery of quality and safe care. The Canadian Patient Safety Institute and HealthCareCAN are pleased to recognize Holland Bloorview with an honourable mention for the 2015 Patient Safety Champion Organization Award.


Family Leader Andrea Davila (centre-left) collaborates with members of the Client and Family Integrated Care team about ways to enhance the peer mentorship program. At Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, volunteer Family Leaders advise on all aspects of care and research, partnering fully with the organization to help ensure the delivery of quality and safe care.

"This is truly a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our Family Leaders who provide their time, energy and expertise," says Laura Williams, Director of Client and Family Integrated Care.  "They inspire us, push us to do better, and hold us accountable, but do so as equal partners in the care planning process. The client and family experience is woven into all aspects of the hospital through support, education, and system enhancement.  This is a unique, innovative program where lived experience is valued as a key contributor to improving safe care."

Family Leaders sit on all committees across the hospital, including board level, quality committees, health literacy review processes, and equity, diversity and inclusion work. The 30-member Family Advisory Committee, which includes board representation, the hospital's CEO, the VP of Programs and Services and the Director of Client and Family Integrated Care, advises the hospital on organizational issues and initiatives and brings forward areas for improvement. The committee has led hospital-wide education initiatives on family-centred care, launched a spotlight award for employees who are providing excellent care, and developed education modules.

Peer mentorship is a valuable mechanism for supporting families in their journey and is an important part of the Family Leadership Program. Families who are connected with peer support can better access resources, improve their working knowledge of the health system and become better advocates. The family mentor program connects mentors on an individual basis, as well as through co-facilitated Parent Talk groups. Family faculty have participated in monthly new staff orientation sessions and the development of simulation training in family-centred care, sharing their stories so others can learn.

Families are also engaged with the Bloorview Research Institute, where they provide direction for the research agenda, make recommendations on the ethics and feasibility of research projects, and support clear dissemination to ensure that results are meaningful and accessible for researchers, clients, and families alike.

Current and former clients sit on the Youth Advisory Council (ages 14+) and provide a sounding board for employees, clients and families, researchers, and the community. The Youth Advisory Council seeks to improve services offered for children and youth by providing focused input from a youth perspective. Also, clients and their siblings can participate in the Children's Advisory Council (ages 3 to 13), where they share their ideas about about how to make meaningful improvements at the hospital. Innovative models of integration are used to ensure their voices are embedded clearly and distinctly.

A core group of 10 family leaders were instrumental in establishing Holland Bloorview's first patient safety vision and strategy, ensuring what is important to them – including how staff and families can work together – is front and centre. This vision includes speaking up, having a right to safe care, and partnership in safety. The vision is used across the hospital to support employees and families in embracing a culture of safe, timely, high quality of care.

"There are so many ways that families can be involved at all levels and in all areas at Holland Bloorview," says Heather Evans, Family Leader and past co-chair of the Family Advisory Committee. "Families are able to comfortably speak up when they see a gap or have a concern.  The Family Leadership Program is a real testament to the evolution in the culture at Holland Bloorview and a model that other organizations can learn from."

The Canadian Family Advisory Network nominated Holland Bloorview for the Patient Safety Champion Award.