As National Volunteer Week is celebrated across Canada, Kemptville District Hospital (KDH) is acknowledging a new kind of hospital volunteer: the Patient and Family Advisor.
Patient and Family Advisors at KDH partner with staff and physicians to provide direct input into policies, programs and practices that affect patient care and services. Their contributions include sharing their healthcare experiences, participating in committee work, reviewing or helping to create educational or informational materials, working on short-term projects, and attending meetings of the hospital’s Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC).
The PFAC was established in August, 2016, following KDH’s formal commitment to Patient and Family Centred Care, a philosophy of care which sees hospitals and other healthcare providers partnering with patients and families, both in their care, and at the organization’s decision-making tables.
KDH currently has 10 dedicated Patient and Family Advisors, who have accomplished an impressive amount in their first eight months. Their work includes helping to develop KDH’s current Strategic Plan and annual Quality Improvement Plan, providing input on the hospital’s ethics framework, reviewing handbooks for hip and knee replacement patients, and participating in patient safety leadership rounds.
Patient and Family Advisory Committees or Councils are being established at hospitals both nationally and internationally, recognizing the important role that patients and their family members have in improving the overall care experience.
“We are so grateful for the invaluable contributions our Patient and Family Advisors make,” said Lana LeClair, the hospital’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs, who co-chairs the PFAC, along with Patient and Family Advisor Bob Hale. “Hearing the patient voice at our decision-making tables has changed us as an organization, and very much for the better,” LeClair added.
Oris Retallack, an active member of the PFAC, provided her perspective: “I am pleased and honoured to work with the other Patient and Family Advisors and the professional and enthusiastic staff at KDH. Our goal is to enhance the patient experience and the culture of care at KDH. Our work supports the hospital's Strategic Plan and is being welcomed warmly. There is lots of time for everyone to contribute ideas and ask questions so everyone's thoughts are included. I am grateful for this opportunity to make a difference.”