Committee expected to offer patients stronger voice in health care

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SYDNEY — Patients, their families and members of the community now have a voice when it comes to commenting on the delivery of health care thanks to a new committee formed by the Cape Breton District Health Authority.

Cape Breton Regional Hospital

The patient experience advisory committee is expected to provide an opportunity for system users to offer comment on their experiences at any one of the district's facilities.

The committee comprises individuals representing patients, their families/caregivers, the community, district management and physicians. The committee will report directly to the district CEO Dianne Calvert Simms.

"As a district, we want to listen to, learn from and collaborate with our patients, their families or caregivers and the community. This committee will help us do that and continue to provide compassionate, safe and appropriate care," said Calvert Simms.

Jay Hartman-Berrier of  Southwest Margaree will represent patients on the new committee. She brings first-hand experience to the committee both as a patient and someone who lives with chronic health conditions.

"One thing that fuels my interest is helping to facilitate conversation between health-care providers and the patients," said Hartman-Berrier, adding there is always room for improvement in the health-care system.

"One way to do that is to have a shared relationship that includes better understanding so health-care providers know what it’s like to walk a mile in a patient’s shoes," she said.

The 12-member committee is expected to meet four times a year and operate with a mandate that includes helping to transform a patient experience through dignity, respect, transparency and engagement, work together on initiatives that can help improve a patient’s everyday life, create a better understanding of the patient experience so that what matters most to the patient, the family and community is attended to by the right service in the health care system and provide input toward improvements in care and service that focus on responsible, personalized patient and family-centred care.

The committee has only met once so far but does plan to develop a strategy to encourage greater input from those who have used district facilities soliciting comment on the kind of care they received and if there is anything that can be done to improve that experience.

The health authority is responsible for eight hospitals in the district along with two long-term care facilities, a cancer centre along with programs for addictions and mental health.

The district covers all of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and Victoria County along with the northern and central regions of Inverness County.

The district employees some 3,500 people and annually records more than 13,000 patient admissions along with 110,000 emergency visits.

Geographic location: Southwest Margaree, Victoria County

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Recent comments

  • Just Government PR
    September 16, 2013 - 13:24

    Giving patients and their families a voice into their health care is a noble aim, however, this 12 member committee will not do it. As someone who has had experience on such a committee I can assure all readers that one "token" patient member on a 12 member committee will achieve nothing beyond a bit of PR. The remaining 11 members of the committee are most certainly all employed by the Department of Health and will not take a stand or rock the both. What is badly needed is to have politics removed from the entire process and this is done by forming an independent committee where the majority are patients and their families. Again, with all due respect, this committee is a waste of time and taxpayers money. Finally, good luck getting the Doctor reps to attend your meetings.

  • Observer
    September 14, 2013 - 11:36

    ..Well I hope we see some improvements, particularly with Mental Health. It is time the patients in the mental health units received the same treatment as the remainder of the hospital! There is room for a lot of improvement there.

  • RN
    September 13, 2013 - 15:04

    NURSES?

  • CBRH - Worse than the Tar Ponds ever Could Have Been
    September 13, 2013 - 15:03

    The lack of sanitation practices are literally killing our population. Poor leadership, not replacing the staff who have a "sickdays coming to me" mentality (Just like Teachers). This has got to stop, reduce sick time usage, clean the place up and Cape Bretoners will live longer. Accountability has to stand for something!!

  • Amos
    September 13, 2013 - 14:16

    "For the Lord so loved the world that he decided to not send a committee." - Ayn 3:16