March 12, 2015
“No Decision About Me Without Me” is the motto of the Renal Patient and Family Advisory Council (RPFAC) at London Health Sciences Centre’s Regional Renal Program, a team of patients and their family members who work with administrative and clinical leaders to ensure that the perspectives of patients and families are heard towards the policies and programs that affect care.
“We are the voice of renal patients and operate as a sounding board for the issues that concern us,” says Fred McInnis, RPFAC vice-chair. “By providing the patient perspective, we are able to identify areas of opportunity and improvement and work with care providers to enact change.” McInnis, who is a pre-dialysis patient of six years, looks to uncover opportunities to improve conditions facing patients with chronic kidney disease within LHSC and with outside service providers, and to maintain high quality relations with professional staff and administration within the Regional Renal Program.
The RPFAC is a 17 member council, including six staff members. “Our renal patient and family advisory council ensures that we are truly providing patient centred care. By working with patients we have an ability to ensure their needs and their expectations are met,” says Angela Andrews, Registered Nurse, LHSC, and member of the RPFAC.
So far in its first year and a half, the RPFAC has identified areas of improvement related to transportation, home hemodialysis, refocusing resource materials in waiting rooms, and organizing face-to-face workshops with care providers to discuss the service patients receive. Members are also engaged with the Kidney Foundation of Canada, ongoing research projects and other projects such as the development of LHSC’s Regional Renal Program Website. “We make recommendations based on the feedback our task teams receive and work cooperatively with program staff in a constructive environment,” McInnis adds.
At the heart of the RPFAC is the belief that health care staff and the patient are working as partners in care, and by working together, better health care outcomes, wiser allocations of resources, and greater patient and family satisfaction will be achieved.