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CPSI Share                                              
6/2/2014 6:00 PM

​​Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital empowers clients and families by giving them a voice and treating them as equal partners. The staff recognize the unique perspective that clients and families bring to the table and that better care can be provided by listening and acting on what patients and families have to say.

Authentic partnerships are embedded into the culture at Holland Bloorview. These partnerships are built on the principles of dignity and respect, listening and honouring client and family needs and choices; sharing information in a useful and affirming way; participation where families actively share in the care of their child; and collaboration from the bedside to the boardroom, where families are partners in healthcare decisions. 

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Heather Evans, Family Advisor (L) and Laura Williams, Director of Client and Family Integrated Care (R)


A Family Leadership Program has been developed where over 100 family leaders have been trained and have volunteered more than 4,000 hours.  The program provides training for family advisors, family mentors, family as faculty, the Family Advisory Committee, Family Engagement Committee (which focuses on research), Youth Advisory Council and Children’s Advisory Committee. Family leaders provide input on quality and safety initiatives, participate in working groups, and sit on over 35 committees, including the Board of Trustee’s Quality Committee. Family advisors are also included on patient safety walks throughout the hospital.

“Our family leaders have some great ideas and the input they provide is so insightful,” says Laura Williams, Director of Client and Family Integrated Care.  “They really challenge your thinking and I am often amazed at what comes out of our meetings and discussions. You are not aware of the impact until the client or family shares their story.”

“We measure the authenticity of our partnerships with family leaders through an engagement survey,” says Laura Williams. “Our family leaders tell us they feel respected and engaged in meaningful ways. We also received some very good feedback that is used to make further improvements.”

Holland Bloorview is always looking for opportunities to teach staff about partnerships. With the input from staff, clients and family leaders, four simulation models have been developed to illustrate what partnerships look like and the key things staff can do to improve care and the patient experience.

Heather Evans has two children who are clients at Holland Bloorview. She has been a member of the Family Advisory Committee for eight years and has co-led a number of initiatives – all in a volunteer capacity. Heather has served on a number of hospital committees, as a member and co-chair of the Family Advisory Committee and the Board of Trustee’s Quality Committee. She is currently on the Holland Bloorview Search Committee for a new President & CEO.

“Holland Bloorview truly understands the perspective that families offer and when something is brought to the table, it is very consultative and you know that they are looking for feedback,” says Heather Evans.  “Families really want to be a part of it when they feel that that they are being heard. The Board of Trustee members and CEO attend our Family Advisory Committee meetings and are always amazed at the feedback they receive from the families.”

Recently, Holland Bloorview assembled an inter-professional team for Patient Safety Education Program – Canada (PSEP – Canada) training to advance safe care.  Heather and Laura were both included on the team receiving the training, which helped to bring the patient perspective to the table.  They have since shared their knowledge from the PSEP – Canada program and modified the content to develop a patient safety culture workshop for family advisors. 

“Many of the modules in the PSEP – Canada program focused on teamwork, communication and patient engagement,” says Laura Williams. “We were able to articulate what it means to have clients and families as partners at Holland Bloorview and how it has helped to shift our patient safety culture.”