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5/22/2018 6:00 PM

Patient Engagement Working Group established to spread best practices

After a surgery gone wrong, Melinda Baum has learned so much about the worst of care and the best of care. She has seen both sides. Melinda is bringing that experience to the table as a Co-chair of the Patient Engagement Working Group. The Group was established by Enhanced Recovery Canada (ERC), a collaboration to spread best practices and improve surgical outcomes through the application of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) guidelines.

ERAS is a program highlighting surgical best practices and consists of a number of evidence-based principles that support better outcomes for surgical patients, including: an improved patient experience, reduced length of stay, decreased complication rates, and fewer hospital readmissions. Enhanced Recovery Canada recognizes that surgery is part of a continuum of patient care from presentation to primary care, initial diagnosis, surgical treatment, rehabilitative care, and ongoing assessment; and that the care team includes the patient, family and a variety of health professionals coordinating their efforts to optimize patient experiences and outcomes.

"I feel very lucky to be part of the ERC Governance Committee and to Co-chair the Patient Engagement Working Group; I could not believe in it more," says Melinda Baum. "As a patient advocate, seeing people who are passionate about doing better and being better while providing a roadmap for others to do the same is so rewarding. As a patient, it is not too much to ask that our healthcare team employ best practices and contribute to the research as they are doing it."

"I think patients have the most to contribute because patients and families are the ones that see all phases of a surgery," says Melinda. "The anesthesiologist knows most about anaesthetics; the nutritionist knows most about dietary needs – but they only know their piece. The patient is accountable for some pieces too. Patients need to feel heard, be part of the process, and understand all of the pieces the best they can. Really, it is a team approach and everyone is accountable, including the patient."

The Patient Engagement Working Group is one of seven working groups tasked with advancing ERAS principles through Enhanced Recovery Canada. Other Working Groups will address clinical pathways for Nutrition Management, Perioperative Fluid and Hydration Management, Perioperative Mobility and Physical Activity, Surgical Best Practices, Multimodal Opioid-Sparing Analgesia, and Dissemination and Implementation. The primary goal of the Patient Engagement Working Group is to curate and/or develop patient engagement tools aligned with clinical pathways supporting core ERAS principles.

Members of the ERC Patient Engagement Working Group include: Melinda Baum (patient member and Co-Chair); Dr. Leah Gramlich (Co-Chair, Patient Engagement Working Group / Co-Lead, ERAS system project - Alberta Health Services); ); Bevin LeDrew (patient member, Atlantic Region); Valerie Philips (Director, Strategic Priorities - Saskatchewan Ministry of Health); Nancy Posel (Patient Education Office, McGill University Health Centre); Jennifer Rees (Provincial Lead, Patient Engagement - Alberta Health Services); Debbie Watson, Enhanced Recovery Pathway Coordinator, McGill University Health Centre); and Melissa Sheldrick (patient member, Central Canada). The Patient Engagement Working Group will have their first face-to-face meeting in June 2018.

Visit www.patientsafetyinstitute.ca to learn more about Enhanced Recovery After Surgery.

Enhanced Recovery Canada is a project of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and is managed by the Enhanced Recovery Canada Governance Committee.