For the Chatham Kent Health Alliance (CKHA), the hospital’s team of Patient and Family Advisors were major contributors to a successful Canadian Patient Safety Week by interacting with members of the public about patient safety and spreading the message that, “good healthcare starts with good communication.”
The Patient and Family Advisors at CKHA are a group of 13 volunteers who have past experiences at the hospital as either a patient or family member of a patient. Their primary function is to provide the perspective of the patient or family member which helps CKHA ensure their services are responsive to the needs of the people they treat.
During Canadian Patient Safety Week, the Patient and family Advisors were busy interacting with people at CKHA’s Wallaceburg and Chatham campuses and distributing information on the importance of the patient’s role in patient safety, good communication and the role of the identification band.
Brenda Foster, Program Director of Women and Children’s Health at CKHA, says using the Patient and Family Advisors to spread patient safety messages during Canadian Patient Safety Week was a positive experience that resonated strongly with people.
“Engaging the Patient and Family Advisors reaffirms that we’re on the right track and highlights the importance of involving them as patient safety advisors,” Foster says. “We would like to see the role of the Patient and Family Advisors continue to expand over the course of the next year.”
Shane Helgerman, the Director of Mission, Quality Improvements, and Learning Services at CKHA, agrees, saying the Patient and Safety Advisors are helping create more awareness around patient safety because of the perspective they bring to the issue.
“It was a huge success. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback,” Helgerman says.
As one of only 21 organizations in Ontario that has been recognized by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) as a Best Practice Spotlight Organization, an honour bestowed upon organizations committed to implementing the RNAO’s best practice guidelines, CKHA also used Canadian Patient Safety Week as an opportunity to celebrate the “Beat Practice Champions” who have been instrumental in implementing the best practice guidelines.
During the week, CKHA’s 2010 Patient Safety Award, sponsored by the CKHA’s Quality/Risk & Patient Safety Council, was presented to the hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Team for their efforts during the H1N1 outbreak. The winning team is comprised of Erika Vitale, Sheila Campbell-Vanboxtel, Glenda McFadden, Dr. Pierre Letarte and was nominated by Carol Turner, IPAC Coordinator.
The week also featured a number of poster display throughout the organizations highlighting various aspects of patient safety such as medication reconciliation, pressure ulcer prevention, Safer Healthcare Now! initiatives and infection prevention, to name a few.