Celebrating patients: Showcasing courage and resilience

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On May 30, 2016, Mackenzie Health recognized Celebrating Patients Day: Your Stories Inspire Us to acknowledge patients and their health experiences. The highlight of the day was an evening celebration featuring patients sharing their health story, followed by a panel discussion with special guest host Dale Curd from CBC TV’s popular show, Hello Goodbye.

In the spring, Mackenzie Health encouraged patients to come forward to share their personal health stories. Six patients were selected to participate in this special event and tell their story in their own words. Stories were pre-taped to allow patients to sit down with Dale Curd, to share their feelings on being a patient and reflect on their experiences.

“Cancer is only a chapter, it’s not the whole story,” says Debbie Davis, of her diagnosis and cancer treatments. Diagnosed with lung and subsequently brain cancer, she believes sharing her story brings inspiration to others and offers them hope. Mackenzie Health believes in the power of inspiring patient stories like Debbie’s and their ability to help and heal others facing similar health issues.

When Debbie’s story was shared at the evening event, not a dry eye was in the crowd as she shared her experience and diagnosis while always maintaining her positive perspective and realistic attitude. Following the event, Debbie said “It was quite an experience sharing my story on video for others to see. My family and I really enjoyed the evening despite the fact some tears were shed upon seeing the video for the first time. I hope that it will inspire others to keep a positive attitude despite the challenges that each individual faces when trying to cope with a particularly devastating diagnosis.”

Patients inspire Mackenzie Health’s staff to provide the best care possible and we know being a patient is not easy.  Through its Back to Basics program, Mackenzie Health has a renewed focus on continually improving the patient experience and remaining patient-centred in every way. The organization plans to share the patient stories from the event with staff at every available opportunity.  Celebrating Patients Day is about celebrating individual patients, as well as about applauding their strength to work toward their health goal while inspiring others facing similar health challenges to strive for the same.

“Whether a person has experienced an injury, illness or other significant health challenge, their stories are inspirational to others,” says Susan Kwolek, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Executive at Mackenzie Health.  “Through storytelling and sharing, others can often find strength from the experiences of others.”

Patients featured during Celebrating Patients Day included:

  • A patient who uses home dialysis and says the required change in lifestyle was one of the best things that ever happened to him;
  • A cancer survivor who helps to inspire other patients with her determination and positive outlook;
  • A young hemorrhagic stroke survivor who found such inspiration from his own care that he now volunteers in the inpatient stroke unit;
  • A cardiac patient who thought that he was doing all the right things to prevent a heart attack with an important message for others;
  • A mom of an infant born 10 weeks prematurely who now has a healthy and strong four year old; and
  • A recipient of multiple joint replacements due to a genetic condition, who sees every replacement as just another bump in the road in a fulfilling life.

“Everyone has a story to tell,” adds Kwolek. “At Mackenzie Health we recognize the courage it takes to be a patient and the strength it takes to journey back to good health.”

Other activities on Celebrating Patients Day included small gestures to surprise and welcome patients and families to Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital. At entranceways, patients and visitors were greeted by volunteers and offered light refreshments. Inpatients received a card acknowledging the day and diet-appropriate dessert with their noon meal.

Patient stories shared at Mackenzie Health’s first Celebrating Patients Day are available on our website and YouTube channels at: http://mackenziehealth.ca/about_news_story.php?id=654.

 

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