February 22, 2023
The Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) at the London Regional Cancer Program (LRCP) at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is committed to improving the patient care experience by helping staff better understand the needs of cancer patients and family members. The PFAC is made up of individuals with lived experience (either as a patient or as a caregiver of someone who was ill), as well as LRCP staff.
“The PFAC meets every month with researchers or LRCP staff members so that we are aware of new initiatives in the cancer program,” Linda Cottell, LRCP PFAC co-chair explains. “We get that behind-the-scenes look to be able to provide that patient and caregiver lens of seeing where there may be any gaps in consideration of the patient perspective, how to close them and how to improve the patient care experience within the LRCP.”
PFAC members provide input on a range of matters including, but not limited to:
- Being a part of decision-making, such as the planning, delivery and evaluation of cancer care.
- Providing oversight, such as ensuring the patient voice is embedded throughout the Cancer Program.
- Identifying cancer care needs and gaps within existing processes.
- Providing patient and family centered care (PFCC) awareness and education to all areas in LRCP through storytelling, collaboration, and partnering with LRCP leaders to disseminate information about PFCC to staff and promoting partnerships between patients, families, staff and physicians, and community partners.
“We are also a part of community engagement groups,” Linda shares. “After a Bio Medical Professor reached out for patient participants on a class panel to help embed the patient voice, we wanted to continue this opportunity to embed the patient voice in the future medical student curriculum. Every month, the professor and three Masters students from Western University reach out to us for a patient perspective related to their goal. It’s been a great experience.”
A patient’s unique perspective
The advisory council has also had presentations from various LHSC departments and partner organizations regarding topics such as research and virtual care for the council to review and provide feedback on how to improve the patient experience and add a patient voice into their projects.
“For each of the projects presented, we present suggestions and opinions that offer our unique perspective as patients or caregivers. We help enhance the patient experience for others by sharing our point of view on what would make more sense to us in a language we understand,” Linda explains.
Advisory council gratitude for LRCP staff and physicians
The PFAC is grateful for the dedication to patients the LRCP staff shows every day, and the council shows their gratitude in various ways. This past December, they handed out candy canes and thanked staff as they came into the cancer program. “It ended up being a perfect day to do this,” Linda shares. “The weather was cold and snowy and as staff came into work you could see their faces light up. We were happy to be able to brighten their day at least a little.”
The collaboration between patients, care givers and staff within the LRCP enhances everyone’s understanding of the needs of cancer patients and family members who support them.
If you are interested in becoming a patient partner, or would like to learn more information about the responsibilities of a patient partner, please send an email request to LHSCPatientExperience@lhsc.on.ca or contact LHSC’s Patient Engagement team by phone at 519-685-8500, extension 58230.