Sign In
CPSI Share                                                  
11/29/2016 1:00 AM

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital recently offered families and youth an education conference to provide key elements of understanding system issues that contribute to patient safety, as well as how to partner effectively with clinicians to co-create safe systems within healthcare. The Become a Family/Youth Leader Patient Safety Trainer conference was delivered in partnership with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, to members of the hospital's Family Leader Accreditation Group and Youth Advisory Council on September 30 and October 1, 2016. In total, 14 family leaders, three youth and one child leader were trained during the conference.

Holland Bloorview's Family Leader PSEP – Canada Planning Team (left to right): Nicholas Joachimides (Manager, Patient Safety), Elena Garisto (Quality Coordinator), Louise Kublick (Interim Director of Client and Family Integrated Care), Alifa Khan (Family Leader), Sonia Pagura (Senior Director, Quality, Safety and Performance), and Laura Oxenham-Murphy (Manager of Quality)

"As we were thinking about meaningful engagement and partnership to drive the client and family voice, the thought was if we could train our family leaders in understanding what patient safety meant from the lens of families, then they would be on an equal playing field with our staff that has always been a part of accreditation," says Sonia Pagura, Senior Director, Quality, Safety and Performance. "We know what happens from the professional health discipline and the organizational perspective, but that is only one part. We also need the understanding that the family also have an active role in patient safety. They have an active role in all of the dimensions of quality and how they might be able to shift this paradigm."

Holland Bloorview reached out to the Patient Safety Education Program – Canada (PSEP – Canada), to adapt the modules and program to a patient and family perspective. Their vision was twofold. First was the immediacy to scale up understanding for family leaders as they were embarking on the accreditation journey. The family leaders had committed to participate for 18 months to drive changes through excellence in accreditation. Second was within a three-year timeframe, to train just over 200 family, youth and children leaders participating in Holland Bloorview's Family, Youth and Children Programs to create capacity within the system. "We are already training staff and by building this critical mass within the organization on understanding what are the issues, what are some of the system drivers and human factor drivers, and our family, youth and children will eventually be the drivers of change for safety and quality," says Sonia Pagura.

A team was formed and a Family Leader enlisted to adapt the PSEP – Canada p​rogram.  When they looked at the curriculum, they found it to be provider-centric and profession centric and needed to make it family- and client-centric. For example, one of the modules says patients as partners, and that content was flipped to clinicians as partners, as it is not only providers partnering with families, it is families partnering with providers in that same knowledge and construct. Instead of just leadership, which would be leadership for providers, content was changed to leadership for families. "How does one take that leadership role through solution-focused leadership, through generative leadership and really look at tangible ways that we could bring some real live cases in building those skills that speak to families and partner effectively so that we have an actual dyad of having providers, families, and clients working together toward something that is meaningful, effective, efficient, safe, that has quality," says Sonia Pagura.

Holland Bloorview is now developing their micro, meso and macro plans to ensure that staff and family leaders are all trained with the same information. Two of the family leaders, one youth leader and one child leader trained during the educational conference will be facilitating upcoming sessions for staff at Holland Bloorview.  The 17-year-old youth leader, who is fully care-dependent, provided recently a session on communication with patients so that staff can actually see what that means. 

"This PSEP –​​ Canada program will have a system impact on a national and international scale," says Sonia Pagura. "If you look at legislation in Ontario, the Patient's First Act, it talks about coordination, transition, and about safety. This program lends itself very well to building that capacity. We have untapped potential and untapped capacity in the people we serve. It is our hope, that this will be the impetus for other organizations and that together we can continually build this critical mass that pushes change. We can't do this without partnering with our families. They are the ones that can see meaningfulness and the authenticity of how we want to change care to make it better for everyone.  I get really excited and get goose bumps when I think about this opportunity."

For more information on the Patient Safety Education Program – Canada,
​contact the PSEP – Canada team at or call 1-866-421-6933.

The Family Leader Accreditation Group at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital was recently recognized with honourable mention for the 2016 Volunteer Patient Safety Champion Award, for exemplifying the spirit of collaboration and engaging patients and families in patient safety. Click here to learn more.