Transitioning to patient and family centred care

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(KDH) has launched an innovative campaign to help transition from providing patient-focused care to partnering with patients for Patient and Family Centred Care.

Dubbed “The Starts Here”, the campaign is generating excitement in the Eastern Ontario hospital and surrounding communities as well as other healthcare organizations. It was designed to encourage all KDH staff, physicians, and volunteers to internalize the principle that each one makes a vital contribution to the patient experience.

“I’m proud of the team here at KDH that took a new and creative approach to what I believe is a mission critical initiative for all healthcare organizations,” says the hospital’s CEO, Frank Vassallo. “The Patient Experience Starts Here” campaign is a key component of KDH’s patient and family engagement strategy, which was developed as a roadmap to achieve Patient and Family Centred Care in its fullest form.”

Patient and Family Centred Care is a model of service delivery that is transforming healthcare both nationally and internationally.  It shifts providers from doing something for or to a patient to partnering with the patient, both in the care setting and in the planning, design, delivery, evaluation and improvement of health services.

The benefits of Patient and Family Centred Care are well documented: increased quality of care, enhanced patient safety, higher patient satisfaction, and a welcome spinoff – higher staff satisfaction.

In addition to providing these benefits, Patient and Family Centred Care is now mandated by the provincial government and our federal accreditation body: For 2016 surveys, Accreditation Canada has added more than 350 new criteria that set out best practices for the delivery of Patient and Family Centred Care.

With its next Accreditation scheduled for November 2016, KDH set ambitious goals in the fall of 2015 for implementing the Patient and Family Centred Care model: high levels of engagement with patients and families, both during episodes of care and at decision making tables, starting immediately.

In February 2016, the hospital’s Board of Directors embraced the patient and family engagement strategy developed jointly by KDH’s Quality and Patient Relations departments, and identified Patient and Family Centred Care as a guiding principle for the organization.

As outlined in the strategy, “The Patient Experience Starts Here” campaign addresses the challenge of encouraging frontline staff to make the shift from the patient-focused care that KDH is known for to partnering with patients in the care setting.

Lana LeClair, KDH’s VP Corporate Affairs, explains: “Although we knew that in many instances our healthcare providers were already taking a partnership approach, we needed all staff to be more deliberate about partnering with patients to ensure the approach was consistent across the organization. In fact, we recognized that it would require a cultural shift to make Patient and Family Centred Care a daily reality at KDH.”

The delivery of Patient and Family Centred Care in its fullest form results in an exceptional experience for every patient. LeClair’s team realized that to achieve the cultural shift, each KDH staff member, physician and volunteer would need to internalize the fact that she or he makes an important contribution to the patient experience.

The team came up with the slogan, “The Patient Experience Starts Here”, and developed promotional materials to launch the campaign: eye-catching buttons for each staff member to wear and an Owner’s Guide explaining the campaign, along with posters of a variety of staff, physicians and volunteers performing their individual roles in the hospital.

The Owner’s Guide pays homage to the great work KDH is already doing, describes the rationale for Patient and Family Centred Care, and contains key messages for staff as well as a workbook section where individuals can make a personal attestation of how they contribute to the patient experience. The guide’s most important message is that delivering an exemplary patient experience is not the work of frontline staff alone. “Everybody who works, volunteers, or provides services here has the opportunity and responsibility to make Patient and Family Centred Care a reality at KDH,” the guide declares.

Kelli Cumming works in Kemptville District Hospital’s Health Records department.
Kelli Cumming works in Kemptville District Hospital’s Health Records department.

The campaign slogan and its accompanying materials were unveiled at a well-attended kickoff event held at the hospital in early March. The event featured guest presenters associated with Kingston General Hospital (KGH), a national leader in Patient and Family Centred Care: Eleanor Rivoire and Marla Rosen. Rivoire is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive at KGH and a thought leader in the area of Patient and Family Centred Care. She is also an Accreditation Canada surveyor/educator and on the Faculty of the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement. Marla Rosen is a patient experience advisor at KGH who has been actively involved with the patient and family advisory council there, as well as with the KGH Oncology Program and Regional Oncology Council.

Rivoire and Rosen shared their experiences with Patient and Family Centred Care and provided inspiration as to how transformative the model can be.

Following the kickoff, Rivoire shared her impressions of the event: “It was wonderful to participate in the launch of the KDH “The Patient Experience Starts Here” campaign, and to experience the engagement, enthusiasm, and energy of all who were present – including the patient advisors.  The KDH team is clearly resolved to partner with patients in providing Patient and Family Centred Care, with confidence that this will lead to even better patient outcomes, an improved work environment for staff and better organizational performance. It is going to be exciting, over the months to come, to see and hear how this commitment builds on their already strong commitment to excellence in patient care.”

Feedback from staff on the campaign has been very positive as well. “I found the posters of staff really resonated with me,” says one staff member. “They made me realize that whatever we do at KDH – whether we care for patients, keep the building at a comfortable temperature, or prepare healthy meals  – we all do something important.”

Other staff have reported that their “The Patient Experience Starts Here” buttons are conversation-starters out in the community. “The clerk at the cash was admiring my button and asked me what it was all about,” a staff member said. “After I explained, she responded that it sounded like a great campaign and we must be excited about it. She added how rare that is and wished us the best.”

Following the successful launch of the campaign, notes LeClair, work continues on the implementation of the patient and family engagement strategy. Ongoing efforts include education for staff on involving patients and families as equal partners in their care. On the organizational side, the hospital is currently working with a small group of patient and family advisors and preparing to recruit more, with the ultimate goal of having the patient voice at every table where a decision is being made that will materially impact the patient experience. “We are so excited to start seeing the benefits – to patients, staff, and the organization as a whole – of our commitment to Patient and Family Centred Care,” said LeClair

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