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CPSI Share                                              
10/29/2015 2:00 AM

Providence Health Care lives their motto, 'How you want to be treated', in providing safe, quality healthcare that is patient and family-centred. While offering a multitude of services, Providence Health Care is the provincial centre for people with often-intensive health needs. Many of their clients are marginalized, burdened by poverty, and isolated by addiction and mental illness. The Canadian Patient Safety Institute and HealthCareCAN are pleased to recognize Providence Health Care as the 2015 recipient of the Patient Safety Champion Organization Award.


Through the Shared Care Program, family physicians, specialists and representatives from the Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC, as well as patient representatives gathered to work on healthcare improvements and communications. In 2010, Providence Health Care implemented the Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise (RACE) program, where family practitioners can speak directly with specialists and in approximately 10 minutes have any questions answered in relation to treatment for their patient. This program reduces waitlists and saves money as patient issues related to changes in medication or treatment can be addressed by the family practitioner, rather than having a patient wait for a specialist appointment or end up in emergency if their condition deteriorates. The program has been implemented province-wide and includes most specialty areas.

A Polypharmacy Program in acute care ensures that patients with multiple medications and chronic diseases have their medications reviewed and any new medications are incorporated carefully so that the patient and caregiver are aware of and able to manage the prescriptions safely. Family physicians are also contacted, to ensure continuity of care after discharge.

Providence includes patient and family partners in many aspects of their planning and operational decision-making in relation to the hospital and inpatient experience. More than 200 patient and family partners participate in about 80 activities hospital-wide. Patient representatives sit on the Board, screen prospective new hires for interviews, and participate on panels to hire executive staff.

"The patient voice is invaluable and we have made a concentrated effort to have patient representatives on all Committees to share in decision-making," says Sara Charlton, Practice Consultant and leader of patient and family-centred care initiatives. "The collaborative nature and the innovative partnership among healthcare providers, the people we serve and their families ensure that patient safety and quality are the forefront of the care experience."

The Care Experience Strategic Direction Committee strives to promote patient and family engagement in all aspects of care, which is driven by four core values: respect and dignity, information-sharing, participation, and collaboration. The Committee includes six patient and family partners who have helped to shape and design the strategy and make key decisions on specific initiatives or projects that support the strategic direction.

The Care Experience Advisory Council helped to establish a Professional Image Policy and initiated uniforms to better identify staff. Name tags have been implemented for all clinical staff (noting their preferred name and role), that are clearly visible and can be easily read. The Advisory Council also reviewed and implemented a Family Presence policy, allowing 24/7 access for family members. Communication has improved, providing patients and families at the bedside the ability to correct any inaccurate information during handovers. The Code H (Help) program has been implemented on medical and surgical wards, where patients and their families can contact a trained Clinical Resource Nurse if they feel that there is a problem that is not being addressed appropriately or if they have voiced a concern and it has not been acted on. 

Delia Cooper, a member of the Care Experience Advisory Council, nominated Providence for the Patient Safety Champion Award.  "Providence Health Care is very supportive of patients who give their time and energy to improve the health system and make things better for others," says Delia Cooper.  "You feel valued when participating and the input you provide is consistently used to improve patient and family-centred care throughout the organization."