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CPSI Share                                                    
10/28/2015 8:00 AM

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre formally adopted a patient and family-centred care philosophy in 2009, as a way to transform culture and care. The Canadian Patient Safety Institute and HealthCareCAN are pleased to recognize Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre's Patient Family Advisory Council with honourable mention for the 2015 Patient Safety Champion Organization Award.


(Left to right) Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, EVP, Patient Services & CNE, Keith Taylor, Patient Family Advisory Council, Dr. William McCready, Interim President & CEO, Bonnie Nicholas, Patient Family Centred Care Lead

The Patient Family Advisory Council represents the voice of patients and their families at all levels and areas of the organization. The Council is comprised of about 90 volunteers, ranging in age from nine to 92, who have had recent care experiences within the health sciences centre over the past two years.  The Council has helped to shape healthcare throughout the organization, resulting in improved patient, staff and physician satisfaction, better health outcomes, effective connections with the communities served, cost savings, improved quality and safety, and enhanced learning.

"Adopting and committing to patient and family-centred care puts patients and families first and keeps them at the centre of everything we do," says Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, EVP Patient Services & Chief Nursing Executive. "Decision-making at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is done in collaboration with Patient Family Advisors (PFA) as equal partners. We are fortunate to have the commitment and dedication of our PFAs.  Working together, we are able to transform our health system to continually better the patient experience."

The Patient Family Advisors are active members of Senior Management Council, Board Quality, and all care/system teams. Decisions on hiring leaders, corporate spending, strategic planning, facility design, policy and practice are all done in partnership with PFAs. The Patient Family Advisors have also contributed to changes in clinical practice (i.e. NOD – Name/Occupation/Do bedside communication; whiteboards that improve communication between the patient, families and care providers; leader-patient rounding; and bedside transfer of accountability  reports). The Advisors participate in hospital orientation, support medical learners, educate professionals across the province and inform partners and leaders across the nation.

Patient Family Advisors are also involved in the organization's Quality of Care Committee, where critical incidents and morbidity and mortality details are reviewed. This level of transparency helps to build trust and relationships with the Advisors.

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has provided support and resources to others starting their patient and family-centred care journey, sharing knowledge and experiences locally, regionally, nationally and within North America.  Teachings have been provided to boards, healthcare leaders and organizations on how patient and family-centred care and quality are linked and how systems and processes were created to sustain patient and family-centred care practices. The organization's Patient Family Advisor program is easily replicated and the program has been generously shared with many Ontario hospitals and with health system partners.

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is a recognized leader in patient and family-centre care, having received an Accreditation Canada Leading Practice designation and the Waterstone Top 10 Most Admired Culture Award.

"Patient and family-centre care is not something that just happens," says Dr. Crocker Ellacott. "It is about making an intentional effort to begin a journey with a richer appreciation of what it means to work in collaborative partnership with patients and families.  It changes the way you do business to shape a better organization. It transforms the culture and the care. Staying focused on what matters by ensuring patients and families are at the centre of everything you do, will bring early success to your organization!"

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre was nominated by Keith Taylor, Patient Family Advisor  and Bonnie Nicholas, Patient and Family-Centred Care Lead & Patient Advocate.