February 21, 2017
London Health Sciences Centre’s (LHSC) Cardiac Patient and Family Centred Care Committee (PFCC) is taking Heart Month as an opportunity to reflect on the impact its members have had on patient care and to recruit new members.
Active for over a year, the PFCC consists of two patient advisors, a family advisor, and cardiac care staff including nursing, personal service work, patient experience, social work, and leadership. Patient and family advisors work with cardiac care staff to influence initiatives, programs, services and policies.
Dennis May was a cardiac patient on three separate occasions at LHSC and found each experience slightly different with a lack of consistency in the discharge process. “The PFCC provided me an opportunity to help with patient processes and to feel heard,” he explains. “You can’t complain if you’re not going to be part of the solution.”
Since its inception, the committee has reviewed and modified post-surgical instructions for patients following a transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI procedure); implemented communication whiteboards for cardiac staff to share relevant information about inpatients such as time spent with a physiotherapist and the number of times a patient has left the bed in a day; and helped simplify nursing forms and minimalized paperwork to increase the amount of time nurses have with patients.
“As a patient advisor I read the materials and look at the processes with a different lens. If I can understand it, other patients will too,” adds May. “Working alongside caregivers has given me a new respect for the work they do.”
For caregivers, working with patient and family advisors is also rewarding. “Our advisors bring a different mindset to our work. Their input comes from a place of personal experience and that is an invaluable perspective,” says Faisal Khan, coordinator, cardiac care, LHSC. “It can be difficult to hear some of the feedback, but it helps improve patient care.”
Working with the PFCC can also change the everyday mindset of caregivers, “I’ve grow as a nurse from this experience as it has helped me see opportunities in further opening my relationships with the patients I treat and their families. Working with patients helps direct and drive the work we do it make it the best possible experience for them,” elaborates Michelle Demers, registered nurse, 6 floor inpatients, LHSC.
Current and former patients of LHSC’s Cardiac Program who are interested in joining the Cardiac Patient and Family Centred Care Committee (PFCC) are encouraged to contact Naomi Reintjes, manager, cardiac care, LHSC.